mafia political dynasty has a penchant for making the news but rarely is it for something good. In some ways they remind me of the late mobster John Gotti who was infamously known as “the Teflon Don” because of the many charges that failed to stick before he was finally found guilty and sentenced.
Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo and her daughter, Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo who is up for reelection in the 17 city council district have had their fair share of investigations on their corrupt dealings only to have had the elder’s grandson take the fall for their siphoning of money to their family non profit.
Like a cancerous tumor they slowly help destroy the very communities they are elected to serve. With all the monies flowing into their districts why are we still the poorest congressional district in the nation? Where are the much needed programs for our communities?
I often hear people say they support this government official or that one because they supported a bill that they felt was important to their cause yet they KNOWINGLY turn a blind eye to the irrefutable corruption before their eyes.
Here are two pieces on just how corrupt they both are.
Via NY Daily News:
Ethically tainted Bronx Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo claims she won $28K — at a casino
After filing that she had no outside income, suddenly Arroyo reports $28,000. She claims ‘casino gambling’ as the source.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN Carmen Arroyo is either the luckiest woman in the Bronx or a very poor liar.
The legislator is claiming to have won almost $30,000 “casino gambling,” according to paperwork she filed with the State Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
Arroyo (D-Mott Haven) declared no outside earnings in 2012 when she handed in her annual statement of financial disclosures on May 15 — but a month later she sent in an amended form claiming a staggering $28,467 in earnings that she asserts came from gambling.
The lucky legislator will have to show receipts for the surprise windfall if the commission decides to investigate further.
It’s not impossible, given the finances of the Puerto Rican-born pol and her family have been questioned in the past.
Arroyo’s grandson, and former chief-of-staff, Ricardo Izquierdo Arroyo, spent 10 months in prison for embezzling $115,000 from a nonprofit that the pol founded and funded with taxpayer money.
City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, the assemblywoman’s daughter, has been investigated, but never formally charged, for ushering city funds into the South Bronx Community Corporation, a non-profit that employs her relatives.
She was also exposed for paying her husband as a “consultant” on her campaign payroll last year. He received more than $20,000 in privately donated funds.
Although not illegal, it “just doesn’t smell right,” Dick Dadey, of government watchdog group Citizens Union, told the News. “It smacks of inappropriate nepotism.”
The elder Arroyo had plenty of time to hit the slots this year, having only sponsored two bills in Albany since June of 2011.
“(The casino win) is very unusual, and the authorities will want to know why she filed late,” Democratic strategist Hank Scheinkopf said. “But if you go to gamble, you may want to have her with you.”
State legislators were also required to list affiliations with political groups in the financial disclosure forms.
But Arroyo failed to mention that she is a member of the Bronx Democratic County Committee and the New Horizons Democratic Club.
New Horizons was listed as as one of the top 20 political clubs in the city with unreported finances, according to Citizens Union.
Arroyo did not respond to requests for comment about her luck at the tables.
Council Watch: Nonprofiteers
We each have a favorite charity, one that reflects the causes or beliefs most dear to us. But politicians have come up with all sorts of off-label uses for nonprofit groups. They can be used to gussy up a thin résumé, as a machine for gaining and maintaining political power, or even as a source of funds when personal bank accounts run low.If you happen to be the Speaker of the City Council, shadow nonprofits can also be a great instrument to stow away millions of dollars for later distribution to favored groups.
The list of local politicians who have gone to prison because they looted or exploited nonprofit groups (a.k.a. “community based organizations”) is only a subset of New York’s roster of corrupt officials. Larry Seabrook, Miguel Martinez, Hiram Monserrate, Shirley Huntley, Pedro Espada (père et fils) … and that’s just off the top of my head. The aforementioned list also doesn’t include the many relatives and staff members of electeds who were involved in shady nonprofits, who may have taken a tumble in their boss’s stead.
In this first City Council Watch column for City & State, we examine some of the relationships between nonprofits and the New York City Council members and candidates whose political fortunes are entwined with them.
Bronx Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo has a long tangled history with the South Bronx Community Corporation, which her mother, Carmen Arroyo, ran, started in 1978. Over the years the SBCC received millions of dollars in grants to provide social services, and later became a developer of housing units for elderly and lower-income people using federal housing grants. It also became a base of operations and a source of local power for the Arroyo family: Carmen Arroyo was elected to the Assembly in 1994, and Maria del Carmen Arroyo, who under her married name, Maria Aguirre, took over the directorship of the organization from her mother, was elected to the Council in 2005. Oddly, the councilwoman cites her time as executive director of SBCC as a “volunteer” position on her official Council Web page, though IRS documents clearly show she was salaried.
Keeping the nonprofit in the family, Carmen Arroyo’s grandson Richard Izquierdo took over the SBCC as president and ended up draining more than $100,000 from its coffers, spending the money on lavish dinners, clothes and plane tickets for his councilwoman aunt and assemblywoman grandmother. He and SBCC Executive Director Margarita Villegas, a friend and campaign treasurer for del Carmen Arroyo, subsequently pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges and went to prison in 2010. Izquierdo’s elected relatives managed to avoid prosecution.
After his release from prison, Izquierdo was hired by another Bronx nonprofit, the Neighborhood Association for Inter-Cultural Affairs, headed by longtime family associate Eduardo LaGuerre, to which Councilwoman Arroyo had previously tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to steer a juicy housing contract.
In April 2013, 15 employees of the Puerto Rican Family Institute, which receives discretionary funding from Arroyo, made small contributions to her. Two PRFI employees independently confirmed to this columnist that they made these contributions at a “lunch meeting” at their Bronx office. One of them believed that Arroyo had been at the meeting; the other one wasn’t sure. By law, campaign fundraising cannot take place at nonprofits receiving city funding, and no intermediaries have filed on the councilwoman’s behalf.
For more articles on Maria del Carmen Arroyo check out an earlier entry we made:
WHY WE NEED A NEW LEADER FOR CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 17 IN THE SOUTH BRONX