State Sen. Shirley Huntley desperately tried to cover up the theft of $30,000 in taxpayer money from her “sham” nonprofit as a grand-jury probe bore down on her, sources claimed and documents indicated yesterday.
The Queens Democrat last year handwrote a “false, backdated letter designed to fool investigators” into believing her Parent Workshop charity conducted seminars that never actually occurred, authorities said.
The $29,950 that was supposed to go to the workshops was instead pocketed by Huntley’s niece, Lynn Smith — the charity’s treasurer — and the group’s president, Patricia Savage, authorities said.
The taxpayer funds were delivered to the Nassau County-based charity as “member items,” which the Legislature appropriated at Huntley’s request.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman began building the case against Huntley, 74, after The Post exposed her do-nothing nonprofit in 2011.
“We are going to make sure every taxpayer dollar goes to the purpose [for] which it’s intended . . . and the sham nonprofits are put out of business as quickly as possible,” Schneiderman said yesterday.
Smith, Savage and David Gantt — a purported charity consultant who allegedly submitted fake invoices for the workshops never conducted — were charged in December for what authorities call the underlying scam.
Also charged in December with doctoring documents was Roger Scotland, president of the Southern Queens Park Association.
The indictments led at least one co-defendant to cooperate with investigators, sources said.
Yesterday’s indictment added Huntley, charged with conspiracy, tampering with physical evidence and falsifying business records.
Those falsified records, according to the indictment, included:
* One handwritten letter Huntley wrote to Savage allegedly from a group called the Southern Queens Park Association, which supposedly hosted the charity’s workshops.
* Four documents from Gantt and another “consultant” claiming to have received payments for their work.
* Twelve fake fliers advertising the nonexistent seminars.
* Six false testimonial letters from people who said they attended those sessions.
Huntley could face four to 12 years in prison if convicted on all charges, which would trigger her automatic removal from her $79,500-a-year job.
She joins a number of fellow Albany Democrats who are in hot water.
In the past week, three agencies announced they were investigating Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera for putting her lovers on the public payroll, and a state ethics panel charged Assemblyman Vito Lopez with sexually harassing female aides.
Earlier this year, former state Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. was convicted of looting his Bronx nonprofit, and Brooklyn state Sen. Carl Kruger got seven years in prison for bribery.
Legislative leaders yesterday stripped Huntley of her position as the ranking Democrat on the mental-health committee — she’ll lose her $9,000 stipend.
Huntley, who is being challenged in the Sept. 13 primary by Councilman James Sanders Jr. and Gian Jones, vowed to fight the charges.
“It’s a great day!” she bizarrely bizarrely exclaimed outside Nassau County Criminal Court, as she joined the ranks of several Democrats who have recently been arrested, been convicted, or come under investigation.
This note, scrawled by Huntley, was “a template for the falsified letter from the Southern Queens Park Association,” prosecutors say. The group allegedly hosted tax-funded workshops, organized by Huntley’s charity, that never happened.
The addressee is Pat Savage, the charity’s president, who allegedly delivered it to a third party on Huntley’s behalf.
The dates refer to the period when the charity was supposed to be using the association’s facilities for tax-funded sessions that prosecutors said did not happen.
Source: The NY Post