There’s a small fish on the hook for nefarious and questionable deeds in the politically motivated non-profit world. And, while not near the level of the Clinton Foundation now under scrutiny for pay-to-play and other crimes, it is indicative of the mindset of Democrats who seek to enrich only themselves and amass power and public prestige.
The Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators (ABPRL), a non-profit charity formed in 1985 whose mission is to “empower African American and Latino youth through education,” has not offered up one stinking scholarship for several years.
They have, however, secured financial assistance from AT&T, the Real Estate Board of New York, and Time Warner Cable and Cablevision to host their star-studded signature event, held every President’s Day weekend, to raise money for the organization.
Oh, did I mention the group is the nonprofit arm of the state Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus?
Follow the Money
The newshounds at Times Union, a paper in Albany, New York, were responsible for sniffing out the first clue in 2017 indicating the ABPRL was reneging on their mission to boost promising young people of color out of future mediocrity through educational scholarships.
The New York Post then picked up the trail and discovered the supposed charity spent their money throwing lavish parties, renting limousines, feasting on fabulous foods, and hiring rap musicians to get their groove on.
In 2018 alone, $500,000 was used for their own selfish, showy purposes: not as they claim in fundraising request packages, for “changing lives, one scholarship at a time.”
The last time financial aid in the form of educational scholarships is listed on IRS 999 documents (2014-2015) shows the charity allocating $35,745 of its $564,677 – a paltry 6%. It also highlights where their interests lay — $85,000 for a concert with R&B entertainer Eric Benet and aging pop star Regina Belle and $157,000 on food – for private, non-young people-oriented parties.
And they do play a mean game of hide the sausage.
The Times Union report highlighted a statement in the 2015 retreat program from then-Chairwoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes — an Assembly member from Buffalo – who brazenly pledged, “we intend to double the amount of scholarship funds given to students in their respective districts.”
In hindsight, doubling their generosity using no effort and zero dollars was an easy promise to fulfill, and as the calendar paged past the last day of December 2018, the group had not complied with numerous requests for the organizations most recent tax filings and had taken down their webpage.
That’s not suspicious at all.
Hmm, How to Spin This
The widely accepted rule of thumb for charitable organizations is that groups should spend at least one-third of contributions on their stated mission — clearly, ABPRL didn’t get that advisory memo.
But that shouldn’t surprise even the most jaded of folks who have been burnt by the flash of propaganda. In 2011 the IRS temporarily revoked their non-profit status for failure to file tax returns for three consecutive years. And they do play a mean game of hide the sausage.
Just as the Democrats are wont to do, when asked a potentially loaded question, such as “what’s up with the scholarships?” the party line is “I know nothing.”
Chairman Assemblywoman Latrice Walker of Brooklyn, elaborately addressed the subject through her spokesperson, who claimed her boss, “does not have any knowledge of the matter.”
The New York Post did their due diligence and attempted to contact State Senator Leroy Comrie, a Queens Democrat, and was summarily ignored. Queens Assemblywoman Michele Titus, former chairwoman in 2015-2016 refused media requests as well. In almost everyone associated with the organization in any official capacity could be bothered to comment.
But the biggest red flag comes from the group’s treasurer, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow of Westchester, when pressed about the goings on inside the inner workings of the charity, he dropped back 20 and punted, “I just sign the checks they give me.”
Pretlow did admit, “Money comes from the events and we have a lot of bills associated with the events.”
How does anyone clamoring to donate money for noble causes feel secure with this bunch?Eric Benet
Liberty Nation would love the chance to ask a few pertinent questions, but phone calls remain unanswered and their website is offline. One can attend their upcoming ostentatious conference for a few shekels. It’s at the Hilton in Albany – just a few short weeks away — and with the right donation, your name will appear in the Scholarship Journal with a front row viewing as to how they frivolously spend the underprivileged (of color) New York children’s money.
Imagine: Wannabe players can hobnob with the likes of past conference entertainers Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick, or Grammy-winning rapper Big Daddy Kane, politicians such as Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. Heady stuff.
But what would one expect from Democrats? It’s time to shut these criminals down and file charges.