SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio nonprofit that provides assistance to pregnant women and new parents closed its East Side location, months after a KSAT 12 Defenders investigation found it had funded multiple trips to the out of state and a smokehouse business owned by the nonprofit’s president and founder.
Officials of A New Life for A New Generation announced the closure of its location at 314 North Hackberry on social media on March 7.
The nonprofit’s West Side location, at 6353 W. Commerce Street, remains open.
Hackberry’s shutdown comes more than two months after New Life reimbursements through the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program were suspended indefinitely. The Dec. 23 suspension came a day after a two-part Defenders investigation found he used the money for trips, a West Side smokehouse and land later registered to produce industrial hemp.
New Life’s reimbursements, which regularly exceeded more than $100,000 a month, come from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
Funding is provided to trustees – in New Life’s case, the Texas Pregnancy Care Network (TPCN), which then disburses money to nonprofit organizations in the form of reimbursements for services provided.
HHSC officials confirmed Friday that New Life’s reimbursement suspension remains in place.
Records obtained by the defenders show that HHSC officials notified the inspector general’s office of the possible embezzlement on Dec. 21, after the defenders first released their investigation.
HHSC program management then met with TPCN officials on January 7, “to better understand the allegations and the actions planned by the TPCN to investigate the allegations,” the records say.
As of the end of last month, HHSC had not recovered any of the funds, citing ongoing review and investigation, records show.
Financial records provided to Defenders by a New Life source — covering January 2020 through September 2021 — have raised questions about how the nonprofit spent state reimbursements as well as funds from two Federal Paycheck Protection Program loans.
In late March 2021, a New Life executive sent a check from the association’s account to Daryl Wayne Shelton for $25,000 for “purchasing property.”
The warranty deed for the vacant West Side lot, located at 6743 Buena Vista St., was finalized Aug. 20 and signed by Shelton with New Life President and Founder Marquica Reed for $25,000. , according to a Bexar County Clerk’s Record. containing their two signatures.
Shelton told Defenders last year that Reed said she wanted to use the property to store New Life vehicles, but also said she planned to build a house there for her grandchildren.
Texas Department of Agriculture records, however, showed that the property at 6743 Buena Vista St. was instead registered in late August by a member of Reed’s family to be part of a hemp production program of the state.
The license, which runs until the end of August 2022, allows the property to be used to produce industrial hemp.
The license lists the business registered as “Marquica R. Reed, 6743 Buena Vista, San Antonio, TX 78227”.
Reed posted a photo of the hemp license on his Instagram page on October 19 with the caption, “I can now grow CBD.
R&J CBD Smoke and Vapor Lounge
Public records show Reed filed company formation paperwork for R&J CBD Smoke & Vapor Lounge in early June, listing himself as the owner.
The Smokehouse, located at 137 S. Acme Rd., is about a block from the New Life Commerce Street headquarters.
A builder hired last summer to renovate R&J confirmed to the Defenders that she accepted a $2,000 check from New Life on July 10, which was signed by Reed, in payment for work done at the smokehouse.
The builder, who asked that the Defenders not use her name, said she took measurements and photos at the New Life’s Commerce Street location but never did any work there of renovation.
Entrepreneur Earl Greenwood told Defenders in a recorded telephone interview that he accepted a check for $20,000 written to him by New Life in late March 2021 for “water damage repair,” even though he had never completed this type of work.
Instead, according to Greenwood, he cashed the check at New Life’s bank and returned the money to Reed, who then gave him about $1,000.
“I went through it, what is it, Woodforest Bank. I got that money back and gave it back to him,” Greenwood said. say, they hired someone else to do the job.
The owner of the Commerce Street location in New Life told the Defenders in a separate telephone interview that he paid for repairs to the water damage, which stemmed from the February 2021 winter storm.
In addition to the questionable checks, financial records also show that New Life funds were used to pay for airfare, hotel reservations and limos for out-of-town trips that Reed, members of his family and some New Life employees attended in 2020 and 2021, as well as for entertainment.
Purchases of questionable vehicles
Last year, Reed agreed to sell her organization a red 2015 Dodge Charger she owns for $35,000.
At the time of sale, the Charger had 82,000 miles, according to records.
The same day the bill of sale was drawn up, Reed received a New Life check for $10,000 for a “deposit for the vehicle.”
Through the end of September 2021, Reed had collected checks for the vehicle, its registration renewal and maintenance totaling more than $32,100, according to New Life records.
State title records, however, show the Charger was still in her name and she originally purchased it in 2019 for just $21,982.
Kelley Blue Book, a vehicle appraisal company, quotes a fair market price for this stylish vehicle with more than 80,000 miles on its odometer of $18,560, about half the amount New Life promised to pay. pay to Reed.
Footage captured by the Defenders last year showed the Charger wrapped in the New Life logo and the rear portion of its body now painted pink.
Federal records show New Life received two Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling $139,600.
The first PPP loan for New Life, in the amount of $56,600, was approved in August 2020 and deposited into the non-profit organization’s main account in early September of the same year.
Days before New Life received funds for the first PPP loan, records show the organization purchased a three-wheeled Polaris Slingshot motorcycle from a local dealership.
A “You owe-we-owe” document from the dealership obtained by Defenders and bearing Reed’s name and signature, contains Reed’s home address and personal email account, but does not mention the nonprofit association lucrative.
Photos and videos of the bike appear frequently on social media, especially when it is being ridden by a member of Reed’s family.
The second PPP loan, for $83,000, was approved in January 2021 and deposited into New Life’s account at the end of March, according to financial records.
Status of criminal investigation?
The Texas Attorney General’s office became aware of financial irregularities within New Life in a complaint filed in mid-October. The suit accused Reed of “using money received from the state and donors for his own personal gain.” These types of expenses are prohibited by Alternatives to Abortion, which provides the majority of New Life’s funding.
In response to a public request for information from defenders, the attorney general’s office released a copy of the complaint and background information it had compiled on New Life. However, agency officials did not respond to multiple inquiries about the status of the case.
The AG’s director of government relations informed the Texas Women’s Health Caucus late last month that the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office was “pursuing criminal charges against the director of this operation.” The official added that the AG’s office is monitoring the situation and preparing to take action when the time is right.
A spokesperson for the DA’s office, however, told Defenders via email on March 1 that his office had not received any cases from a law enforcement agency regarding Reed.
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