The state attorney general is investigating a lawmaker-run charity — and wants to quiz a NYC judge — for repeatedly failing in its mission to give out scholarships to needy minority students.
The AG’s office recently issued subpoenas in its civil probe of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, a source with knowledge of the investigation told The Post.
Among those served last week was newly elected Civil Court Judge Michele Titus, a former Democratic Queens Assemblywoman who chaired the non-profit in 2016 and 2017.
Thompson & Co., a Brooklyn accounting firm that has worked on the charity’s federal tax filings in the past, confirmed it also received a subpoena requesting documents on the Albany-based non-profit.
The charity, established in 1985, was set up “to empower African American and Latino youth through education and youth leadership initiatives,” according to the majority of its public filings.
But its latest Dec. 31 filing, coming after multiple exposés of its scholarship malfeasance in The Post and Albany Times Union in the past few years, comes with a different mission statement, barely mentioning minority youth or education. Now it’s “dedicated to engaging New York State residents in dialogue” mostly at the workshops and forums the non-profit sponsors at its annual party.
The group typically spends the bulk of its donations to put on a “Caucus Weekend” — three days of workshops, cocktail parties and an annual gala dinner at various venues around Albany. This year a package of tickets for the 49th Annual Legislative Conference, which begins Feb. 14 and includes a craft fair and “Women’s Empowerment Brunch,” sells for $500.
At last year’s Gala Scholarship Dinner, which was attended by The Post, no grants were doled out to students.
The charity raised $751,448 for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2018, according to its latest available tax filing. It spent the bulk of that cash — $521,087 — on “issue-focused workshops,” according to the public filing.
None of that money was spent on scholarships, according to the document.
No scholarships were given out in fiscal years 2015-2016 or 2016-2017, according to filings The Post reviewed and reported on in 2018, despite the group spending six-figures on its annual gala.
Last month, Hank Sheinkopf, a spokesman for the group, told The Post that the charity had recently hired new auditors, and that it had given out tens of thousands of scholarships in the last three years. But the group would only provide first names of recipients or list them as “student.”
The charity, which is now helmed by Brooklyn Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, no longer features two of its longtime board members — former New York City Mayor David Dinkins and former state Comptroller Carl McCall.
“New board members were elected at the Association’s most recent annual board meeting,” said Sheinkopf, who refused to provide any further details. He said that the group had not received a subpoena from the Attorney General Letitia James’ office.
A spokeswoman for James refused comment. Titus did not return The Post’s calls seeking comment.