While Amistad America undergoes an audit and agreed to institute sesults-based accounting methods, a Norwich businesswoman is citing a five-year-old debt totaling up $4,000 owed to her from the organization.
According to a report in The Day, Debra Bilda, of BMTees Inc, a small screen printing and embroidery business, made calls to the organization for 16 months before writing off the debt. If she had kept the debt open and allowed her contractual 1.5 percent interest to accrue, Amistad America would owe her $7,000 by now.
Amistad America operates Freedom Schooner Amistad, which sales around the world teaching visitors about African captives freed after a Supreme Court case in 1839. Mystic-area residents have the opportunity to catch the schooner during one of its frequent visits the Mystic Seaport.
Bilda contacted Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, after reading that Urban demanded accountability from the State Department of Economic Development after Amistad America lost is tax-exempt status for failing to file federal tax returns for three years.
Bilda told reporters at The Day that she employs three people and writing off the debt “was a pretty big hit to my bottom line.” Urban is determined to get the money back for Bilda and may try to take the money from the $700,000 in state grants due to Amistad America.