Superintendent Busted For Soliciting Sponsors For Summer Stage In Harlem

September 1, 2017

The superintendent of the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building in Harlem improperly solicited sponsors for a summer concert series and pocketed thousands of dollars in “finders fees,” a report Friday charged.

State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott’s report revealed the Superintendent Willie Walker was more concerned with producing Summer Stage in Harlem — a series of weekly musical performances held on the building’s plaza — than he was in managing the building and allowed the structure to deteriorate below state standards.

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Between 2009 and 2012, Walker solicited approximately $80,000 in donations and received $6,750 in “finders fees” from Harlem Memorial Community Development, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation that managed Summer Stages finances, the report found.

“This employee neglected his primary responsibilities and improperly used the resources of his position to promote a summer concert series and enrich himself with payments he should not have solicited or received,” said Leahy Scott.

Groll also noted that a team of engineers and other professionals were brought in to implement repairs at the building following a 2012 review that found it was below state maintenance standards. The OGS Special Events Office has also assumed responsibility for special events at the Powell Building, including Summer Stage.

Walker did not respond to a request for comment left at his office.

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When interviewed by the Inspector General’s Office, Walker initially denied receiving finder’s fees then, after being shown copies of checks he’d received, admitted to it.

“Nobody ever said that it was wrong to get a finder’s fee,” he told investigators, according to the report.

Investigators also determined that Walker failed to alert law enforcement about $17,865 in donations that went missing from the Summer Stage’s Finances in 2008 and that he falsely claimed on his resume to have both a bachelors and masters degree.

“Walker testified that the highest level degree he has received is a high school diploma,” the report stated.

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