From the Daily News:
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is probing a $33,000 state grant that is unaccounted for after it was doled out to a nonprofit tied to City Councilman Ruben Wills, the Daily News has learned.
Schneiderman’s investigators, frustrated by the Queens councilman’s failure to fully comply with a subpoena, have filed a motion in Manhattan Supreme Court to compel New York 4 Life to open its books, sources told The News.
The funds were earmarked in 2008 by state Sen. Shirley Huntley, the Queens Democrat who used to employ Wills as her chief of staff, court documents show. This is the third Huntley-secured legislative grant to be investigated by Schneiderman’s office.
New York 4 Life was supposed to use the money to fund a breakfast for single mothers; a luncheon for single fathers; a campaign to fight childhood obesity, and a program to “adopt” a commercial strip.
Wills — who last year pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor criminal mischief charge in an unrelated case — has been on the nonprofit’s board since he started the group in 2006, and served as its chairman since at least 2009, court records show. The organization has no website, but in Wills’ Council biography he said the group “has helped single mothers champion critical issues such as civic literacy and financial empowerment.”
In April 2011, the state Office of Children & Family Services sent a letter to Wills seeking documentation on how the grant was spent. It never got a response, the court filing alleges. Officials then told the group to either provide an accounting of the money, or return it. It did neither. The state agency ultimately referred the matter to Schneiderman’s office.
Letters to Wills that demanded repayment plus interest went ignored, according to court papers.