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State Senate President Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) may represent Queens, but nearly 70 percent of the $5.7 million in funding he doled out to nonprofits last year was given to organizations not based in the borough, according to a New York good government group.
The largest beneficiary of the pool of money Smith controlled in 2009, known as member items, was the Manhattan-based Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, which received $500,000 from the senator, based on data compiled by the New York Public Interest Research Group.
Smith was allocated $5.7 million in member item funding, $3.9 million of which went to organizations with offices outside the borough.
Smith was elected minority leader of the Senate by his colleagues in 2007 and rose to majority leader in 2009. He later became president of the Senate later that year following a coup led by dissident Democratic senators.
Smith’s district includes Jamaica, South Jamaica, St. Albans, Cambria Heights, Laurelton, Rosedale, Hollis, Queens Village and the Rockaways.
Out of 103 organizations Smith gave money to, 43 had a mailing address outside of Queens.
Of those 43, 30 had a Manhattan mailing address, four had a Nassau County address, two were based in Albany, another two were from Brooklyn and one apiece were based in the Bronx, Monroe County, Erie County, Orange County and Westchester County.
But it appears some of the money sent to organizations with a Manhattan address made its way to Smith’s district in southeast Queens, according to Bill Mahoney of NYPIRG, a good government group that provided a list of Smith’s member items to TimesLedger Newspapers.
For instance, The United Black Men of Queens County, which received $20,000 from Smith to tutor and mentor youth in Jamaica, has a Freeport, L.I., mailing address.
The Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School in the Rockaways was given $100,000 by Smith, but has a Manhattan mailing address.
One Manhattan-based organization, the Consortium for Worker Education, received $54,000 for mortgage foreclosure prevention in southeast Queens.
A nonprofit called New York Cares, St. Albans, which received $50,000 from Smith “to meet pressing community needs by mobilizing caring New Yorkers in volunteer service,” has a Manhattan mailing address.
Of the nearly $1.8 million Smith gave to nonprofits based in Queens, he gave the most — $275,000 — to the Jamaica Business Resource Center for “technical and financial assistance to new and established small, minority and women-owned business.”
Both the Queens district attorney’s office and the Rockaway Artists Alliance received $200,000 from Smith — tied for the second-highest amount of money given to borough organizations.
The money given to the DA’s office was “to support and enhance the investigation and prosecution of emerging crime patterns in Queens County, with a focus on aggressive prosecution of index crimes, including career criminal matters, firearms-related offenses, gang violence and other violent crime.”
The Rockaway Artists Alliance money was given “to fund financial assistance to have the ability to provide cultural resources to the community.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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