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Brooklyn community board bought SUV with city grant money

WILLIAMSBURG — Residents have questions for Brooklyn's Community Board 1 after recently published reports show they spent grant money on an SUV.

Last summer, City Council appropriated grant money to the city's 59 community boards for the first time in years. The additional funding was meant to help the boards better serve their constituents. But residents are upset after seeing a brand new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid with an alleged price tag of $26,000 sits outside of CB1’s Grand Avenue offices bearing city plates.

"It's ludicrous," resident Joe Franco said, with particular outrage served toward District Manager Gerald Esposito. "Why? Why should he do it? Because he's got the authority to do what? Who gave it to him?"

Meeting minutes from August 2018 show CB1 discussing several possibilities, including an upgraded alarm system for their offices or a flat screen television. Esposito urged for a new car, despite already having one donated to them by the New York State Power Authority back in 2002.

The vehicle is used for daily operations by the office -- when staff has to go out and investigate complaints, for going to meetings, picking up the chair for meetings and going to meetings at Borough Hall, among other uses.

Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed his disapproval with the fancy new purchase, as has Brooklyn Borough President and City Councilmember Antonio Reynoso. The Mayor is even pushing the city's Department of Investigations to look into the matter. The DOI declined PIX11's request for comment, but said they are aware of the matter.

PIX11 has reached out to CB1 for comment on our story. We were told we would get a statement but they are yet to respond.

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