- Last Updated: 5:52 AM, July 29, 2012
- Posted: 11:52 PM, July 28, 2012
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 Atlantic Avenue.
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 Port Authority.
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