The Memphis Goodwill raid, which was conducted on Wednesday, was linked to a federal investigation into AbilityOne. Although it is unclear what the agents were looking for, Goodwill President and CEO Tony Martini confirmed the raid was related to government contracts.
As reported by WRCB, the Memphis Goodwill raid was coordinated by the United States Treasury Department — which has a $9.79 million contract with the nonprofit organization. According to reports, “the contract is for janitorial services at government buildings.”
Founded in 1902, Goodwill originally employed the needy to restore used clothing and household goods — which were then re-sold. In later years, the organization expanded to include “employment, training, and rehabilitation for people of limited employability.”
As discussed on the organization’s website, Goodwill has assisted more than 15 million people in the last 113 year.
According to CNN, the organization’s retail stores are not part of the investigation. However, Goodwill’s association with AbilityOne is being questioned.
AbilityOne is a government program, which provides employment to citizens who are blind or otherwise severely disabled.
“Through a national network of more than 600 nonprofit agencies, the program provides the Federal Government products and services at fair market prices. The procurement of these products and services results in employment of more than 45,000 individuals.”
Although the program was designed to help those in need, AbilityOne is being criticized for failing to comply with federal regulations.
According to reports, the program is currently under investigation by several agencies, including the United States Department of Justice. The allegations include fraud and failure to employ the required number of disabled workers.
The Memphis Goodwill raid was linked to the AbilityOne investigation as the organization “received more than $22 million in AbilityOne contracts” in the last five years.
Despite the known association, Tony Martini denies any wrongdoing. In an official statement, he confirmed Goodwill is fully cooperating with the investigation.
“… we’ve worked tirelessly to address their concerns and get things right-tracked, and we’ll continue to do so… We will keep working alongside everyone involved to ensure we reach a timely resolution so that we may focus on our mission of job creation and support for those with barriers to employment.”
Martini said the investigation had not and will not affect any general operations or employment programs.
— Lauren Squires (@LaurenSquires) September 2, 2015
Authorities have not commented on or confirmed the reason for the Memphis Goodwill raid.