West Harlem Development Corp Gives $10M to Group Run by Chairman’s Sister

WEST HARLEM — The chairman of the board of the group charged with distributing $150 million in community benefit funds from Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus expansion resigned on Tuesday — just hours before his board chose the nonprofit where his sister is executive vice president to administer half of the group’s $20 million affordable housing fund.

Longtime West Harlem Development Corporation board chair Donald Notice sent an email to the board at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday saying he was stepping down immediately — three hours before the board overwhelmingly voted to pick the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to administer $10 million of the fund, said WHDC Executive Director Kofi Boateng.

Notice’s sister Denise Scott is the executive vice president for programs for LISC’s national office — and until January was managing director of the community development group’s New York office, which will manage the fund. LISC stands to earn fees of at least $600,000, at least 6 percent of the $10 million, for their services over the next three years but the total amount is unclear because a contract has not been finalized.

Boateng said Notice, executive director of West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc., had alerted the board that Scott was his sister and recused himself from the process. Sources, who asked not to be named, say it was suggested to Notice that he resign weeks ago when it became clear that LISC was likely to be awarded the contract but that he declined.

By Jeff Mays on October 2, 2014 12:40pm

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