According to financial records provided to the IRS by Mobile Development Enterprises, the non-profit subsidiary of the Mobile Housing Board was more than $500,000 in the red in 2011 even as its number of employees exploded by 300 percent. Those records and others also appear to show that as MDE’s ranks have grown, the Housing Board itself has seen a drastic reduction in the amount of employees still working under the oversight of the Mobile County Personnel Board. MDE was incorporated as a non-profit in 2003 by then-Mobile Housing Board Executive Director Stevens Gregory. Housing Board Chairman Clarence Ball and Vice-Chairman Donald Langham also were listed on the MDE board of directors and remain there today, according to Mobile County Probate Court records. The Housing Board also incorporated a for-profit version of MDE in 1997 that remains active as well. MDE’s articles of incorporation were updated in 2010 to replace Gregory with current MHB Executive Director Dwayne Vaughn. Vaughn has described MDE as doing primarily construction management. It was active in working the first phases of the HOPE VI revitalization program that built the Orange Grove and Renaissance developments north of downtown. MDE had its tax-exempt status yanked by the IRS in May 2010 for failing to file its 990 financial forms for three straight years. Vaughn says the 501(c)3 had that tax-exempt status restored a couple of months...Read More
Mobile Housing Board
Records supplied by the Mobile County Personnel Board show the number of merit system employees at the Mobile Housing Board has decreased by 25 since 2009 even as the number of employees at MHB’s non-profit subsidiary are significantly higher than they were even in 2010. Mobile Personnel Board Director Donald Dees provided a breakdown of MHB’s employee totals for the past four years showing the number dropping — particularly over the past two years. According to the numbers provided, in 2009 MHB had 155 employees and 158 in 2010, but that number dropped to 141 in 2011 and 130 at the end of last year for a 16 percent decrease since the end of 2009. The Housing Board lists its number of employees at 220 on its website, although it is not known when the total was that high and it is clear the site has not been updated in some time. MHB Executive Director Dwayne Vaughn wrote in an email that the decline in Housing Board employment numbers is directly related to a decrease in federal funding as well as normal attrition. “To our knowledge, most agencies dependent on Federal funds in recent years have seen some contraction due to the historically low funding levels, federal sequestration and an emphasis at the Federal, state and local level of ‘doing more with less,’” Vaughn wrote. “In addition, MHB has...Read More
A non-profit company set up by the Mobile Housing Board has never filed any of the annual financial disclosure forms required by law during its 10 years of existence, according to its director, and is refusing to release information that would already be public had those forms been filed. Mobile Development Enterprises was formed in 2003, according to both state and county records, as a tax-exempt company. It appears they first filed for tax-exempt status three years later and would have been required to file a 990 Form with the IRS each year since detailing financial information and answering questions about the structure of the organization. MDE lost its tax-exempt status in May 2010, however, for not filing its 990s for three consecutive years. It turns out that most basic requirement was never met. “It seems that no Form 990 was filed prior to the date of the auto-revocation,” MDE Executive Director Dwayne Vaughn said last week. Vaughn has said MDE was told by the IRS it did not need to file annual 990 forms, but neither MDE nor the Housing Board have letters from the IRS verifying that. He said MDE sent a form to the IRS along with a check for $100 and that check was cashed, which he says serves as the only record of evidence MDE was ever exempted from the filing rules. Vaughn says...Read More
A non-profit organization being run as a subsidiary of the Mobile Housing Board had its tax-exempt status revoked more than two years ago for failure to file required forms for three consecutive years, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Mobile Development Enterprises, had its tax exempt status revoked in May 2010 for failure to file a Form 990-series return for three consecutive years, according to an IRS website. A call to the IRS confirmed MDE’s tax exempt status remains revoked at this time. MDE was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 2003 by then-Mobile Housing Board Executive Director Stevens Gregory, according to Mobile County Probate Court records. Housing Board Chairman Clarence Ball and Vice-Chairman Donald Langham also were listed on the MDE board of directors. The Housing Board also incorporated a for-profit version of MDE in 1997 that remains active. MDE’s articles of incorporation were updated in 2010 to replace Gregory with new Housing Board Director Dwayne Vaughn, according to probate records. On the Alabama Secretary of State’s website, there are two versions of MDE listed. Mobile Development Enterprises is listed as a non-profit corporation, with Vaughn as the registered agent. Also listed is Mobile Development Enterprises, Inc., a domestic corporation with Vaughn listed as the agent. The issue of MDE’s relationship with the Housing Board has recently come to the fore as its vice president for Business and...Read More
About The Author
Rob Holbert is co-publisher and managing editor of Lagniappe, Mobile’s independent newspaper. Rob helped found the newspaper after a career that started as a police reporter and columnist at the Mississippi Press in Pascagoula. He followed that with a stint as a deputy press secretary for then-U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in Washington, D.C. After leaving Capitol Hill, Rob worked ghost-writing opinion articles for publication in some of the nation’s largest newspapers. From 1999 through Aug. 2010 he was the faculty adviser for the University of South Alabama student newspaper, The Vanguard, and in 2002 started Lagniappe with his business partner Ashley Trice. The paper now prints 30,000 copies every two weeks and is distributed around Mobile and the Eastern Shore. According to Scarborough Research, Lagniappe now has more than 80,000 readers each week, with close to a quarter of that coming online. The paper began publishing weekly at the beginning of April 2014.