Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Erik Dilan

Brooklyn Pol Put $187G of Your Dough into Wife's Nonprofit


Jannitza Luna, district leader for the Brooklyn Democrats, was on husband Erik Dilan's staff before she started running North Brooklyn Community Council, whose office (above) is on Wilson Ave.

Brooklyn city councilman Erik Dilan has funneled more than $180,000 in taxpayer money into a small nonprofit run by his wife, the Daily News has learned.

Dilan (D-Brooklyn) was sole sponsor of "discretionary" city funds for the North Brooklyn Community Council, a nonprofit that started out organizing youth football and has expanded almost entirely with government money.

His wife, Jannitza Luna, has been executive director of the group since at least 2005, tax records show.

She was on Dilan's staff before she began running the nonprofit, and she is a district leader for the Brooklyn Democrats.

Each City Councilmember gets a pot of "discretionary" money to use for pet projects in their districts. Potential misuse of these funds is at the heart of an ongoing probe by the city Department of Investigation and the Manhattan U.S. attorney.

Two aides to City Councilman Kendall Stewart (D-Brooklyn) have been charged with embezzling $145,000 from a nonprofit supported with "discretionary" funds. Stewart has not been charged and denies wrongdoing.

The News also disclosed that City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo (D-Bronx) sponsored $80,000 in member items for a Bronx nonprofit that employed her sister and a nephew.

In an interview with The News, Dilan said he disclosed the conflict to the City Council and that no one objected, although a letter sent to the Conflicts of Interest Board obscures details of the arrangement.

At least three times in the past three years, Dilan sponsored member items for the North Brooklyn Community Council totaling $187,500. The amounts grew each year, from $30,000 to $57,500 to $100,000.

He was engaged to Luna sometime in 2006 and they got married in March 2007, he said. During that time, she was listed on the group's tax forms as the only salaried employee.

On the latest tax form filed, 2006, she claims a salary of $45,000. The group also paid $34,658 to unnamed "consultants."

On Friday, at the group's small storefront office in Bushwick, a receptionist told a reporter she would give Luna his number. Luna did not return the call.

In its last filing, the group claimed it organized youth sports teams. In an interview, Dilan said the group, which first reported income in 2004, is now doing less sports and more of what he called "immigrant services."

Each year, at least 90% of its funds come from either city or state taxpayers. Brooklyn Democratic leader and Assemblyman Vito Lopez sponsored a $50,000 state "member item" for the group last year, records show.

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