Clinic featured on ‘Queer Eye’ defrauded Austin Public Health, says city auditor

TO new report from the Austin City Auditor’s Office found fraud in the amount of $417,000 in contracts for the non-profit’s response to the COVID-19.

The organization in question, the Central Texas Institute for Allied Health (CTAHI), gained public attention in 2021 when it was featured on Netflix. Queer Eyea show in which the cast of the Fab Five stars as artists and occasionally provides support for their businesses and community causes.

The City Auditor’s Office released a report Thursday of the CTAHI investigation, leveling evidence that falsified documents outlining more than $1 million in transactions. These actions resulted in an improper payment of $417,000 to CTAHI by APH, according to the report.

Jereka Thomas-Hockaday co-founded CTAHI as a medical training school in 2019, with the goal of helping people get established by underwriting medical careers. During the pandemic, it expanded to add a COVID-19 clinic in East Austin. Received three contracts from APH to coordinate COVID-19 testing, vaccination and effective workforce training.

The clinic break site has been updated on ” Queer Eye an event called “Community Allies,” which focuses on Thomas-Hockaday’s work through CTAHI to provide tests and vaccines to low-income and minority communities.

“Most of these” [patients] they are people of color,” Thomas-Hockaday told KUT next year 2022 show airing s. “They told us they were comforted when they came to us. I have people who come all the time to be tested because they know us, they trust us.”

However, in October 2021, APH brought concerns to the City Auditor’s office that CTAHI had falsified financial documents in the process of submitting the contract to the public health agency.

The state auditor’s investigation found that the CTAHI exceeded the number of people who received vaccinations by 20-30% given the immunization status, the patient’s form and other records. This discrepancy is reduced to a specific date: CTAHI said that APH had administered it over 1,000 vaccines on June 5, 2021, but only 59 patient forms existed at that time.

Additionally, the report shows that 11 of the 22 documents submitted to the city include expenses that were falsified by purchasing prices and palm receipts and insurance, along with changes made to signatures and business records. The doctorate’s expenses, which are contained in the report, include about $362,000 in medical equipment purchased from a company in Houston, as well as “expenses for IT equipment, salary, security services, lab space and employee care.”

While the auditor researched some of the Thomas-Hockaday documents, others were published and proposed by Todd Hamilton, president of CTAHI, the CTAHI campus. Auditor Hamilton noted that he was largely responsible for handling the non-profit’s financial operations prior to the hiring of the treasurer. He was also investigated for alleged diversion by CTAHI, although the auditor’s office could not confirm these allegations.

In a joint statement, Hamilton and Thomas-Hockaday denied engaging in any fraudulent activity.

“There is a long-documented history of the city of Austin having problems working with minority contractors and then blaming the contractors themselves for the mistakes in execution,” Thomas-Hockaday said. I was told by a number of seniors who previously worked with the city that he would not accept the contract, but because of the pandemic I thought I might be able to make a difference. I will do business with the City of Austin ever again.”

The report also said the matter was referred to the Austin Police Department “due to the criminal nature of CTAHI’s activities.”

Brandon Jones, APD communications manager, confirmed the independent investigation is ongoing.

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Ava Grey

Hi there! I'm Ava Grey, an enthusiastic article writer with a passion for the arts, fashion, and staying informed about current events. As a journalism student at the New York Academy of Art, I'm driven to use my writing to create positive change and spark meaningful conversations. I'm particularly interested in contemporary art and sustainable fashion, and I love exploring how people use these mediums to express themselves and communicate their values. I believe that staying informed and hearing different perspectives is essential for personal growth and learning, and I'm always eager to engage in lively debates and discussions.

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