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Corruption Chronicles

Lawmakers’ Charity Scams Taxpayers

Two New York politicians—a mother and daughter—took Caribbean trips and received campaign cash from a family-operated nonprofit that they each steered large amounts of taxpayer funds to. 

The Bronx Democrats, state Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo and her Bronx city councilwoman daughter Maria Del Carmen Arroyo, have for years steered tens of thousands of public dollars to the charity (South Bronx Community Corp—SBCC) which supposedly helps the needy and employs several members of the Arroyo clan.  

In one recent year alone, the councilwoman got nearly $100,000 in council “discretionary funds” for SBCC, which employs both her sister and nephew. That’s in addition to $141,500 in state funds that Mama Arroyo the assemblywoman got for the nonprofit. 

This week federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging the assemblywoman’s grandson (Richard Izquierdo Arroyo), the charity’s president, with stealing tens of thousands of dollars and using the money to go on lavish shopping sprees, fly his lawmaker aunt and grandma to the Caribbean and to contribute money to his grandma’s political campaign. 

Authorities say Izquierdo Arroyo embezzled close to $200,000 from the nonprofit to buy $15,000 worth of clothes at upscale shops, $66,000 to dine at the finest restaurants, nearly $50,000 for travel and about $34,000 for car rentals, garages and parking tickets locally and abroad. 

The crooked grandson also wrote checks totaling $9,000 from the nonprofit’s accounts to grandma’s campaign, according to the indictment, and he paid nearly $4,000 to install new flooring in her office. Before becoming the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to New York’s Assembly, Carmen Arroyo was the charity’s executive director for nearly two decades. 


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