At 11am this morning, the State Senator representing the Jamaica, Queens area called an emergency press conference at her home in the neighborhood. There, Shirley L. Huntley told the crowd that she expects to be arrested on Monday. Although she did not make clear what the charges against her would be, the Senator has found herself embroiled in a scandal involving the non-profit group she started way back in 2006 called The Parent Workshop, Inc.
The group’s main goal is to help parents through the largest metropolitan public school system in the country. But Attorney General Eric Schneidermann thinks another alternative
motive was underway: two officials at The Parent Workshop, Inc. were charged with grand larceny of $29,950 for work they never did.
The money is known as a pork-barrel grant – since 1999, New York State has issued these enormous sums of money known as ‘member items.’ This includes non-profits that state officials start and others as well.
Since then, $900 million has been doled out – who says the State is broke?
In the session between 2008 and 2009, Huntley designated a ton of money towards her own group from the State; money that has become the target of the Attorney General as well as Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The people charged with grand larceny happen to be a staff member and another that shared her home in Jamaica, Queens.
As Attorney General, now-Governor Andrew Cuomo was the first to be suspicious of this siphoning of millions to civic groups. Schneidermann continued his legacy after obtaining the office and, in the first probe, Huntley was not convicted of any wrongdoing. Since then, she has denied any knowledge or involvement in the scandal.
However, the press conference this morning indicates that maybe that denial is not what actually happened. If arrested, it is assumed that the Attorney General’s office has found evidence that links Huntley (in)directly to the grand larceny charges.
The Voice has reached out to Huntley’s office for comment on the situation but no response has be given yet. We will keep you updated.