From the NY Post:
Rivals of embattled Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez — who is enmeshed in a sex-harassment scandal and is on the ropes politically — are now taking aim at the $120 million social-services empire that has served as his power base.
Rep. Nydia Velazquez told The Post that it’s time for a “comprehensive investigation” of operations at the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, founded by Lopez in 1973 and funded by government grants he and his allies have helped secure ever since.
“You know, there are too many arms within the organization,” said Velasquez, a longtime Lopez critic who beat back his vigorous attempt to unseat her last June.
“I do believe that the services they provide are important. But the whole government structure, as well as the different arms — that should be evaluated by the city officials.”
Ridgewood Bushwick is one of the city’s largest social-service agencies, with programs from home care to senior centers to job training.
After the Department of Investigation reported in 2010 that its board was a rubber stamp with little idea what it was doing, city officials forced a reorganization at the top.
Four months ago, before the harassment charges against Lopez were made public, three Brooklyn City Council members close to him allocated $873,589 of their “member item” funds to the group. Leading the pack was Erik Dilan, who challenged Velasquez with Lopez’s backing.
Last year, the state delivered $845,806 in three discretionary grants.