IRS forms show group run by Prince George's candidate racking up deficit

An educational nonprofit run by Prince George's County executive candidate Rushern Baker spent $96,866 in direct funding to students and teachers in 2008, and nearly $400,000 in payroll, taxes and benefits — including a $102,000 salary for Baker, according to newly filed financial records.

Baker's Landover organization, Community Teachers Institute Inc., updated its financial records with the Maryland Secretary of State's Office on Wednesday — one week after The Washington Examiner reported the nonprofit was in violation of state law by failing to update its records since 2006.

The institute brought in roughly $524,600 in 2008 and ran a deficit of $136,880, according to Internal Revenue Service forms obtained by The Examiner. Between 2007 and 2008, Baker gave his finance director and marketing director each a $10,000 raise — paying them $67,658 and $60,000, respectively.

The institute holds annual symposiums and summer training programs to help teachers meet the needs of inner-city youth, according to Maureen Evans, interim executive director of the nonprofit. The last summer training program was held in 2006, she said.

The organization's deficits from 2004 to 2008 total nearly $700,000. Baker campaign spokesman James Adams said the institute has been struggling financially because its primary donor, Peter Greeman, died in 2007 and a number of contributions never came through, including a $250,000 contract with Howard University.

The IRS forms show the institute still received $500,000 in Greeman's name in 2007 and again in 2008.

In a robocall to county residents last week, Baker said he chose not to pay for an auditor and file required financials over the past three years so he could use the money to train teachers.

The state requires nonprofits receiving more than $25,000 in contributions to report their financials annually so taxpayers considering a donation know where their money is going, said Richard Morris, charities director for Maryland's secretary of state.

The institute requested an extension from the IRS to complete its 2009 paperwork by Aug. 15.

On his Facebook page, Baker told followers he went eight months without pay from the institute. The Examiner could not confirm the docked pay, however. The tax forms do not show any salary reductions.

Four days of phone calls, messages and e-mails to the Community Teachers Institute and its finance director, Vernita Johnson, were not returned.