Frontus Falls Short of Assembly Funding

Mathlyde Frontus in 2018 at a rally in front of her campaign headquarters on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island.
Photo by Tsubasa Berg/file photo

Either Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) is tighter than Ebeneezer Scrooge on the night before Christmas or Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Gravesend) is the worst political pork hunter to ever hit Albany.

But either way, impoverished seniors in Coney Island will be missing hot meals this winter for the first time in decades.

Yesterday, Frontus revealed that she put in over $3 million in requests for the funding of various non-profits in her district to Heastie’s office, but only received a paltry $325,000 in funding with the big-ticket items being $100,000 to Coney Island’s Pathways to Apprenticeship (P2A) program and $100,000 to a community center in Bay Ridge.

“This is the first time we have not received any funding from the assembly for as long as I can remember and I’ve been here since 1981,” said Rabbi Moshe Weiner, executive director of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island (JCCGCI), who put out an urgent SOS to City Council Member Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend) asking for city funding for the Haber House Senior Center’s Food Pantry and Sunday Senior Center after the assembly failed for the first time in years to fund $51,000 for the program, which provides 3,200 food packages monthly to 400 low-income seniors.

But Haber House, 3024 West 24th Sreet, was not the only non-profit provider that didn’t receive money. Several dozen other non-profits, including those providing services for the aging, anti-violence, workforce development, the arts and more – including the non-profit Frontus founded – the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative received zero assembly funding.

Mathylde Frontus
Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus

Frontus put the list of non-profits for which she applied for funding on her Facebook page for ‘full transparency” after receiving a call from KCP and another outlet on the subject. Among other items, the assemblywoman applied for funding included a new organization she started, the Southern Brooklyn Community Think Tank, where local residents could meet up to brainstorm solutions to problems facing their neighborhoods.

Frontus explained that while the think tank is not a registered non-profit, the money would have gone through Weiner to administrate it – something the JCCGCI has the knowledge and accreditation to do, and Weiner confirmed this.

Frontus additionally told KCP that the assembly no longer gives out discretionary funding to members and instead only is allowed to submit lists for funding, and it has been done this way since former Gov. David Patterson was governor.

But a longtime assembly source disputed Frontus’ claim saying the speaker of the assembly allocates a certain amount of funding per member and then it’s up to the member to decide what to fund in the district.

Heastie’s office did not return calls or emails as to why he only greenlit a paltry $325,000 for the 46th Assembly District – a district with one of the largest concentrations of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing developments in the city, and with a state budget of $175.5 billion for FY 2020.

Likewise, Assemblymember Helene Weinstein (D-Sheepshead Bay, Flatlands, East Flatbush, Midwood, Canarsie) in the nearby 41st District, who chairs the assembly’s powerful Ways and Means Committee, did not return calls or emails as to how money is doled out in the assembly.

Editor’s Note: Weiner corrected his quote in this story this morning after it went to post. He now says: “JCCGCI did receive Assembly funding this year, from Assemblymembers Steve Cymbrowitz, Helene Weinstein and Bill Colton. Just not from our local 46th AD.” 

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