A controversial profit-making legislator has not paid school taxes


A not-for-profit organization run by state legislators who spent $ 1 million in annual scholarship galas In two years, but given zilch students needy minorities, the Post also did not pay school taxes on his Albany building.

The Association of Black and Puerto Rican Lawmakers of the State of New York, which organizes every February a lavish "weekend caucus" of parties and workshops in Albany, owes 12,275.07 $ in unpaid school taxes in Albany for 2016 and 2018, according to public documents. The figure includes $ 1,747 in accumulated interest.

The group, founded by members of the minority assembly in 1985, purchased the three-story townhouse on South Swan Street for $ 200,000 in 1994, according to public records. The group uses the first floor as an office and rents the rest of the building for $ 3,400 during the 2016-17 taxation year, as shown by the documents filed by the federal government. The property is located just minutes from the Capitol State.

On Thursday, at 12:45 pm, a woman went to the charity's office and fired a reporter from the post office when he started asking questions.

"There is no one to talk to," she said, slamming the door and letting out an exasperated, "Lord, have mercy!"

A former lawmaker who is a member of the association said she had never been to the building but was told it was the "party house".

Brokers like former mayor David Dinkins and former state controller Carl McCall sit on the group's board – but declined to comment and did not return messages, respectively.

In the meantime, the Post obtained federal tax documents confirming that the association had not awarded any grants in fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17.

In the last tax form available, on the line indicating "grants and similar amounts paid", the group wrote "0" for the 2016 fiscal year. On another page, where the grants were to be listed for the four fiscal years, the last two exercises were: left empty.

The group insisted that scholarships were awarded in 2016 and 2017, but refused to provide The Post with canceled checks or full names of recipients. Instead, he handed out a sheet of paper listing a total of $ 20,950 distributed to 34 students by first name in 2016. It indicated $ 5,250 for 13 students identified by first name for 2017.

But the sheet of paper was not part of the federal income tax return and the totals were not included in the return. The leaders refused to answer The Post's questions about these inconsistencies.

Donors are not satisfied with the endangered student grants.

"Money raised for child bursaries should be used for scholarships," said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, who sponsored the group's events.

Corporate sponsors and unions, including AT & T, Verizon, ConEd and the United New York State Teachers, pay up to $ 50,000 for a "Plantinum Package" for the weekend. It includes tickets for workshops and speeches, but also cocktails and concerts where they rub elbows with Albany's political elite.

The weekend ends with a lavish dinner meant to raise funds for scholarships for minority youth.

"I just signed the checks they allow me to sign," said Gary Pretlow, treasurer of the Westchester assembly, who had long been treasurer of the organization, when asked about Missing scholarships. "We have a lot of bills associated with events."

While students had no scholarships in the last two fiscal years, the group spent $ 1,058,973 on expenses.

During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, he spent a total of $ 518,222, including $ 283,526 for fundraising, $ 100,750 for "management", $ 39,639 for office expenses. , according to his latest filing at the IRS, that the group's president, Brooklyn, wife of the legislature, Latrice Walker, made available to The Post last week as a result of multiple requests.

Walker became president of the organization in October 2017, succeeding Michele Titus, wife of the Queens Assembly, who led the group between 2015 and 2017.

A spokeswoman for Walker, who is running for Public Advocate, said she had already "eliminated unnecessary expenses and cut expenses" within the nonprofit. She also hired a new executive director and asked the group to submit to annual audits, the spokeswoman said.

After The Post exposes last week, the Attorney General of the State Letitia James said that she was "troubled" by the results.

Other reports by Anthony Izaguirre and Carl Campanile