"At first blush, this appears to have been a misuse of taxpayer dollars," Murphy said. "We've been asking for answers ... on where this money was spent, how it was spent. You know, this is state taxpayer money."
It's not only Republican legislators who have asked for more specifics about the NRI.
Rep. Jones sent a letter in August to the state agency overseeing the program asking for a "list of administration costs" associated with NRI and a list of groups that have submitted audits.
The letter was sent in August to Barbara Shaw, the former director of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, who has since retired from state government. Jones said he never received a response.
"There still needs to be some examination of where the money went," Jones said. "If the money didn't go to the anti-violence programs, I'm not going to let it rest on deaf ears."
Examples of the apparent misuse of the program's money don't surprise Mike Shaver, whose organization, Chicago Children's Home and Aid, received $2.1 million for its role as a lead agency for the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.
He and others say the initiative was just too big, and providers were not equipped to evaluate which programs were working and which were not.
"We weren't able to get enough information about what was going on in our own program to understand whether we were having the desired impact," said Shaver.
Others involved with the Chicago anti-violence initiative underscored the successes of the program -- like keeping kids off the streets -- while acknowledging more needs to be done.
"We engage with the kids and things of that nature, do booster training and get them life skills and coping skills," said Lamont Coakley, an adult mentor. "It's just limited on the funds. If we can get funded to hire all the youth, then it would work.
"Because if we really look at it, when they're at their training, when they're at work, they're not shooting anyone."
Father Michael Pfleger, of the Church of St. Sabina -- another of the NRI's lead agencies -- said the program's overall success shouldn't just be measured by Chicago's crime rate.
"Let's not say because the NRI can't show evidence of crime being down that it's failed," Pfleger said. "No, I look at the NRI with the boots on the street and within the community that we're helping from getting worse."
That sentiment was echoed by the Illinois governor:
"It does work when you intervene, when you keep people on a positive path, doing good things for their community instead of getting involved with gang-bangers and drug dealers that afflict many communities, and use violence to kill children in particular," Quinn said.
"Most people who have looked at this issue, who are experts, say the best way to fight the violence is to have after-school programs for children who can get in trouble after school, have programs of mentoring so they have positive role models, have programs where they can have a job, even if it's just a part-time job, a seasonable job."
But Murphy said those temporary jobs are just "another way of providing welfare."
"You're not giving young people a chance to advance by giving them this flier-passing-out job," Murphy said. "You're not creating an environment where job growth that is lasting is going to take hold."
Today, the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative has been scaled back, with a much smaller budget of just $15 million. It's also being managed by a different state agency.