Bronx Councilman Mark Gjonaj gives his nonprofit $130K in taxpayer funds

(CRAINS) y , June 22, 2018 — The new city budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 includes $130,000 for the Albanian-American Community Association—courtesy of its founder, Bronx Councilman Mark Gjonaj.

The fiscal plan’s Schedule C, delineating “discretionary funds” that each member doles out to groups of their choice, shows two five-figure outlays to the AACA. One, for $55,000, came from Gjonaj’s own pot of funds. The other, for $75,000, came from Speaker Corey Johnson, but the document shows Johnson made the allocation at Gjonaj’s request. The budget explains both expenditures as “funding to support community engagement activities including cultural, educational and recreational programming and services.”

The group has never received money from the city budget before this year, Gjonaj’s first as a member of the local legislature. This is likely because the nonprofit was not registered as required with the state Charities Bureau until this past March, despite having incorporated in New York in 2007.