Van Holmes Pleads Not Guilty, Released Without Bail

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The head of a Queens nonprofit tied to former State Sen. Shirley Huntley has been accused of spending $88,000 in state and city funds on himself instead of youth summer camp and after school programs.

Van Holmes, president of the Young Leaders Institute, turned himself in to authorities Tuesday morning.

He’s charged with grand larceny and falsifying records from 2007 to 2012 in taking state grants sponsored by Huntley and city grants from four New York City council members.

He is also charged with forgery, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing.

Attorney Howard Birnbach said Holmes pleaded not guilty and was released without bail, with the case adjourned until next week.

“Van Holmes pocketed tens of thousands of State and City taxpayer dollars meant to help low-income students and their families,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “The men and women elected to public office and put in charge of public service organizations have a special responsibility to protect the public interest. Working together with Comptroller [Thomas] DiNapoli, we intend to use every tool in our arsenal to crack down on anyone who abuses the public trust.”

“My office has found far too many instances where public money is abused for personal use,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Taxpayer dollars meant to create a better future for New York teens at the Young Leaders Institute were instead used to purchase men’s wear, car repairs, and theater tickets. It’s shameful.”

Huntley admitted embezzling nearly $88,000 from Parents Information Network ,a state-funded nonprofit she controlled, and was sentenced to a year and a day in prison.

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