Nina Ahmad at a 2015 NOW event in Philadelphia City Hall’s Caucus Room. Source: City of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – According to Dr. Allen Wong, the role of Nina Ahmad in Philadelphia’s fiscal mismanagement raises red flags.
Dr. Wong is a pharmaceutical chemist and currently a member of the Philadelphia Police Asian American Advisory Committee. Wong served with Ahmad on former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s Commission on Asian American Affairs from 2009 to 2015.
During her time as on the commission Ahmad held two fundraising events to support Asian communities, Wong said. Nearly $40,000 was raised, but none of it was spent to help the Asian community. Years later, there has yet to be any public accounting of these funds, despite repeated requests.
Ahmad is pictured above with former Pa. Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell who was also found guilty of stealing more than $500,000 from her own charity.
According to Dr. Allen Wong:
Let me say first I have no political allegiance to either party. I’m a registered Independent and care about the integrity of our government far more than its party stripe. I have voted Democrat and Republican in the same ballot and plan to do the same this November.
I served with Nina Ahmad on former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s Commission on Asian American Affairs from 2009 to 2015. She was the chairperson, while I was on the finance committee.
During that time, the Commission held two fundraising events to support Asian communities. Nearly $40,000 was raised, but none of it was spent to help the Asian community. Years later, there has yet to be any public accounting of these funds, despite my repeated requests.
Yet what’s truly troublesome is the lack of response I’ve received from Ms. Ahmad and other city officials as I’ve tried to get to the bottom of this.
In late 2016, by which time Ms. Ahmad was working in Mayor Kenney’s administration, I wrote to her and members of the Commission on Asian American Affairs requesting a financial accounting of the Commission’s activities. I did not receive a reply but learned from the Commission later that year that Mayor Kenney had referred the matter to his law department.
In March of 2017, having received no additional information, I sent an inquiry directly to Mayor Kenney, again asking for an accounting of these funds that were raised to help the Asian community.
Again, no response.
Eventually, Ms. Ahmad released a Ledger of the Fund of Philadelphia, Inc. to a journalist, only to raise more questions as it accounted for only half of the $40,000.
By its own description, the Department of the Auditor General is charged with “using audits to ensure that all state money is spent legally and properly.” The department’s mission is “to serve the people of Pennsylvania by improving government accountability, transparency, and the effective use of taxpayer dollars.”
Perhaps there is an explanation for the $40,000 that never reached the Asian community. Coincidentally, Nina Ahmad became the deputy mayor for public engagement, leaving the money in the Mayor’s Fund. Because of a lack of transparency, we may never know.
If we can’t trust Ms. Ahmad to provide accountability and transparency for $40,000—a relatively paltry sum in the context of state budget spending—how can we expect her to watch over the many billions in taxpayer dollars that flow through Harrisburg each year?
At the very least, we deserve an auditor general who will respond with transparency to questions the public asks.
This is a question Pennsylvanians deserves to have answered before casting their ballots this year.