State wants money given to secretary returned to DCCA

Saturday, January 19, 2002

CHICAGO -- State officials are demanding that a former secretary of Secretary of State Jesse White return money given her to train welfare mothers because there is no evidence any were trained.

However, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs may have trouble getting the money -- at least $100,000 -- from Donna Lumpkins Floyd because she is nowhere to be found, according to a report in Friday's Chicago Sun-Times. Floyd, who was married to a former member of White's famous tumbling team, was evicted from her South Side apartment last summer and hasn't been seen in months by her mother, her ex-husband or White.

"It's a huge amount of money not to be able to account for," White's spokes-man Dave Druker said. "He feels very bad about the apparent loss of revenue. He feels somewhat betrayed."

White began helping Floyd get state funds in 1998, shortly before he was elected secretary of state, by introducing her to legislators. The state grants kept flowing after White became secretary of state and hired Floyd as his executive secretary, paying her $50,000 a year. She kept the job for 15 months, leaving in March 2000, shortly before state officials began asking her to return the job-training funds. Because she was a state employee, she should not have received money, a Commerce and Community Affairs spokesman said.

Office inspection

An inspection of Floyd's Chicago office more than a year ago "showed a lack of fiscal policies or procedures and apparent lack of any staff, and no clear evidence of any clients," said Department Human Services spokesman Tom Green.

The agencies are still waiting for Floyd to return the money or explain how she spent it. Both agencies say they may eventually turn the case over to the state police or Attorney General Jim Ryan for criminal prosecution.

Floyd got $175,500 in state grants for Infinity Cultivation Center, a job-training program she operated near the Cabrini-Green public housing complex.

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