In January, Kelli Conlin, who for 18 years served as president of one of the state's most influential political groups, NARAL Pro-Choice New York, abruptly stepped down. The news left many people, including Celeste Katz at The Daily Politics, wondering why. It looks like they now have an explanation: According to an audit obtained by reporter Liz Benjamin (Katz's predecessor at The Daily Politics), Conlin is being investigated for misspending the non-profit's money to lead a lavish lifestyle.
Benjamin reports that the audit details numerous questionable charges on NARAL credit cards by Conlin, such as $6,000 worth of clothes at Giorgio Armani and Barney's and $17,000 for a Hamptons summer rental. And according to the audit, between March 2008 and December 2010, Conlin spent about $100,000 on car service, and often had the driver drop her children off at their Upper West Side school. Conlin's salary in 2009 was $309,000.
In a statement from NARAL obtained by the Times, the group says they "moved swiftly and appropriately to conduct an independent audit of expenses and reimbursements"after becoming aware of "potential improprieties." The Manhattan DA has launched a criminal probe, the Post reports. But the investigation is awkward for new state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has close ties to both Conlin and NARAL. Conlin was a major endorser of Schneiderman during his campaign, and his father was on NARAL's board for many years. In a statement sent out last night, Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. called on Schneiderman to recuse himself.