By Carla Zanoni
WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — The founder and head of a 30-year-old Upper Manhattan nonprofit has resigned from his post as a result of a city investigation into the group's finances, according to reports.
Moisés Pérez of Alianza Dominicana, a Washington Heights-based community development nonprofit that serves Upper Manhattan, sent a letter of resignation to the nonprofit's board on March 16, the Manhattan Times first reported.
An investigation into Alianza Dominicana began last August when the city Department of Investigations (DOI) discovered improper transactions between Pérez, Alianza Dominicana and a company that lends money to nonprofit organizations, according to reports at the time.
Although the city asked Pérez to resign last year after it cut off funding to the nonprofit, a coalition of support came to his aid and brokered a deal where he could be placed on administrative leave for 90 days as the probe took place, according to reports. He had been on that leave since August 2010.
The investigation is still ongoing, DOI spokeswoman Diane Struzzi said.
María Hernández, director of human resources at Alianza, took over the helm in August.
Calls for comment to Hernández and Alianza Dominicana were not returned.
Caught in limbo is the fate of the new Alianza Dominicana headquarters that was under construction at the triangle between West 166th Street and St. Nicholas and Audubon avenues.
The 48,000-square-foot, six-story building is on hold due to financing issues, but a deal may have been brokered with the funding bank in the final hours before Pérez’s resignation, reported the Manhattan Times.
Pérez was not the only Upper Manhattan personality affected by the nonprofit’s fall from grace.
Last fall, Rep. Charlie Rangel was criticized for funneling $2.6 million in taxpayer monies through a grant from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ) to Alianza Dominicana in June 2010.
At the time, he defended his actions calling the nonprofit a lifeline for Dominican Americans in Upper Manhattan.
"If you were to ask anyone in this community about Alianza Dominicana, you would get a whole other picture of that organization," he said at a reception breakfast before the 2010 Dominican Day Parade.