Court documents indicting Juanita Mitchell indicate she wrote NYPPP checks to herself, abusing her role as an administrative assistant.
She was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office, because NYPPP was funded, in part, by federal grants.
Other funding came from state and city coffers, and those officials are equally invested in the prosecution.
Lansing city council president Sandy Allen, for example, did double duty for the NYPPP. In her role as city councilwoman, she helped allocate some of their funding. She estimates about $15,000. She also, served NYPPP on their community board, where she says the financial reports sounded fishy from the start. The group's director, Fawn Jones, often presented return check charges in the hundreds of dollars.
"I just knew 'that's not right,' " Allens says. Her wary eye launched an investigation in 2003. The city auditor and the city attorney got involved. Charges against Mitchell didn't come until 2005. At this time, no other charges have been filed.