Bloomberg examines the unraveling of Kids Company, a British youth charity that was held up as a model of the government's Big Society effort and received millions of dollars in taxpayer funds but shut down earlier his month after running out of cash.
The closure followed the resignation in July of the London-based organization's colorful founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh, amid an investigation by the British Charity Commission into alleged "inappropriate spending [and] breaches of financial controls."
Ms. Batmanghelidjh had been likened to Mother Teresa as she built Kids Company from a storefront drop-in center for troubled youths into a $31-million-a-year organization supported by royalty, celebrities, and corporate titans. She was with Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010 when he unveiled his program to shift social services to charities and private firms, and Kids Company received some $6.2 million a year in government grants.
Regulators and critics of the charity, including some former donors and employees, said Kids Company spent nearly $8,000 a month to rent a mansion for an aide to Ms. Batmanghelidjh, gave staff members lavish benefits, doled out wads of cash to teenagers, and greatly exaggerated the number of children it served. Ms. Batmanghelidjh has vigorously defended her stewardship in the British media and pledged to start a new charity.