Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Senator Malcolm Smith has been the subject of numerous Editorials Ive done for The Wave In the Past few weeks. In this episode, He's pictured here with Con Greg Meeks. Sen Smith is drawn here "milking" their Non Profit Cash Cow, "The New Direction Developement Corporation" I got this illo in just under deadline, because I had an difficult time drawing a believable looking cow! LOL! this is just another case of why it is SO important as an illustrator to be able to, quote, "DRAW ANYTHING". In a recent discussion with Fellow artist, Andere Jardine, he mentioned how if you asked the average artist to draw a "superhero action scene" they'd be able to draw it with ease, yet would be scratching their heads trying to render a man tying his shoes, or putting on his jacket. It's SO important to learn how to draw the "ordinary" and mundane things in life.
HERES THE EDITORIAL
All In The Political Family
It seems clear to us that the dual investigations centering on two of our local politicians, State Senator Malcolm Smith and Representative Gregory Meeks points out once again that non-profits should not be run by and for the benefit of politicians and their families. Take, for ex-ample, New Direction Local Development Corpo-ration. Founded in 2001 by the initiatives of Meeks and Smith, state papers show that Smith’s wife, Michelle, was a founding board member. Also on the initial board, papers show, was Cathy Green, the wife of Darryl Green, Smith’s former business partner. Green was convicted in 1999 of stealing $500,000 from city agencies and private firms that hired him as a consultant on affirmative action hiring practices. He was also a partner, along with former Congressman Floyd Flake, in the Aqueduct Enter-tainment Group, which was just awarded a $300 million “Racino” deal at the aging racetrack in Ozone Park. Flake, you will remember, was the political mentor of both Smith and Meeks. Records show that between 2001 and 2006 Smith helped funnel at least $56,000 to the char-ity through state earmarks. The largest chunk of money came to New Direction at the behest of Smith, $250,000 from the devel-oper of a cargo facility across Rockaway Turnpike from JFK Air-port. The deal to trade the right to build the facility in return for community development money was brokered by Smith, Meeks and City Councilman James Sanders Jr. Edwin Reed, who is listed as the treasurer of New Direction is also the head of the development arm of Flake’s church, the Greater Allen AME Church in Jamaica. Flake has become the power behind the scenes in Queens Democratic circles. His development group was recently given the keys to Aqueduct Racetrack to run a gambling Racino there. A week before Flake’s group got the nod, the min-ister was talking up Andrew Cuomo for governor. Shortly after the deal was made, Flake visited the governor in Albany and then declared that his mind was not made up and that he might back Paterson for a full term. Under the New Direction um-brella, Smith and Meeks started a charity for Katrina victims who had come to New York city. It collected some $30,000. It paid out less than $2,000. Now, federal investigators are looking for the missing money. They are also looking into New Direction and the connection between Meeks and Smith and the Aqueduct deal. Some non-profits that deserve a closer look are also closer to home. You’ll remember Democratic District Leader Geraldine Chapey’s Trinity Seniors organization. She ran a single van, providing rides for seniors to luncheons and events. For that, she took in more than $1.5 million in public money over a ten year period, both from city agencies and from local politicians who provided her with earmarked funds. Allow politicians to run their own non-profits, or to turn them over to family and cronies only provides the possibil-ity of corruption, and the practice should be stopped now.