Friday, December 14, 2012

State Connection Examined In Nonprofit Probe

A federal and state investigation into an Albany, N.Y.-based nonprofit turned its attention to the state level, as investigators examined the circumstances that led to a former assemblyman from Brooklyn being added to the organization's payroll.

According to a report in The Albany Times Union, details emerged Thursday that investigators were looking into how former Brooklyn assemblyman William F. Boyland Sr., came to be on the payroll of the Altamont Program, the parent organization of Father Peter Young's network of services for the homeless. The date of Boyland Sr.'s addition to the organization came shortly after he and his son, William Boyland Jr., arranged grants to the organization. The grants, known as member items, totaled at least $1.2 million over four years beginning in 2006.

That wasn't the only grant Boyland Sr., helped procure for the Altamont Program. He and Assemblyman Speaker Sheldon Silver secured a $300,000 community project grant for the organization in 2004. After he left office in 2006 his son, Boyland Jr., secured three successive legislative grants from 2006 to 2009. Those funds were managed by the state's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, according to records.

The Altamon Program was originally under investigation for allegations that Dennis Bassat, a director at one of the Program's offices in Troy, embezzled funds and misused its credit card. There are also questions about the nonprofit's use of its grant funding and payroll expenditures.

Bassat was fired two years ago after officials at the Troy location discovered he had allegedly issued checks from a business account to fake employees and then took the money for himself. Officials said the checks were written in amounts of less than $600 to avoid detection.

The investigation expanded into the Boylands' role in the organization on Thursday, when state investigators and FBI agents obtained a search warrant for the Troy offices. Financial records were seized by investigators, and employees were questioned. A source told The Times Union that one employee at the organization questioned exactly what Boyland did and whether he was provided with a credit card.

You can read the full story in The Times Union.

No comments: