Taylor Exposes $7.5 Million Misused by Cleveland Day Care

Educational funds could have served additional needy children

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Columbus -

Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the special audit of Ministerial Day Care Association (MDCA).  The audit reveals that the organization obtained state tax dollars for children they did not serve.  The audit outlines that MDCA improperly obtained more than $7.5 million in state Head Start Expansion program funds from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) from August 1, 1998 through July 31, 2001.

“MDCA received millions of dollars in Head Start funding for an alleged enrollment of 5,162 children.  During the audit period, MDCA could substantiate that only a portion of the children were actually served,” said Taylor.  “This is a waste of Head Start dollars, money that should have been used for more of Cleveland’s at risk and low income children.”

The audit reports that MDCA received Head Start funding from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) for children they could not document as enrolled and attending the program.  State auditors examined attendance documents and student files provided by MDCA to confirm program enrollment figures reported to ODE.  However, the records failed to support that the funding received by the day care was justified.

The special audit released today was requested by ODE in response to findings identified in a prior special audit.  The initial special audit of MDCA released in June 2002 examined financial records from August 1, 1997 through July 31, 1998 and resulted in a finding for recovery, or determination that money was improperly spent and must be repaid, of more than $3.8 million.   The state is currently involved in a lawsuit to recover the funds identified in the first audit. 

“The audit details one of the largest findings for recovery of tax dollars recorded by my office. As a result of the work of our special audit group, we have identified, in two special audits, more than $10 million to be recovered from the organization,” said Taylor.

As the state’s chief taxpayer watchdog, Taylor is committed to rooting out fraud, waste and corruption.  Special audits are an important part of fulfilling this mission.  A special audit targets a specific area of an organization and is initiated to review allegations of fraud or theft.  The Auditor of State’s office is currently conducting 26 special audits throughout the state.

A full copy of the audit is available online at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSearch/Results.aspx?ReleaseDate=01/28/2008