A panel appointed by Governor Cuomo to investigate corruption in Albany charged last week that lawmakers were steering millions in taxpayer funds to a Brooklyn nonprofit that seemed to be providing little in the way of services. The blistering report provided tantalizing clues as to the identity of the nonprofit - but stopped just short of naming names. Now that mystery is solved - though many questions remain about just what the public is getting for its money.
WNYC asked listeners to help figure out the identity of the nonprofit singled out by the state Moreland Commission.
One listener turned out to have some special expertise: Robert Gearty, a former investigative reporter for the New York Daily News, took a look at records showing the millions of dollars in grants legislators steered to organizations and pet projects. One clue in the report - that the nonprofit also had offices in two foreign countries - pointed him toward a Boro Park group called Relief Resources.
And then WNYC heard from reporter Nick Powell of City & State, a publication that reports closely on government affairs. A source familiar with the investigation confirmed for Powell that Relief Resources is, indeed, the mystery nonprofit mentioned in the Moreland report.
Benjamin Babad, Relief Resources' program director, told WNYC on Friday that our call was the first he was hearing about the Moreland Commission. He said the nonprofit has served thousands of people - but did not return further calls on Monday seeking more information.
Nick Powell of City & State contributed reporting.