Shelter operator cited for nepotism still receives millions in municipal funds
At one point, the group also hired an outside firm owned by Raymond Okebiyi, Okayson Consultants, for technology services, according to company filings and city records. Mr Okebiyi said the nonprofit used his brother’s company on and off from 2007 to 2020, but he declined to say how much the consultancy was paid.
The group also brought in Raymond Okebiyi’s wife, Onyekwere Onwumere, as a board member and in 2020 hired Mr. Okebiyi’s team. nephew as a worker in one of her shelters. Mr Okebiyi said his nephew no longer works for the group and had no role in hiring him.
Those close to Mr. Okebiyi have benefited in other ways. From 2012 to 2016, the group paid a sports shoe company run by another of Mr Okebiyi’s brothers, Michael, to provide “technical support”, according to records and interviews. Mr Okebiyi said payments to the company amounted to “less than $20,000 a year”.
The African American Planning Commission even hired a company founded by Mr Okebiyi himself, Lafayette Consultants, also for ‘technology consulting’, and made payments to the company through 2019, records show. from the city.
It was unclear whether Mr Okebiyi had disclosed his ownership of the business before the nonprofit chose him as its contractor, as required by city rules. Mr Okebiyi told The Times that payments to the company were incorporated into the pay he received as the group’s chief executive.
In 2017, as the number of homeless people in the city grew, the group sought to transition from domestic violence services to running other types of shelters.
It won lucrative new contracts and grew rapidly, with Mr Okebiyi’s salary increasing rapidly. He was making more than $532,000 a year in 2019, according to tax returns — one of the highest salaries paid to a nonprofit shelter leader in New York City that year.