The Norwalk Common Council voted 12 to 3 to approve the Annual Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant program despite skepticism from two council members on whether the South Norwalk Community Center should receive any funds.
"I think the only reason right now that there is funding for the South Norwalk Community Center for this phase is because the board of education has sought out and worked with the South Norwalk Community center to have its after school programs," said councilman Douglas Hempstead. "I think without the school support and a letter of request, they probably wouldn't have not gotten away this year because we've already allocated to it previous years."
District B (South Norwalk) council members Travis Simms and Phaedral "Faye" Bowman questioned whether the South Norwalk Community Center should be on the list of recipients for $100,000 in federal Community Block Grant Development funding, claiming the non-profit has been known for fraudulent activity within its board of directors.
"For a non-profit organization, you have a board of director and a chairman who thinks he has the authority to just dismantle the board at his own leisure," said councilman Travis Simms. "And I think what the major issue is, he wants to dismantle a board of individuals who challenge his spending habits."
"They receive money from the multi-purpose room," said Bowman. "We all know that, they rent out rooms to Americares, so they have funds that should've been audited. So for the second year in a row, to not summit any for the second year in a row... I just want to go on record today, I have an issue with this application."
"This is not a blank check to South Norwalk Community Center," said majority leader Jerry Petrini. "It's basically, we have checks and balances to make sure - and if these allegations are true, which I'm sure it will take its course before that money will be applied, we'll take a look into it."
The council says before a member can claim illegal activity within an organization, they need to see and discuss documented evidence.