Sunday, February 28, 2010

Meeks and Smith Stiffed Another Charity

Once again, it looks like prominent New York Democrats, Gregory Meeks and Malcolm Smith have stiffed another charity. Make that charities. In fact, it appears that the charity, New Direction LDC collected $600,000 from 2000 through 2008, and managed to chew up 2/3 of that amount in overhead and expenses.

That's an abysmal rate, and that meant that most of the money, which was delivered via state grants steered by Smith, Meeks, and other Democrats, went into the pockets of those operating the "charity".
More than $400,000 raised by a nonprofit started by Congressman Gregory Meeks and state Sen. Malcolm Smith was never given to the community they represent, including a youth football league that requested a donation, a Post investigation has found.

The Rosedale Jets Football Association went hat in hand to the New Direction Local Development Corp., hoping for a piece of a $250,000 grant that was to go to community groups.

The Jets dutifully submitted an application, hoping to get up to $25,000 to fix up their field. They never got a cent.

"They said they never received our application," said Gerald Karikari, an immigration lawyer and the football team's chief financial officer.

Karikari said the Rosedale Jets, a squad that mixes football and cheerleading with life lessons for 200 kids ages 7 to 13, is always struggling. It had to stop low-cost equipment rentals to players because it could not pay for refurbishing the helmets and protective pads.

Instead of helping the plucky pee-wee players, New Direction spent $405,000 on salaries, mysterious consultants, office expenses and meals, according to paperwork filed by the nonprofit. By 2008, $55,254 was left sitting in its bank account, untouched.

The Post has reported how the charity started by Meeks and Smith, both Queens Democrats, raised at least $31,000 for Hurricane Katrina victims but gave out hardly any of that money.

Yet the problems with New Direction are much broader. The group collected about $600,000 over seven years, but spent just under $200,000 -- 33 percent -- on community programs, according to its tax returns. And even that number is suspicious, as paperwork often lists a "cash donation" with no details as to where the money went.
Smith is currently the top Democrat in the State Senate, and Meeks is a prominent Democrat.

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