NEW YORK (WPIX)—A physical therapist in Laurelton, Queens told PIX Investigates he doesn't know the new address for a non-profit that he helped found ten years ago -- a group now under scrutiny by federal prosecutors, because of all the financial help it's received from two, powerful Queens politicians.
Michael Flowers, who acknowledged that he helped launch the New Direction Local Development Corporation in 2000, told PIX Investigates, "I was a founding member, that's it. I never was voted onto the Board. I've never been to their board meetings. I have nothing to do with New Direction."
Flowers' mother, Joan, serves as counsel to state Senator, Malcolm Smith--a position that pays a state salary of $145,000 a year. She helped incorporate the New Direction Local Development Corporation--and the group's address was listed at the same address as her law office. It's the same building where her son runs a physical therapy facility. Joan Flowers also served as campaign treasurer for U.S. Congressman Gregory Meeks, who has helped raise thousands of dollars for New Direction.
Federal prosecutors reportedly issued a subpoena to the office of state Senator, Malcolm Smith, last month, seeking all records that relate to money he gave to community groups in the last ten years. Smith's spokesman told PIX tonight, "The Senator has never had any involvement in the management or 'day to day' operations of that organization."
Right now, there's no state law that stops a state legislator from giving funding to groups that have a family member or friend working there. Dick Dadey, director of the privately-funded Citizens Union, told PIX INVESTIGATES: "What we need to have is for those relationships to be disclosed."