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Executive Spent Sheltered Workshop Money On Personal Goodies, Auditor Says
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 6, 2003

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS--The executive director of a local sheltered workshop spent hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sales of bird feeders, screw packets and sewing kits for his own personal expenses, the state auditor said this week.

The for-profit program also failed to report more than $1.1 million in revenue to the state, Auditor Joseph DeNucci said.

Records show that David Slater, executive director of Community Group Inc (CGI), spent $74,370 to lease a Mercedes Benz, $103,920 for charges at the Belmont Country Club, $80,993 for personal landscaping, and $5,500 for laser eye surgery.

The money was generated by the sales of items produced in the sheltered workshop by employees with mental retardation who were paid below minimum wage for their labor. The state Department of Mental Retardation (DMR) also paid CGI about $400,000 to run the training program.

DMR would have recovered all or some of its costs if the state had known about the actual amount of the facility's income. The department ended its contract to with CGI in December.

Slater resigned last October.

Lawyers for CGI said Monday that they told the program that revenue from commercial sales belonged to the corporation, not the state.

The Associated Press noted that the audit has been referred to the state Attorney General's office and the U.S. Department of Labor and state Department of Labor and Workforce Development because CGI may have violated minimum wage laws.

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