MYCAP appeals to the USDA

By William K. Alcorn


The Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Partnership has appealed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to save the local program from bankruptcy and closing.

The Ohio Department of Education is demanding a refund of $879,547 in connection with two USDA-funded food and nutrition programs that MYCAP says it cannot pay because the money it receives is earmarked for specific programs, and it has no other source of revenue.

The Department of Agriculture is MYCAP’s final court of appeals after being told by the Franklin County Court of Appeals and the Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals that they don’t have jurisdiction in such cases.

The local nonprofit, which operates a number of anti-poverty programs in Mahoning County, said the money was not misspent. The agency concedes that from 2008 to 2010, MYCAP failed to comply with certain record-keeping and accounting regulations.

MYCAP, however, also says that a yearlong investigation by the Ohio Department of Education cleared the local agency of any wrongdoiong.

In its letter to USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack, MYCAP asked that he modify or waive the refund demanded by ODE. If not, MYCAP will be forced into bankruptcy, said Marilyn J. McDaniel, MYCAP chief executive officer.

“Closing MYCAP would have a devastating effect on the Mahoning County area. Thousands of needy individuals and families receive assistance through MYCAP’s programs, including Head Start, the Women, Infants and Children Program, Home Energy Assistance Program, rural outreach programs and senior centers,” McDaniel said.

She said that MYCAP acknowledges that ODE may be entitled to reimbursement of $47,351 for disallowed costs but said ODE’s refund calculation is “grossly overstated.”

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