- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) - The Association of Village Council Presidents is like a sinking ship without a captain, according to a tribal delegate for the troubled organization, which remains under close scrutiny over allegations of misspent federal funds.

Delegate Herald Napoleon was among Alaska Native leaders from around the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region who recently met to discuss the organization’s financial status, KYUK-AK reported late Tuesday (https://is.gd/yWVyEI ). The June 8 meeting came months after several village tribal leaders called for an investigation into the organization’s spending of federal funds.

“It should be of a very great concern to the Yup’ik people the condition and the shape that ACVP is in,” Napoleon said.

Former AVCP president Myron Naneng resigned from the post in May.

The regional tribal nonprofit serves 56 villages in the region.

Napoleon, a former AVCP president, said the board president told delegates the organization came close to bankruptcy last November but did not inform the board until last week. In December, the Bethel-based AVCP laid off 30 employees, citing economic conditions as the reason. Months previously, AVCP received more than $9 million in a U.S. Department of Justice settlement.

KYUK has reported that documents it obtained show almost a decade of misspent federal grant money. The documents show at least $1 million from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families account went to a flight school.

Naneng could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Acting AVCP president Mike Hoffman and board chairman Henry Hunter declined to comment to KYUK.

The recent meeting is the first time the full board has met since a February meeting was canceled by the administration.

According to Napoleon, the organization is being investigated by at least three different auditors. He said delegates have not been told by the executive board what companies are conducting the audits.

The delegates still do not know the entire scope of the matter, Napoleon said.

“They were not able to provide numbers because their chief financial officer was not there,” he said. Unknown at this point, he said, is who authorized the reallocation of the TANF money or investments in real estate such as a hotel that is now closed. AVCP administrators told delegates they don’t know who authorized the transactions.

Napoleon said he is deeply troubled for the organization’s future.

“I think, as someone who’s been around AVCP since its inception, that I believe the organization is lost,” he said. “The 56 villages need to determine where it’s going. It just cannot continue on this way.”


Information from: KYUK-AM, https://www.kyuk.org

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