A staffer for city Comptroller John Liu and and her mother -- a prominent community leader in Queens -- were arrested for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from a senior program Tuesday. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
Some who know them from the community are defending Chan Jamoona, founder of the United Hindu Cultural Senior Center and her daughter, a staffer for City Comptroller and presumptive mayoral candidate John Liu.
They are accused of stealing more than $50,000 from a lunch program at the center. Jamoona, who has worked with seniors in the Indo-Caribbean community for more than two decades, called NY1 to say she's innocent.
"I'm on the giving end all the time you know," Jamoona said.
Jamoona, her daughter Veda and food vendor Steven Rajkumar are all accused of billing the city for lunches that were never served. Veda Jamoona was an executive at the center before she became a public affairs officer for Liu.
Veda Jamoona said little in the call with NY1.
The state Attorney General's office said Rajukumar's store, Sonny's Roti Shop, inflated the number of lunches it delivered to the center from 2007 to 2010, then split the extra profits with the Jamoonas.
The city ended its contract with the center in 2011 and in January 2012 Veda Jamoona went to work for Liu.
A spokesperson for the comptroller said the office is aware of her arrest for conduct unrelated to her work and that she's suspended until further notice.
Chan Jamoona's attorney called the story old news.
"Mrs. Jamoona and her family fully cooperated in the investigation. We heard nothing from either the Department of Investigation or the attorney general until the arrest," her attorney George Farkas said. "There is nothing new or different in the indictment that was not already addressed during the previous investigation."
He also said that his client and her family is looking forward to being vindicated.
The staff and clients at the senior center are hoping they will be as well.