LA Attorney General (D) Launches ACORN Embezzlement Probe

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that LA Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, a Democrat, is on ACORN, as we say, like gravy on rice.

ACORN embezzlement was $5 million, La. attorney general says

The organization, until recently headquartered in New Orleans, had tried to keep the details of an embezzlement quiet. The embezzler, Dale Rathke, was the one-time bookkeeper for the organization. His brother, Wade Rathke, was President of ACORN International at the time, and saw to it that the unpleasantness was handled when he and “a donor” repaid $1 million of Dale’s improper credit card charges.

Now, however, AG Caldwell is following up on an ACORN internal report that the embezzlement was closer to $5 million.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has been conducting an investigation of ACORN since June. He issued subpoenas in August seeking documents related to former ACORN International President Wade Rathke and his brother Dale Rathke, who kept the group’s books. Those subpoenas were focused on possible ACORN violations for non-payment of employee withholding taxes, obstructing justice and violating the Employee Retirement Security Act. No charges have been made. …

“Current high-ranking members of ACORN have publicly acknowledged that embezzlement did in fact occur, but the exact amount of the embezzlement was unknown until it was recently acknowledged in a board of directors meeting on Oct. 17, 2008, by Bertha Lewis and Liz Wolf that an internal review had determined that the amount embezzled was $5 million, ” the new subpoena says.

The subpoena says, “It is still unclear if some of the monies embezzled are from state, federal or private funds.”

More money quotes from the subpoena:

ACORN was founded by Wade Rathke in 1970 and is the primary corporation which has 361 [!] related tax-exempt and non-tax exempt subsidiary entities.

Sounds like Buddy’s investigators have their work cut out for them. The documents they have requested are all the financial books, check registers, expense accounts, employee records, correspondence, emails, etc., etc., for a period encompassing several years.

A review of the records maintained by the Orleans Parish Recorder of Mortgages on August 3, 2009 revealed that 57 liens have been filed by the United States Treasury – Internal Revenue Service for the failure to properly pay withholding tax which was due. … Copies of the documents from sixteen of these liens which were filed between May 23, 2007 and September 9, 2008 were collected from the archives and the total amount of taxes due and not paid is $1,122,680.70.

Similarly, ACORN and related entities were deadbeats to the State of Louisiana to the tune of at least $306,000.

The AG’s investigation has drawn heavily on a July 2009 report to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform titled “Is ACORN Intentionally Structured As a Criminal Enterprise?”