The Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Jubilee Commission

T-OSI-92-2: Published: Nov 20, 1991. Publicly Released: Nov 20, 1991.

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GAO discussed allegations of misconduct involving the Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Jubilee Commission, focusing on personal and family ties and financial and business dealings involving Commission members and individuals associated with a firm, with which the Commission had a licensing contract. GAO noted that: (1) there was no evidence that the firm's current president had any experience in licensing products for celebrations of any size; (2) approximately $46,000 in mortgage payments on the firm's president's house was made from the firm's checking account; (3) the firm neglected to explain a $16,000 payment to a travel agency using the same address as the firm; (4) the initial $100,000 installment payment, of three installment payments required under the contract with the Commission, was made with a loan from an individual associated with the firm; (5) the firm paid over $120,000 to another individual associated with the firm, $28,000 of which represented real estate work that was unrelated to any Columbus Quincentenary activity and $49,900 for his help in securing a sublicense, but GAO was unable to determine the reason for the remaining payments; (6) an individual with extensive experience in the licensing programs of national celebrations stated that the licensing contract with the Commission was not in the public interest; and (7) the firm's former Secretary heard conversations regarding the payment of a bribe to the former Commission Chairman.

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