This is getting interesting.
On Tuesday afternoon, I contacted Bland Garvey, the accounting firm which did Gospel for Asia’s 2013 audit. I wanted to know if BG had been retained to do GFA’s 2014 audit and perhaps learn why the audit is not out yet. As I understand it, GFA has to turn in an audited financial statement by July 31 to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability as a part of the requirements for membership. GFA is a charter member of ECFA. GFA has been referring to the organization’s membership in ECFA as a means of deflecting questions unaccounted for funds and so it is probably important to protect that membership.
When I called BG, I was referred to attorney Gary Kessler. I called and wrote Attorney Kessler with the following questions:
Is Bland Garvey doing the 2014 audit for Gospel for Asia? If not, why not?If so, will BG correct the misstatements from the 2013 audit that GFA-US only gave money to GFA India and several other GFAs in Asia when in fact GFA-US also gave money to three other NGOs?The amount of money GFA said they donated to GFA-India is millions more than what GFA-India reported to the Indian govt. Will BG mention this discrepancy?Last years audit was complete by June 13; this years is much later. If BG is doing the audit then why has this audit been delayed.
He wrote back with the following:
Applicable law prevents a CPA from communicating the information you requested. I advise you to contact Gospel For Asia and obtain the information you seek.
I wrote back asking for citation of TX law that forbids BG from acknowledging their auditing relationship with GFA and asked if he was representing BG in any litigation. He wrote back to say:
Please contact Gospel for Asia for any information you desire regarding the organization. I will not be responding to any more of your requests.
And so Mr. Kessler joined a growing list of people from Texas who don’t want to talk to me.
Having looked at the CPA law, I can understand why BG cannot address all of my questions. However, just telling me that they are doing GFA’s audit isn’t as clear cut to me. According to TX law, if BG has told the anyone in the public that GFA is an audit client, then they are not required to withhold information. See this clause:
The provisions contained in subsection (a) of this section do not prohibit the disclosure of information already made public, including information disclosed to others not having a confidential communications relationship with the client or authorized representative of the client.
I already know BG did the 2013 audit so I know there was a relationship. And it is possible that others not now affiliated with GFA know if BG is auditing the books. This should be known soon enough because that audit should be available to the public if GFA wants to remain a member of ECFA. That is, of course, unless ECFA gives GFA a pass. Hopefully, then we will know if GFA corrects the misstatements in the 2013 audit.
What puzzles me is why BG didn’t just tell me that but instead referred me to an attorney who in turn referred me to GFA.