As city investigators probe the allocation of funds through City Council member item grants, agencies in the UJA-Federation of New York network are being forced to cover about $5 million in expenses.
“Across the board, we have agencies in all parts of the city [that receive grants] from most Council members,” said Ron Soloway, managing director for government relations at UJA-Federation. “There are items that are frozen.”
The Department of Investigation and Comptroller William C. Thompson are scrutinizing all Council allocations amid reports that some Council members awarded grants to agencies that employed relatives or staff members. Those reports followed the revelation that the Council “parked” funds in the name of fictitious community organizations in order to later channel them to legitimate groups.
“We are 10 months into the fiscal year, having laid out money with the expectation of being reimbursed,” said Soloway. “The expectation is that the money will be forthcoming and everything will be OK, but if for some reason that doesn’t happen, there will be a gigantic hole in our budget.”
Rabbi Moshe Wiener of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island in Brooklyn said his agency was waiting for about $120,000 in services for English instruction and senior services.
“We have several allocations which have not yet been executed,” he said. “But we are confident that when [the city] concludes its research this will prove to be just an inconvenience.”