September 13, 2011; Source: City Hall | Laurence Belinsky has stepped down from his position at HELP USA, a New York homeless housing and services group with a $70-million annual budget. The group had been founded in 1980 by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has recently launched a state investigation of the executive pay at nonprofits that hold contracts with the state, particularly to provide services funded by Medicaid.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal revealed that HELP USA paid Mr. Belinsky $546,000 in 2008 and $508,000 in 2009. Ten other HELP employees each earn more than $125,000 a year.
Cuomo’s sister is the chair of the HELP USA’s board. In addition, Belinsky is married to a cousin of Gov. Cuomo and also served as a senior housing aide in Gov. Mario Cuomo’s administration. The organization claims that Belinsky’s retirement is unrelated to Cuomo’s task force on salaries but City Hall reports that the Cuomo administration has confirmed that HELP has come under task force scrutiny.—Ruth McCambridge