Rep. T.J. Cox Continues to Dodge Questions on Compromising Audit

Democrat is treasurer of nonprofit with questionable record keeping

Rep. T.J. Cox
February 28, 2019

California representative T.J. Cox (D.) continues to dodge questions about a scathing audit by the city of Fresno that found a nonprofit for which the congressman serves as treasurer could not balance its own checkbook and did not have "effective procedures for monitoring revenues earned and expenses incurred."

The Central Valley Community Sports Foundation (CVCSF), the nonprofit in question, was established to upgrade and maintain Fresno's Granite Park, a sports park with ball fields, volleyball courts, and running trails.

As part of an agreement between the two entities, the city would provide CVCSF with $150,000 annually to help pay for day-to-day management, roughly $30,000 less than the city had been paying out of its own pocket when the operation was in-house, according to the Fresno Bee.

However, sometime last August or September, CVCSF went back to the city and asked it to double the commitment of $150,000, at which point the city requested an audit.

Besides the shoddy accounting and record keeping, the audit pointed to concerning transactions that specifically referenced Cox's company, Central Valley NMTC, LLC.

For example, on May 18, 2018 CVCSF deposited a check from Central Valley NMTC, LLC in the amount of $50,000. On that same day, CVCSF wire transferred $50,000 to the Corporate Officer and labeled the transactions "Corporate Officer – Note Payable". When Internal Audit asked CVCSF to explain why the transfer to the Corporate Officer occurred the same day a check from Central Valley NMTC, LLC was deposited, CVCSF stated that,

"There was no income and or expense that occurred on the [profit and loss] and does not pertain to any income and or expense. It is recognized as a balance sheet transaction. Money injected into the nonprofit is recognized as the Corporate Officer, money taken out is recognized as the Corporate Officer."

Again, this response does not answer the stated question. There were, in fact, other instances in 2018 similar to the one described above in which funds were transferred in and out on the same day—or close to the same day—in the same amount.

Because a request for comment on previous reporting went unanswered, the Free Beacon approached Cox on his way to a subcommittee meeting Tuesday in the Longworth House Office Building.

"Go ahead and get a comment from the office, thanks," Cox said as he hurried into the committee hearing room. At the same time, Cox's communications director and press secretary tried to place themselves in between this reporter and the congressman. The two staffers said numerous times they would "follow up" and "circle back."

The Free Beacon emailed a handful of questions again to Cox's office Tuesday afternoon, but those questions have again gone unanswered.

Cox does not appear to have provided comment to local news outlets in California that have been covering the story.

Days after the original audit was released, the county district attorney's office announced they would be launching their own investigation into the nonprofit.

The business history of the 55-year-old freshman congressman is littered with other legal problems and transparency issues.

Cox forgot his primary address, leading to issues with his taxes. The Fresno Bee said the issue would be a credibility test "in the eyes of voters who must find the situation to be curious at best, deceptive at worst."

Cox's "own lawyers sued him for not paying his legal bills, and a judge ordered him to pay more than $49,000, including interest, according to Fresno County court records," the San Jose Mercury News reported in 2015. "He later paid the bill."

Cox also moved twice to run in the district most advantageous to his 2018 candidacy. His win last November was so close the vote count stretched on until the last days of November, making it the last House district decided in the cycle.