Queens Members Supported Bogus Young Leaders Institute

Van Holmes’ arrest today should implicate four sitting Council members who have dealt with his bogus “Young Leaders Institute.”

Holmes, whose organization received most of its funding from former Sen. Shirley Huntley, is accused of having pocketed $77,000 out of $80,000 in recorded government disbursements.  The group’s early tax filings are filled out in a nearly illegible scrawl, and record Holmes’ annual compensation as $100,000.  No other officers or employees are listed.

The Young Leaders Institute also received substantial money from the City Council.  In 2011, Council Members Ruben Wills, Leroy Comrie, James Sanders and Mark Weprin gave a combined $40,000 to Holmes’ group.  Wills allocated $28,500 to the organization, by far his largest single discretionary grant that year.

Ruben Wills, another Huntley protégé, has his own problems with a fake non-profit group, New Yorkers 4 Life, which he established for seemingly the same purpose as the Young Leaders Institute: as a way to get government money for personal use.

In 2012, Wills’ discretionary funding was stripped from him and superintended by the head of the Queens Council delegation, Leroy Comrie, who together with Mark Weprin steered a mere $8,500 to the Young Leaders Institute.

Van Holmes has made campaign contributions to his benefactors on the Council.  Leroy Comrie received $440, Wills $200 and Donovan Richards $100.