NY Senator Lost Track Of $30K Of Nonprofit Funds
New York - State Sen. Eric Adams funneled $30,000 in taxpayer money to a nonprofit he founded, 100 Blacks Who Care, but doesn't know how, or if, the money was spent.
The Brooklyn group, which got $15,000 in 2008, didn't record the money, as required on its federal tax returns, or document any expenses.
"Once the money is turned over to an organization, we, as elected officials, can't get involved in how they use it. I don't know how it's used," Adams told The Post last week.
The Brooklyn Democrat said he couldn't remember, without checking his records, why he gave the organization the "member item" grants in the first place.
Noel Leader, the group's treasurer, who, like Adams, is a former cop and co-founder of 100 Blacks, told The Post that the organization hadn't received any funding in years and that he did not recall receiving the state funds.
He later said a $5,000 allocation from the state Education Department was probably used for supplies.
"I vaguely remember the $5,000 being used for the workshops, to buy equipment we utilize during the workshops. We have a lot of props, sound equipment, things of that nature," he said.
Adams, Leader and Vernon Wells founded 100 Blacks in the mid-1990s as a nonprofit to give grants of $1,000 a month "to a worthy cause in the African-American community."
They also started 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, a for-profit advocacy group.
Adams approved a $20,000 member item for 100 Blacks in 2007, money that was to go toward equipment, including a slide projector, a laptop case, microphones and computer software, and $600 for staff members who conducted forums, according to state documents.
The state sent only $5,000 to the group, which never submitted an expense report to get the rest of the cash, according to an Education Department spokeswoman.
Adams secured the $10,000 member item the next year.
But, he said, he resigned from the organization before he took office and had nothing to do with its spending.
Several state lawmakers have gotten in trouble for running nonprofits, including state Sen. Pedro Espada, who was charged this month with embezzling money from his Bronx health-care centers, and State Sen. Vincent Leibell of Putnam County, who pleaded guilty in a kickback scheme involving a nonprofit he created.
Earlier this year, the US attorney opened an investigation into state Sen. Malcolm Smith and Rep. Gregory Meeks after The Post revealed the questionable spending practices of the nonprofit they helped to form, the New Direction Local Development Corp.
State Assemblywoman Sandra Galef, a Westchester Democrat, said she has drafted legislation that would prohibit lawmakers from giving member-item cash to nonprofits over which they have control.
"That's not what state dollars are to be used for," she said.