KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The city of Kissimmee is handing out $350,000 in grant money to nonprofits in the city. But one organization that applied for some of that money caused a stir.
That’s because it was founded by the city’s mayor.
Mayor Olga Gonzalez founded Church and Community Assistance Program Inc. decades ago. The organization asked for $75,000 from the grant, and Gonzalez said they should be able to get some help because she stepped down from the organization a long time ago.
Some people pointed out to commissioners that there was a conflict of interest, but the mayor said the organization should not be punished because she started it.
“It’s not fair that the haters are taking away from the people in need,” Gonzalez said.
Last year CCAP received $18,000, and the commission acknowledged the good work of the organization.
But Councilmember Janette Martinez said she couldn’t give the organization money.
“I decided not to vote in favor of it due to the fact of the controversy,” Martinez said.
But the mayor responded.
“You do whatever you want to do because you are going to live with your conscience on those people that are not going to get that help because you are stopping it,” Gonzalez said.
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