Wednesday, June 26, 2013

N.Y. Council Ignores Charity's Past And Gives It Tons Of Money

by Gary Snyder


The Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, a nonprofit founded by former New York Assemblyman, Vito Lopez, received $421,964 in discretionary funds from the New York City Council 

The funds were awarded despite previous accusations of mismanagement at the nonprofit and despite Lopez’s departure from office in May because of accusations of sexually harassing staff members.

Eight former Lopez staffers, all young women, described his lurid behavior to state investigators. Some were forced to massage his body. The cancer-stricken Lopez allegedly rubbed the thighs of others — and even forced one woman to feel his tumors. 

Some of the alleged acts took place during car trips to and from Albany, Long Island and Atlantic City, which might explain why a special prosecutor left open the possibility that crimes were committed outside of Brooklyn.


In addition, Christiana Fisher, the former $782,000 chief executive of the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of criminal contempt and faces up to six months in prison. Ms. Fisher acknowledged allowing the Brooklyn charity to give a grand jury inaccurate documents that purported to show the council’s board had approved a hefty increase in her pay. She had been involved with the organization since shortly after its incorporation in 1976 by state Assemblyman Vito Lopez but was forced out of her executive position earlier this year.


Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics, Newsweek.com, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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