A Queens nonprofit received more than $150,000 in reimbursements from the state Office of Mental Health for inappropriate expenses, including almost $11,000 for alcohol at a two-day executive and board retreat in Montauk, L.I.
From July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013, the Office of Mental Health paid PSCH $6.8 million to provide services and housing to people with mental illness. During that time, the Flushing nonprofit, whose initials stand for Promoting Specialized Care and Health, submitted $152,580 in expenses that were not in compliance with its contract terms, according to an audit conducted by the office of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
An October 2012 retreat at the Montauk Yacht Club for board members and executive staff cost the nonprofit about $63,000. The state agency reimbursed PSCH for half those costs: OMH paid $10,723 for alcohol, $6,312 for dinner and $5,746 for rooms for an additional night's stay.
"The rules for conference costs are clear," Mr. DiNapoli said in a statement. "And lavish parties with alcohol, cruises and extra guests are not allowable. State agencies must make sure that contractors are reimbursed for legitimate expenses only."
About two-thirds of PSCH's $152,580 were costs that were "not actual, reasonable and necessary in the provision of contract services," the audit said. They included duplicate charges, and expenses that were incurred during a different period than the one in which PSCH was applying for reimbursement.
The auditors also found PSCH was reimbursed $22,901 for a staff picnic at Cunningham Park in Queens, where expenses included $14,955 for the picnic and $3,420 in gifts to staff, such as coolers, T-shirts, pens and umbrellas. Another $1,300 was spent on ice cream.