Skip to Highlights

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.

Full Report