The state’s top lawman is keeping his eye on Borough President Markowitz’s Hurricane Sandy relief fund.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has requested a full financial disclosure from the Brooklyn Recovery Fund — which Markowitz co-founded with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Brooklyn Community Foundation to help rebuild storm-slammed neighborhoods — along with 74 other groups raising money for relief, including the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the Red Cross, and Acupuncturists Without Borders.
“In light of the importance of the recovery efforts, and the enormous amount of money raised in such a short period of time, it is critical that donors know where their money is going, and that funds are spent responsibly,” said Schneiderman, who is not only looking for how much money has been raised, but where the money is going. Schneiderman also wants to know what the charities are going to do with the extra funds. “In the name of transparency and accountability, we must ensure that funds raised for Hurricane Sandy relief are used for that purpose.”
Brooklyn Recovery Fund officials said there’s nothing wrong with their books, and is happy to cooperate with Schneiderman’s office.
“What we’ve seen from past crises is that there are always some organizations that seek to take advantage of the situation, so I think it’s an appropriate thing for the attorney general to look into,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation president Marilyn Gelber, who’s managing the Recovery Fund — and who said that 100 percent of the money raised would go toward repair efforts in Brooklyn.
Gelber added that her group has already raised $1.5 million, and has awarded $250,000 in grants to non-profit groups rebuilding Sandy-ravaged Coney Island, Seagate, Red Hook, and Gerritsen Beach.
“This is Brooklyn, we move fast,” said Gelber, noting that her group only supplies the money to non-profits. “We’re not a direct service organization like the Red Cross.”