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Federal investigators are scrutinizing millions in taxpayer dollars that Rep.
Gregory Meeks steered to a Queens nonprofit.
The US Attorney’s Office recently issued a subpoena to the Greater Jamaica
Development Corp. seeking information on federal funding secured by Meeks, a
government source told The Post.
Fred Winters, a spokesman for Greater Jamaica, confirmed
that the organization had received a subpoena and said it was not the target of
the federal investigation. He refused to say who was.
Greater Jamaica has been a funding favorite of Meeks. His political mentor,
the Rev. Floyd Flake, sits on the board.
Carlisle Towery, the president of Greater Jamaica, kicked in $1,000 in June
to Meeks’ re-election campaign.
The Queens Democrat has arranged for numerous grants
to the organization, including $9.2 million from the Federal Transit
Administration to fix up a decrepit underpass below the Long Island Rail Road
tracks and create a shopping arcade there.
Another $8.2 million in federal money is to go toward an extension of
The long-delayed underpass project was finally completed this spring, and
Meeks appeared at a “lighting ceremony” with other officials to symbolically
open the dark underpass. But the row of four newly built storefronts — a total
of 5,500 square feet of space — sits empty.
Winters refused to answer questions about potential tenants.
Meeks also helped get $21 million in tax credits
to create a complex of housing, retail shops and a hotel near the Jamaica LIRR
station and JFK AirTrain stop. A deal with a hotel developer to build on the
site fell through. The city’s Economic Development Corp. just sent out a request
for development proposals for the land.
On Friday — days after Post inquiries about the project — Greater Jamaica
issued a request for proposals (RFP) to develop a nearby building on Sutphin
Boulevard that it purchased in 2004 with $2.7 million in taxpayer money from the
The building was once envisioned as a corporate headquarters for JetBlue
Airways Corp. or other companies but now serves only as an occasional meeting
space for Greater Jamaica. The PA was supposed to get its money back or take
over the building if no development happened by 2008.
After a Post exposé in January, the PA demanded Greater Jamaica look for a
developer or it would take the building by Aug. 20.
A PA spokeswoman said the agency was “disappointed” with Greater Jamaica’s
progress and urged it to “expeditiously review the RFP responses and select a
developer committed to developing this property and creating jobs.”
A spokeswoman for Meeks refused comment.
Meeks has long been the target of federal investigators. They began looking
into him in 2010 after The Post reported his relationship with the New Direction
Local Development Corp., a Queens charity he helped to found. The Post revealed
that the group collected thousands of dollars for Hurricane Katrina victims and
almost none of it made it to the victims.
The House Ethics Committee has an ongoing probe into Meeks over a $40,000
payment he received in 2007 from Queens businessman Edul Ahmad. Meeks didn’t
report the payment on his yearly financial disclosure form. Ahmad was arrested
in 2011 in connection with a $50 million mortgage
fraud scheme. Additional reporting by Alex Freeman firstname.lastname@example.org