NYC Councilman Arrest: Ruben Wills Busted for Alleged Misuse of Public Funds
On Wednesday, New York City Councilman Ruben Wills was taken into custody by law officials in connection with a state attorney general investigation into the alleged misuse of tax dollars.
Both Wills, a Democrat who has represented southeast Queens since 2010, and his relative Jelani Mills, who worked with him, were taken to the 112th precinct in Queens Wednesday morning, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Although details surrounding the charges against the councilman weren't immediately released, the arrest is believed to be linked to a probe launched by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office in 2011 that investigated a $33,000 state grant that was sent to the nonprofit group that Wills has chaired since at 2009 called New York 4 Life. The nonprofit was supposed to use the money for community programs, reports the New York Daily News.
However, Wills, the sole signatory on the account, depleted all the funds over several months without submitting any documentation to report how the money was spent.
Because Wills failed to comply with a subpoena issued by the state Office of Children and Family Services, investigators went to court to force the nonprofit to open its books. They found that the funds were earmarked in 2008 by then-state Sen. Shirley Huntley, a Queens official who once employed Wills as her chief of staff.
Wills did not heed to official orders for New York 4 Life to either provide an accounting of the money or return it, so the state agency referred the matter to Schneiderman's office.
Court documents filed in 2012 show that letters sent to Wills demanding repayment plus interest went ignored.
In response to the arrest, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito released a statement saying, "The City Council takes these troubling allegations from the New York State Attorney General very seriously and will be reviewing them thoroughly. New Yorkers expect and deserve a government that is ethical and responsible and that is the standard we're seeking to uphold."
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