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Nonprofit Leader With Alleged Ties To Convicted Queens Pol Surrenders

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The head of a Queens nonprofit has turned himself in after being accused of misusing about $85,000 he received from the City Council and the State Senate, all allegedly stemming from the indictment of former State Senator Shirley Huntley. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

There was another arrest related to the City Council's member items Tuesday.

Early Tuesday morning, Van Holmes surrendered at a Queens police precinct house.

Holmes ran a local nonprofit organization, the Young Leaders Institute.

Now in handcuffs, he is accused of stealing cash he received from the City Council and the state Senate to run youth programs.

Holmes allegedly used it to line his own pockets instead.

"We've seen too many instances where public money that has been allocated for a worthy public purpose, in this case, helping young people, has been diverted for personal use," said State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. "That's an abuse of taxpayer dollars."

Holmes' arrest stems from an investigation by the state attorney general and the state comptroller into former Queens State Senator Shirley Huntley. Huntley is set to report to prison this month for stealing cash from other Queens groups.

In Holmes' case, he allegedly used city cash to buy clothes and bankroll trips to a cabaret restaurant.

He has pleaded not guilty.

The Young Leaders Institute was registered at P.S. 156 in Laurleton, but an official inside, who would not speak to NY1 on camera, said that hasn't been here for years, even though its flyers used to line the halls.

As part of the investigation, the attorney general's office is probing Queens council members who gave the group the cash, including Ruben Wills, Leroy Comrie, Mark Weprin and former Councilman turned State Senator James Sanders.

This is just the latest arrest in a string of corruption scandals, and it has the potential to affect Speaker Christine Quinn's run for mayor.

"It casts a cloud on criminals targeting employment in not-for-profit organizations and stealing money that's meant to help children," Quinn said.

"The oversight of the way that monies, taxpayer dollars, were distributed was lacking," said Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.

"This is a system that only encourages corruption," said Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio.

As for Holmes, he is scheduled to be back in court next week.

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