Subject: MI, FIA probes misuse of funds by adoption group Michigan

2 April 2004


02-04-2004, 12:05 PM

Subject: MI, FIA probes misuse of funds by adoption group Michigan

From: (Fern5827)

Date: 2/4/2004 10:43 AM Eastern Standard Time

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State probes use of funds by adoption group


State authorities are investigating the possible embezzlement of state funds by

an association that for more than 20 years has trained thousands of foster


Investigators from the Family Independence Agency searched the Holland home of

Myrna McNitt, executive director of the Michigan Foster and Adoptive Parent

Association. Investigators also searched the Holt offices of the organization,

seizing financial records relating to millions of dollars in contracts with the


McNitt said she expected the organization to be cleared of wrongdoing, but

declined to comment.

"You need to talk to the FIA," she said. "We're looking for a positive outcome

with the FIA."

FIA spokeswoman Karen Smith said a recent review of MFAPA's overall contract

"found unacceptably high administrative rates" that led to an investigation by

the Office of the Inspector General and the Michigan State Police.

As part of a $2.7 million contract with the FIA in early 2003, the MFAPA held

two training conferences per year. The contract later was reduced to $1.8

million because of state budget cuts. It ended Sept. 30, but was extended on a

monthly basis until December when it was terminated.

A state police spokeswoman confirmed an ongoing investigation, but declined to

comment further.

Organization officials sent an e-mail to board members Thursday saying three

FIA officials and the state police arrived at the Holt office at around 10 a.m.

Thursday with a search warrant.

Gerald Maat of Holland, a former MFAPA financial officer, said he resigned from

the organization in December because he could not find out how the group's

money was being spent.

Maat said FIA auditors came to the MFAPA in October to review the

organization's books for 2002 and 2003, but he could not locate the records.

"Being the financial officer, I should have access to the books," Maat said.

"It was hidden. This is part of the problem that I had."

Maat said he managed some financial records for the organization, but by the

time of his resignation, his authority was limited to checks.

"I was the one who cut all the checks and I did nothing without prior

approval," he said.

Maat said that he was a member of the MFAPA for 30 years. In October the

organization informed employees they would all be terminated and then would

have to reapply for their positions.

Maat opted to not reapply, he said.

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