ueens lawmaker Shirley Huntley was indicted Monday in connection with fraud, accused of helping funnel taxpayer money into a sham charity.
State Senator Huntley founded the charity Parent Workshop, Inc., whose stated mission is to help poor parents navigate New York City schools, The New York Times reports. But prosecutors say that when her aide and her niece allegedly stole $30,000 from Parent Workshop, Inc., Huntley helped cover it up by tampering with evidence and falsifying business records. Her aide and her niece are also facing charges.
The 74-year-old Huntley announced that her arrest was imminent at a press conference in Queens on Saturday, prompting supporters to question investigators’ motives, according to the Examiner. She is vying to win the Democratic primary in her district September 13.
Leroy Gadsden, President Jamaica Branch NAACP, said “I give her the benefit of the doubt because of what we know about her. Her character of what I have seen over the past decades has not been one of criminal behavior.”
At a press conference Monday, prosecutors presented what they believe is a smoking gun — a document they say Huntley hand wrote to guide her staff in the counterfeiting of records to help cover up Parent Workshop, Inc.’s alleged misuse of money.
Huntley’s opponent in the Democratic primary is NYC City Councilman James Saunders, Jr. Sanders issued a statement saying, in part: “In America a person is innocent until proven guilty … However, a culture of corruption has pervaded our state government in Albany. Never before has it been as important to elect people of good character.”