Published in
The Empire

How and when to fund a nonprofit under federal review

David Seifman reports that City Hall "quietly restored" $12.5 million to the nonprofit founded by influential Democratic lawmaker Vito Lopez. The nonprofit is the subject of two federal reviews (investigations, right folks?), as well as "a thorough review" from the state attorney general's office.

So, why did the city send the money to group?

A few reasons:

1) The group is still providing services, like food to home-bound seniors, and they're incurring bills that need to be paid, according to a person I spoke with.

2) The city conducted their own vetting of the group, and improvements they recommended have already been put into place. So, in the city's eyes, the group is fair game for funding.

3) So, when the city turned to the state, the AG had a limited role: "The only question we asked the charities bureau was whether the paperwork was up to date," according to a City Hall spokeswoman. The answer they got - in the form of a "verbal confirmation" - was yes.

Aides in City Hall and the Attorney General's office acknowledge that the charity is still under review by federal investigator and the AG's office and the status of those investigations has not changed.

"Their paperwork remains under review in conjunction with two federal investigations," said a spokesman for the attorney general's office.