$100,000 in state funds to build homes in Haiti has resulted in only 140 light bulbs as “aid” to Haitians (that’s $714.28 per bulb)
By Chris Ingram
Earlier today I wrote Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober asking him to consider convening a grand jury to investigate potential criminal behavior of Michael Ciftci and his “green” energy nonprofit group United for a Sustainable America, its employees, and board.
The text of the letter to Ober follows:
February 22, 2011
Honorable Mark Ober
Hillsborough County State Attorney
419 N. Pierce Street
Tampa, Florida 33602
Dear Mr. Ober:
After reading a thorough investigative report about Michael Ciftci and United for a Sustainable America (UFSA) in the St. Petersburg Times by Jack Nicas in the February 20, 2011 edition of the paper, I am extremely concerned about the potential for fraud and other potential criminal wrongdoing by Mr. Ciftci and UFSA. As a taxpaying citizen of the state of Florida, I am bothered by the suggestions in the paper that Ciftci and UFSA received $100,000 in state funds that were initially intended to build fifty homes in Haiti and create 150 jobs. Yet to date, according to the Times, the group has done nothing other than donate 140 light bulbs to Haitians.
I urge you to use the full resources of your office to investigate this matter and to ensure that Michael Ciftci and UFSA, its employees and board members are not in fact, fleecing the taxpayers of this state.
According to the newspaper, Mr. Ciftci claims he changed the plans as submitted to the state when he first received the grant funds. Said change left only 25 percent of the $100,000 for the initial stated purpose, while the balance was to go to three “green summits” which UFSA sponsors and arguably makes money off of. Regardless of profit, holding summits on green energy does nothing to help earthquake ravaged Haitians which the money was originally approved for. Mr. Ciftci claims his change of plans were endorsed by sponsoring lawmakers. Said lawmakers may include David Rivera, Darryl Rouson, Rich Glorioso, and Mike Fasano. I believe all of them should be interviewed under oath and forced to testify of their role and knowledge of this apparent fleecing of Floridians.
A strong indication that this matter deserves close attention is found in Mr. Ciftci’s own recollection of the facts that led to the grant. The Times quoted the following: “Mr. Ciftci said that fellow UFSA board member, state Rep. Darryl Rouson, ‘kept the governor from vetoing it. He was our guy on the whole thing.’”
Mr. Nicas of the Times has written a comprehensive report on this matter and I call on you to reference it in making your investigative plans to determine if any crimes were committed by Mr. Ciftci, UFSA and/or its board. The Times article can be found here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/elections/tampa-city-council-candidate-steered-grant-money-to-self-friends/1152704
cc: Honorable Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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