NCPA claims mismanagement during CEO Allen West’s tenure led to bankruptcy
DALLAS – A prominent and outspoken candidate campaigning to become the next chairman of the Texas Republican Party is being sued by a respected think tank for negligence and financial mismanagement that caused the organization to spiral into bankruptcy.
Allen West, a former U.S. representative and sometime Fox News commentator, has amassed a significant war chest from prominent donors in his bid to oust incumbent state GOP chair James Dickey. At the same time, Mr. West is being sued by Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), which claims that his brief tenure as CEO was marked by bad decisions and mismanagement that alienated donors and financially crippled the once-thriving organization. Codefendants in the lawsuit have recently filed a request to settle their related claims.
Under Mr. West’s leadership, the NCPA hired a chief financial officer who was already on probation for embezzlement and who then dismantled the organization’s fiscal controls. As a result, the CFO (who is now in prison) embezzled more than $600,000 from the NCPA.
The lawsuit charges that Mr. West and other board members misspent more than $1 million in restricted grant money on operations – including salaries, expenses and bonuses – and hid that information from the rest of the board and donors.
The NCPA was a once-thriving think tank that is credited with developing some of the Republican Party’s most cherished public policy ideas, including Health Savings Accounts and Roth IRAs. At the start of Mr. West’s tenure as CEO in 2015, the NCPA had annual revenue of $5.3 million, $737,000 in savings and an endowment of approximately $6 million, according to a ProPublica analysis of IRS records. By the time the NCPA closed its doors in 2017, there was no money in the bank, no endowment and more than $1 million in debt.
Mr. West was among a revolving door of inexperienced and poorly vetted executives hired by the NCPA board in the three years leading up to the bankruptcy, according to the lawsuit. Deposition testimony has revealed that board members made no attempt to perform background checks on Mr. West and others hired to leadership positions.
The case is Kevin Buchanan as Appointed Receiver of National Center for Policy Analysis v. James Amos, Jr. et al., No. 18-30453-BJH7 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.