New York Congresswoman Kathleen Rice wants a federal probe into how the Town of Hempstead on Long Island plans to spend more than $130 million of coronavirus relief funds. Hempstead is the only township in the country to receive federal relief.
Hempstead received $133 million through the CARES Act with strings attached: it can only be used to cover pandemic-related costs, and it cannot be used to plug existing budget holes.
Now, Rice said Hempstead’s plan to allocate $44 million for sanitation, and another $17 million to the town’s general fund, doesn’t pass the smell test.
“I want the agency with jurisdiction over this money to ensure that this money is being spent correctly and isn't being parked into a town of Hempstead sanitation slush fund,” Rice said.
A Hempstead spokesperson said the CARES funding is being spent responsibly, and calls the investigation “partisan antics.” Hempstead has a Republican town supervisor, and Rice is a Democrat.
Hempstead got more than Nassau County. Laura Curran, the county executive, had asked Hempstead to give some of the money to the county for pandemic-related expenses.