This is one of the oldest scams in the book.
Minority legislators and their umbrella groups claim to raise money from corporations for scholarships. And the scholarships either never materialize or are ridiculously abused. It's a commonplace problem in the Congressional Black Caucus.
Rep. Corrine Brown was sentenced to 5 years in prison in 2017 for mail fraud and various other forms of fraud after running a fake charity that stole money meant to provide scholarships for minority students.
CBC members often set up educational non-profits, into which corporate donors pour money, but the only people who benefit are their friends, their family members and their own bank accounts. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson never went to jail, but Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarships that each member is supposed to distribute to needy district members instead went to her grandsons.
Rep. Frank Ballance did go to jail. In 2005, he was sentenced to 4 years in prison for that CBC standby, mail fraud and money laundering relating to theft of funds from an educational non-profit, run by him.
This story is about New York though.
A nonprofit run by state lawmakers to raise scholarship money for needy minority students spends most of the cash on its lavish annual soiree — including $6,000 on limos — and gave out no grants the last two years, The Post has learned.
The New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators organizes a “Caucus Weekend” — a series of workshops, concerts and parties — in Albany every February for minority members of the Assembly and the Senate.
The group charges sponsors up to $50,000 for a chance to party with lawmakers at events that have included Grammy Award-winning rappers and high-profile speakers such as Hillary Clinton and Jesse Jackson.
The Presidents Day weekend bash is capped off with a swanky black-tie Scholarship Gala where participants are reminded that they are “changing lives, one scholarship at a time,” according to the group’s Web site and literature.
But in the last two years there has been no cash for scholarships, according to two sources — a former lawmaker, and a community organizer who has relied on the money for needy students since just after the group was founded in 1985.
Federal tax filings confirm that in the 2015-16 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, 2016, the group gave out no educational grants — despite raking in contributions totaling more than $500,000.
And you know where that money is coming from.
The nonprofit charges sponsors like unions, lobbying firms and corporations up to $50,000 for a “Platinum Package” which includes tickets to workshops on expanding access to government contracts for minority and women-owned businesses, on gun violence, and parties where participants can rub elbows with lawmakers and “ a large community of advocates.”
And you know where it's going.
The group failed to furnish The Post with the subsequent year’s tax filings — October 2016 to September 2017 — despite a federal law requiring it to do so.
The group had its charitable status temporarily revoked in 2011 by the IRS after it failed to file tax returns for three consecutive years, according to federal tax documents.
When asked why the group had not given out any money to students in either year — even though scholarships are the heart of its stated mission — the lawmakers who manage the nonprofit refused to answer. The group is chaired by a president who serves a two-year term.
Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, a Brooklyn Democrat, the current chair of the nonprofit’s board, who is campaigning to be the city’s public advocate, said through a spokesman that she “does not have any knowledge of the matter.”
New York's new AG will ignore this to focus on Trump's family businesses. And will be cheered by the fake news media for fighting corruption.