New York Mayor’s Wife ‘Loses’ $850 Million in Taxpayer Money
Bill de Blasio's wife Chirlane McCray can't account for missing project funds
The wife of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio "can't account for" $850 million in missing taxpayer money that was granted to her mental health project, according to reports.
Chirlane McCray can't explain where the $850m in funding has gone after it was given to the organization she runs, ThriveNYC.
In the three years the program has been running, organizers at ThriveNYC have failed to keep complete records of the initiative's achievements, with the fragments of data that has been collected, showing it lagging well behind targets.
Without records, the scheme is unable to pinpoint where the missing funding has been allocated, if at all.
Despite the worrying misuse of taxpayer money highlighted by the revelations, the government has granted a huge increase in the project's budget going forward.
McCray's organization is now on track to spend $1 billion over five years.
The data comes from a Politico report that shows those running the scheme have largely failed to measure its impact or keep track of spending.
According to the Daily Mail, Thrive said it has developed a list of 417 metrics to measure how effective the program is moving forward, but asked to assess its impact so far, Politico said the data was piecemeal and showed a largely failing picture.
For example, 29 hospitals had agreed to screen almost 78,000 new mothers for post-natal depression each year as part of the scheme.
But over the course of two years between 2016 and 2018, the hospital screened a little over 28,000 patients and just 570 were offered help, a fraction of the 12,000 to 15,000 who were estimated to need care.
The data also showed almost 190,000 Narcan kits were handed out to hospitals where opioid use is common, but there is no evidence of how many were used.
The site said it had tried and failed to acquire a line-item budget from Thrive, and the two budget breakdowns it had seen showed wildly different numbers.
One, from City Hall, showed $594million in spending, but a second, from the Independent Budget Office, showed $816milion.
Speaking to the Post, Queens Councilman Robert Holden told the New York Post:
"I like the fact that money is going toward mental health, but when they say we're seeing a benefit in all areas, I take exception to that, because I don't see it everywhere.
"I'm not sure anybody does."
Meanwhile, de Blasio announced earlier this week that he is mothballing his failed Renewal school program after spending $773million.
The aim of the scheme was to improve 100 of New York's worst schools, but after three years of trying, just 25 of them improved enough to make it off the list.
Meanwhile, the same number either closed or were merged with other schools while under the initiative.