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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Charity Run by Black Lawmakers Reportedly Didn’t Give Out a Single Scholarship

New York Black Lawmakers Scholarship Fund

Albany, NY — Several Black lawmakers in the state of New York are under fire after it has been discovered that the charity they run reportedly did not give out any scholarships, despite significant fundraising from 2015 to 2016. They apparently used the money on lavish parties, food, and limousines instead.

The New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, whose mission is to empower “African American and Latino youth through education and leadership initiatives” by “providing opportunity to higher education,” allegedly didn’t provide any scholarship assistance to anyone in two years.

According to the New York Post, the charity collects money from companies such as AT&T, the Real Estate Board of New York, Time Warner Cable and CableVision. They promote it by saying that they are “changing lives, one scholarship at a time” through their website that is no longer working.

Mostly, the nonprofit holds a party called “Caucus Weekend” where attendees are charged up to $50,000 to join the party that often features appearances by Grammy Award-winning artists and speakers such as Jesse Jackson and Hillary Clinton. But reliable sources state that no funds were used for scholarships, it was rather spent on rap music, food, and limousines.

Its chairman, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker from Brooklyn, claimed that she doesn’t have any knowledge on the matter. The second-ranking member of the group, state Sen. Leroy Comrie from Queens, didn’t provide any comment about it either.

The group’s treasurer, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow from Westchester, claimed to have no idea how the money was spent. He said, “I just sign the checks they give me.”

The charity, which was established in 1985, has previously said that they would double the number of scholarships they will provide.  But according to the last publicly available 990 form with the IRS, they spend nothing on scholarships in the 2015-2016 fiscal year despite raising $513,819.

Last year, the charity reportedly took in $564,677 but handed out only $35,745 in scholarships. That same year, they spent $85,000 on a concert with Eric Benet and Regina Belle and $157,000 on food.

Incoming state Attorney General Letitia James was “troubled” upon knowing the issue. According to her spokesperson, “As Attorney General, she will pursue the facts of any allegation wherever they may lead.”