Six long years ago I wrote about the dysfunctional South Dallas/Fair Park Trust Fund, the now-23-year-old program intended to put money into businesses and nonprofits and you-name-its intended to bring new life to the Fair Park area. By '05 it had doled out more than $6 million -- with little to show for the investment, save for shuttered businesses, loans that were never paid back and attempts by countless city officials to just be rid of the thing once and for all. Or maybe you haven't driven by the Bama Pie Building lately.
The beleaguered fund comes to our attention once more this morning -- and the more things change, reports City Auditor Craig Kinton, the more than remain exactly the same. Says Kinton in his five-page report, the entirety of which can be read here, proper guidelines still aren't being followed, loan payments still aren't being properly monitored, and grant applications are still being OK'd without proper documentation. Says Kinton, by '07 some $240,000 worth of worthless loans had been referred to the City Attorney's Office "deemed uncollectable." And as of last July, he writes, "nine Trust Fund loans with pay-off amounts totaling $254,103 were in default."
But whoa, whoa, whoa, say trust fund officials -- those bad loans in 2010 "were made prior to revisions of the Trust Fund Policies and Guidelines related to loan underwriting." Well, in that case.