Local News

Sep 10, 2013 7:25 PM by Janine Reyes

6 Investigates Follow Up: Columbian Ladies Make Large Donation

CORPUS CHRISTI -- 6 investigates has been following the Columbian Ladies of South Texas since April.

They are a local charity under audit by the Texas Lottery Commission.

Today they gave a check to the Red Cross, a 3rd party charity, which is a little unusual for the group.

In a document provided by the Texas Lottery Commission, the group indicates their charitable purposes are to give to the church, school and issue scholarships, but it seems that focus is changing this quarter, with a donation to the Red Cross and anticipated donations to the Food Bank, Women's Shelter and the Salvation Army.

Columbian Ladies President Minnie Pena handed the giant check over to Red Cross representative Yvette Lara.

"It's an incredible donation, we heard from Mrs. Pena last week and they told us that we were selected to receive some funds from their organization and $5,000 goes a long way," Lara said.

In all the Columbian Ladies plan to give away about $25,000.

You may remember our investigation into the Columbian Ladies began in April when after bringing in $1.12 million, they only donated a couple grand. $7,596 dollars, to be exact.

"This is a big increase from donations we've seen in the past in past quarters," we said to Pena. "Because we weren't making money," she responded, adding they are now making money.

Their quarterly reports don't show a substantial change in income or payouts, but, letters 6 Investigates got from the Texas Lottery Commission today confirm, they did not require payouts from the group at all in 2012, we are not sure why.

"Every quarter they tell us how much to donate, the Texas Lottery tells us how much we have to donate," Pena said "and this time it was $25,000 we had to give from this quarter."

For some reason, that $25,000 is going to other charities. The Columbian Ladies themselves are a 501(C)(3), which means they can directly distribute money.

In recent years, they say they've directly distributed the funds, spending the proceeds on the church school and scholarships.

Now, the excess will go to other charities.

"We went to these companies that really need it, the way i see it, they really need it," Pena said. Adding that it felt good to be able to give again.

There is some question as to whether or not the Columbian Ladies will continue running their charity.

They told us they have until November to make that decision.

They are also waiting to find out if they will face a reprimand from the Texas Lottery Commission over violations discovered in an audit that wrapped up in July.


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