Last week, we reported on the subpoenas sent out by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to thirteen different gas providers in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The intention was simple: these providers, according to Schneiderman, were targeted for price-gouging consumers to profit off of the energy disaster that ensued after the storm. The move reflected the hostile reaction Governor Cuomo shared with the utility companies (LIPA, ConEd, etc.) at the time.
The story was the first major legal action to come out of Hurricane Sandy by a New York government official. However, yesterday, the AG announced another inquiry but, this time, the target is a much more surprising group: non-profits.
In a statement released to the press, Schneiderman’s office announced that it has sent out seventy-five letters to non-profit and charity organizations, asking for financial information and ledgers from the recovery efforts. By doing so, the action is not necessarily an indictment or subpoena – like what’s been previously seen with the gas providers – but could still shine a light on what could possibly (emphasis here – they’re just data requests) be going on behind closed doors.
In the requests, the Attorney General is looking for the following: “the amount raised and spent to date for Hurricane Sandy relief; whether donations will be used solely for Hurricane Sandy relief; the services provided to date to those affected by Hurricane Sandy; whether the charity is providing funding to other organizations, or making direct financial grants to individuals, families or businesses; and what the charity plans to do with any surplus funds.”
Once this information is obtained, it’ll be thrown up on the web (http://charitiesnys.com
) for the public’s viewing pleasure. Because those who donate to these charitable organizations always want to know how every single penny of theirs is spent.
However, Schneiderman is not forgetting the non-profits’ goals here: “Our office commends all of the charities, and their volunteers and donors, who have come to the assistance of New Yorkers after Hurricane Sandy.” But, of course, charity doesn’t remain above the law and, with Pedro Espada Jr. as a prime example
, non-profits veer off into corruption all too often.
They have until December 11th
to provide the data. And you can find out who ‘they’ (all 75 of them) are by reading the full statement here
Oh, and there’s always Schneiderman’s complaint with shady financial institutions like Credit Suisse
and J.P. Morgan Chase
. But that’s a whole other story.