Smith ripped for saying ye$ to yuppies
By CARL CAMPANILE, NY Post
State Senate President Malcolm Smith steered a $150,000 grant to a well-heeled, politically connected business group -- as the state grappled with the worst budget crisis in decades, The Post has learned.
Smith's legislative largesse benefited the Council for Urban Professionals Institute, a Manhattan not-for-profit whose stated goal is to advance "the agenda for urban professionals and their communities."
Its members and sponsors include AT&T, AIG, BET, Black Rock, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Verizon, and its 2008 tax return reported net assets of $646,851.
Government-watchdog groups blasted Smith's decision.
"The members of this group are successful businesspeople. Why do they need to raise $150,000 from taxpayers when they could raise it among their members?" said Lise Bang-Jensen, an analyst with the Manhattan Institute's Empire Center for New York State Policy.
The group also hired Albany lobbyist Jacqueline Williams, formerly of the Long Island law firm Suozzi, English -- whose partners include Basil Paterson, father of Gov. Paterson.
Smith declined to comment.