The New York State Office of the Attorney General (OAG) announced today that it has ended its investigation into the West Harlem Local Development Corporation (WHLDC), finding “no theft, fraud or other misappropriation of charitable assets by the organization, its directors or officers.” The Office of Attorney General noted that the WHLDC cooperated during the investigation. The OAG also noted in the investigation that WHLDC hired an executive director who has opened an office, created a website and established a grant-making program.
WHLDC Board Chair Donald Notice noted that West Harlem’s elected officials with representatives on the board always believed this investigation would come to a positive conclusion and thanked them for their faith in the board.
WHLDC’s additional accomplishments since Executive Director Kofi Boateng arrived include hiring additional staff, streamlining the organization’s fiscal procedures and increasing transparency.
“I am committed to achieving the expectations of the Community Benefits Agreement and engaging organizations to achieve economic development solutions for West Harlem through collaborations. We shall continue to live by the tenets of communication, transparency, and accountability. The clarity of the end of the investigation by the OAG is a measure of confidence from which we cannot afford to falter,” Mr. Boateng said.
The organization also announced the launch of its grants program that will make awards to non-profit organizations to increase West Harlem’s quality of living by addressing needs in education, housing, arts and culture, transportation, environment, historic preservation, community facilities, and employment and economic development. A pre-grant application is posted on this website for grants that will be awarded in March 2013.
On December 3, 2012 WHLDC started community sector meetings to afford prospective grant applicants the chance to learn more about the grant application process. The first was with the Arts & Culture sector. It was a standing room-only meeting with more than 50 in attendance at the WHLDC office. Meetings with the Education, Environment and Workforce Development sectors were also held this month, and one more meeting will be held on Dec. 19.
On November 28, 2012, the West Harlem Development Corporation, which is expected to succeed the WHLDC, approved the addition of six new members with impressive resumes, community service and backgrounds reflecting Harlem’s diversity. The new WHDC Board members bring the current total to 13.
The names and biographies of the entire WHDC Board can be found on this website.