The more we learn about the City Council's distribution of millions of dollars to community-based organizations, the worse it gets. At best, no one was paying attention to how the taxpayer funds were being used.
An example of the mess found beneath the rug in the City Council chambers is the $400,000 that City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-East Elmhurst) reportedly directed to a Corona organization known as LIBRE. The name stands for the Latino Initiative for Better Resources and Empowerment Inc. It offers a variety of worthwhile services to the local community, but has failed to fill out a tax return for the last two years and register with the state as a nonprofit organization.
LIBRE is run by some of Monserrate's top aides. The New York Times reported that the organization had unpaid bills and sloppy bookkeeping.
We have respect for the councilman and the work he has done in his community. The problem is not Monserrate, but rather a system that allowed city agencies to distribute millions of dollars without any effort to make certain that the money was used as intended.
The system must be overhauled with reasonable safeguards put in place. That said, we believe the Council members should retain some say in how this money is disbursed in their communities.
©2008 Community News Group
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