YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown City Law Department has released a detailed expense report for American Rescue Plan funds spent by CityScape and Third Ward Councilwoman Samantha Turner, which the law department says were misused.
A letter of reprimand was sent on Tuesday to Turner and CityScape claiming they misused ARP funds and violated federal laws.
“The Airbnb in Washington, the consulting firms, various vendors in Washington and the excessive CityScape administrative fees are all suspect and must be analyzed in more depth and will require more review,” the letter states.
The detailed expenses were released on Wednesday.
The report shows that $5,267.50 was spent to pay four CityScape workers. This included the executive director, accounting director, development director and program director. Each was paid $35 per hour totaling the $5,267.50.
In addition, $425.44 was spent on meals at downtown Youngstown restaurants in February.
Turner has been working with CityScape on a Belmont Avenue corridor revitalization project, to which she allocated $125,000 of her American Rescue Plan money to get the project started.
More than $16,000 was spent on consulting firms: KO Consulting received $4,815 and Milestones Partners & Associates received $11,295.06.
During a Washington D.C. trip — which Law Director Jeff Limbian accused Turner of violating federal laws when she used federal funds to lobby more money — $67.96 was spent on various vendors and $313 was spent on an Airbnb.
Turner responded to the accusations on Tuesday in the letter sent out by Limbian stating, “The letter dated July 17th, received today, took all involved by surprise because we have all been transparently working for the betterment of the community.”
She went on to state, “If something were misspent, I would have hoped the Administration would bring it to the organization’s attention and ask for clarification rather than send what appears to be a politically motivated letter. However, I will work with the United States Treasury to ensure that we meet the required laws, and I look forward to providing additional information in the future.”
The director of CityScape also responded denying any knowledge of wrongdoing.
“CityScape did not knowingly use any funds improperly. ARP funding and guidelines are new and untested, and we will take all necessary steps to clarify the process. It is significant to note that no one from the City of Youngstown has ever reached out to me or our staff to attempt to clarify or resolve any issues.”
Below you can see the full breakdown of expenses released from the law department: