Monday, October 20, 2008

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

The NY Times did a reprise on the Hiram Monseratte not-for-profit story, and we're not sure why it deserved a second look. Frankly, there's really nothing new here; but if the Times really wants to have a more meaty story it should follow up on this aspect of the Hiram tale:

"In May, as part of a separate review, private auditors hired by the city’s Department of Youth and Community Development began examining how Libre spent grant money the agency gave it. The money had been directed to the group through Council earmarks secured by Mr. Monserrate. Based on the audit findings, the agency will now seek to recover Libre’s grant money, according to Ryan Dodge, an agency spokesman. He declined to say how that could be done with the group shut down. The audits were released by the city in response to a Freedom of Information request filed by The New York Times."

Well now, isn't this interesting? The vaunted and efficient Bloomberg administration, the one that New York desperately needs to be continued in office past its allotted time, can't seem to keep its money straight; in fact, the entire council slush fund scandal is really a scandal that belongs at the foot of the executive branch that never performed any adequate due diligence over any of these funds.

It's no wonder that the mayor rallied around the speaker last spring-it was sheer self interest and self preservation at work. Let's call this a joint venture. As the Times points out: "Mr. Monserrate, who is now running unopposed for the State Senate, referred questions about the accounting to his chief of staff, Julissa Ferreras, who was Libre’s chairwoman during the period examined by the audits.... He said he did not understand how the group got the money in the first place if it did not submit paperwork and receipts to the Youth and Community Development Department. “How would the agency pay out on any contract without paperwork being submitted?” he said. “That doesn’t sound right to me.”

And the Times ends with the following about the exploits of the Libre group: "Libre also received money through the Department for the Aging, again at the direction of Mr. Monserrate. In all, the councilman has allocated more than $420,000 to the group for operating expenses since 2004. Christopher Miller, a spokesman for the Department for the Aging, said the agency had not audited Libre. But given the findings by its sister agency, he said, it was reviewing its options."

When are we going to hear the editorial how long on the mayor's inefficiency; when we look at the auditing failures, and add them to the mayor's own slush fund activities around term limits, it's one hell of a commentary on all of the good government that's supposedly going on in this sainted administration.