Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation in the clear after fraud, waste and abuse investigation

Civil War unit “Norfolk Light Artillery Blues” will take part in a comparative artillery-firing demonstration spanning 400 years at noon Sunday at Jamestown Settlement’s “Military Through the Ages” weekend (Photo courtesy of Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)

An investigation into the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation by the Virginia Office of the State Investigator General has been recently released after a Freedom of Information Act request.

The request was made by WYDaily after several inquiries to the foundation about the investigation.

JYF spokeswoman Tracy Perkins responded to a request for comment with the following statement:

“As a state agency, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation complied with all requests from the Office of the Inspector General.”

Logo design

The first complaint related to a contract for the design of an agency logo.

The complaint alleged 2019 Commemoration Inc., a private event-planning nonprofit, sole-sourced the design job, when it was required to shop around before selecting the vendor.

But according to a report from the Office of the State Inspector General, the allegation was unsubstantiated because an April 2016 contract with the design company, Ion Design, was paid for using private funding, meaning they were not required to shop around for a vendor.

The report references the Virginia Public Procurement Act, a part of Virginia Code that requires all public entities to purchase goods in a fair and impartial manner, find items at a “reasonable cost” and not exclude qualified vendors from consideration.

The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation is defined in the report as a public state-run agency, but 2019 Commemoration Inc. is not.

2019 Commemoration Inc. is not required to comply with the VPPA, because — unlike the JYF — it is a “private affiliate” of the foundation, according to the report.

The private arm used its private funds to fund the logo design, meaning there was no violation.

Conflict of interest

The second claim, alleging the foundation entered contracts despite a conflict of interest between a manager and vendor, was also unsubstantiated.

The office of the state inspector general reviewed all 2016 Commemoration Inc.’s contracts from July 15, 2015 to March 10, 2017.

Investigators found that all contracts had been awarded through “proper procedure,” which included a procurement office employee and approvals from the finance and accounting office.

Additionally, investigators reviewed contracts and purchases to seek out any conflicts of interest involving contracts with JYF employees’ family members.

The search turned up no conflicts, the report said.

“Previously, a staff member of the 2019 Commemoration Inc. had disclosed a distant family relationship with a vendor, but was appropriately cleared as not being a conflict of interest,” the report said.

“The allegation is unsubstantiated,” the report said.

The complaint, filed with the State Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline, alleged two violations revolving around a private arm of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.

The first claim states the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation “inappropriately” sole-sourced a contract with a logo design company.

The second allegation claimed the private arm of the foundation, 2019 Commemoration Inc., improperly obtained goods and services with several vendors, and awarded a contract to a vendor despite a conflict of interest.

Both allegations were found unsubstantiated in an official report on July 19, 2017.


JYF Final Report  


Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

Related Articles