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Feds Probe Queens Senator's Charity

Sunday, February 14, 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. WNYC's Bob Hennelly has more.

REPORTER: 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.

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