At his press conference in midtown yesterday Michael Bloomberg was asked why one city agency approved a funding application for the Donna Reid Fund after the same group had been denied funding by another agency.
The mayor defended what had happened and added, “In fact, the process worked.”
Two employees of Councilman Kendall Stewart have now been accused of skimming money off the grants the nonprofit received.
UPDATE: Councilman David Yassky’s office released a letter this morning in support of the actions of the first agency to see an application from the Donna Reid Foundation–the Department for the Aging–expressing support and commending the agency for taking the right course of action. In recent days, D.F.T.A. has been blamed for not doing more to expose inconsistencies in the nonprofit’s application.
Here’s the letter:
Commissioner, New York City Department for the Aging
2 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10007
April 18, 2008
Dear Commissioner Mendéz-Santiago:
I wish to commend the Department for the Aging for discovering and bringing to light the recent fraud perpetrated on New York City taxpayers.
All of us in City government have been shocked and outraged to learn of the flagrant misuse of public funds that led to Wednesday’s indictment of two City Council staff members. This shameful episode has underscored the need for increased transparency in the budget process at a time when the current system has clearly failed us.
According to newspaper reports, it was your department that first recognized the alleged inappropriate allocation of funds to the now debunked Donna Reid Foundation and reported it to the Department of Investigation. In doing so, you and your staff performed a critically important service for all New Yorkers.
I commend your actions, and I hope that all employees involved in uncovering this indefensible scam will be appropriately commended for their efforts. Thank you for your diligence.