2010-04-23 / Top Stories

Smith Gives Big Bucks To Ex-Drug Pushers

$500,000 Grant To King Of Kings
By Howard Schwach

State Senator Malcolm Smith has pushed large amounts of public money into a non-profit anti-drug program that is run by two convicted drug dealers, records show.

Smith selected the King of Kings Foundation, which is run by ex-cons Lance and Todd Feurtado, to receive one of the grants under his $4 million anti-violence, anti-drug, anti-gang program that he calls Operation SNUG.

Smith announced Operation SNUG at a Rockaway press conference two years ago.

A Daily News story about King of Kings published earlier this week calls the organization “barely existent,” and run out of the Jamaica apartment of Lance Feurtado.

That funding is on top of a $25,000 grant Smith sought for the duo in 2008 and $290,000 in federal funding steered to the organization by Congressman Gregory Meeks.

All of the grants are still pending, and experts say that the group may get only a portion of the allocated money due to budget constraints.

The group was recently lauded in a promotional video by the Reverend Floyd Flake, an ex-Congressman who was a mentor for both Smith and Meeks.

Smith spokesperson Austin Shafran defended the grants, telling the News that the two ex-cons “bring a powerful message to youth.

“Ex-offenders who have been given a second chance and have now made good on that second chance are really the appropriate people to teach others about the horrors of gang and gun violence,” Shafran told Daily News reporter Glenn Blain.

Shafran said that 40 groups filed applications for the SNUG money and 10 were chosen.

The applications still have to be approved by the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services, the state comptroller and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

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