The Association of Black and Puerto Rican Lawmakers has not awarded any scholarships in 2018, despite annual revenues generally exceeding $ 500,000.
The group's treasurer, Gary Pretlow, told The Times Union on Sunday that he did not remember signing a check for a scholarship this year, nor how much the last scholarship offered by the group had been awarded.
On Sunday, the New York Post, based on a former unidentified legislator and an unknown community organizer, said the group had not awarded scholarships for two years, preferring to use hundreds of thousands of dollars received for his sumptuous annual donations. celebration usually held in Albany.
None of the leaders of the group, with the exception of Pretlow, would speak at the post office.
The Post report followed a Times Union survey in 2017 that questioned the group's spending and highlighted the organization's continued inability to fund scholarships.
The Black and Puerto Rican Lawmakers Association, Inc. is the non-profit branch of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus of the state. Each year, it organizes a weekend event in February with various events, panels and evenings with expensive sponsorships. The stated purpose of the event is to collect scholarships for minority youth.
On Sunday, Pretlow, a Yonkers Democrat, told The Times Union that he did not remember the last scholarship offered by the group.
"It probably would have been at a time last year," he said.
The association's president, Brooklyn MP, Latrice Walker, did not respond to a call for comment on Sunday. Senator Leroy Comrie, a Democrat from Queens, said he had nothing to say on the subject and hung up his arm on a Times Union reporter.
The group's website no longer works. The "premium" package for this year's event starting February 15 at the Hilton Albany is $ 445, while tickets for individual events cost about $ 30, according to an Eventbrite registration form. In 2017, the tickets were $ 175.
The charity, formed in 1985, has committed in the past to increasing the percentage of its scholarship income, according to the Times Union's 2017 survey. In the 2015 non-profit organization's official retirement program, Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Speaker of the Assembly, member of the Buffalo Assembly, said: "We have the # The intention to double the amount of scholarships paid to students in their respective districts ".
According to Charity Navigator, a monitoring group, charities are generally expected to spend at least a third of their income on the mission they reported.
From 2011 to 2015, the group received more than $ 2.7 million, the vast majority at the annual weekend retreat.
In their last 990 form available to the public from the IRS, the group spent nothing on scholarships during the 2015-2016 fiscal year. That year, the association raised $ 513,819. In the previous year, he had distributed $ 35,745 in scholarships after generating $ 564,677 in revenues.
Pretlow said Sunday that he did not have access to the group's latest IRS filings for 2016-17.