Mastic shelter accused of misspending money
A homeless shelter in Mastic is accused of misspending more than $1 million in taxpayer money.
According to an audit from the Suffolk County Comptroller's Office, Nana's House was overpaid $1.4 million by Suffolk County between 2006 and 2012.
Comptroller Joseph Sawick says the agency charged the county for unapproved salary raises, fringe benefits, excessive administrative costs and unauthorized purchases such as security systems, furniture and a laptop computer.
"I would say it's careless spending," said Sawick. "They certainly weren't watching how they spent money in accordance with the county contract. I believe they knew better."
According to the audit, about $572,000 was billed to the county for unapproved raises and benefits for managers, including executive director Wendy Falanga. Her husband is listed as the program director. Her mother is listed as the assistant director. Her father is listed as Nana's House head of maintenance.
Falanga says it was her family that started the agency back in 1998 and claims the staff raises were legitimate. She does admit though that mistakes were made along the way.
"I'm saying it wasn't done by me. It was done by an accounting firm," Falanga told News 12. "I am ultimately responsible and it will be paid back."
She says she owes the county "about a half-million dollars."
The comptroller said the county will likely approve a payment plan for Nana's House to pay back the money. There was no word yet on exactly how much that will be or how long the agency will have to pay it back.