WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
Feds Probe Charity Run by Queens Senator
Monday, February 15, 2010
Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed the New York State Senate for documents relating to community groups that received state money at the request of Senate President Malcolm Smith.
The subpoena asks for several years of paperwork for state money directed to community-based charities through Smith's office. The grants, known as member items, go back to when the Senate was controlled by the Republicans and total over $56,000.
According to a Senate official monitoring the process investigators are focusing on the New Directions Local Development Corporation, a Queens charity Smith helped found. The phone number listed on the charity's website is disconnected. Federal tax filings on the site indicate it paid $9,000 to satisfy Federal tax penalties in 2007. The Secretary of the Senate is in the process of responding to the subpoena. Last year the Senate awarded $85 million in so-called member items with the Democrats getting the lion's share.