Former State Senator Shirley Huntley has pleaded guilty to covering up $30,000 in taxpayer-funded services that were never performed.
Huntley, 74, was arrested after turning herself in last August. She was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor for drafting a fake letter to show that a sham nonprofit group, the Parents Information Network, used a $30,000 state grant for “workshops,” according to the Attorney General’s office. She pleaded not guilty, but nearly six months later, on Wednesday, February 13, Huntley came clean.
Funds provided to the Parent Workshop were said to be going to programs at the Beacon Center, but instead were funneled straight to the phony group’s president and treasurer, and Huntley reportedly got a cut.
In her allocution, Huntley said she assisted in drafting a letter to be used to create a false record, indicating that events on behalf of the Parent Workshop had taken place. She additionally knew that the false record would be submitted to the Attorney General’s investigation, according to public court records.
“State officials must be held to the highest standards,” said Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. “Former Senator Huntley betrayed the trust of her constituents and her public duty.”
Prosecutors in the case recommended a sentence of five years probation for the former pol in exchange for her felony guilty plea. Theft and obstruction charges are still pending against her co-defendants, including Patricia Savage, the president of Parent Workshop and her former aide, and Lynn Smith, treasurer of the group and Huntley’s niece.
Sally Butler, Huntley’s attorney, did not wish to comment on the plea, nor did family.