During an after-hours board meeting Thursday night, the president and executive director of Praxis Housing Initiatives, one of the city’s biggest service providers for homeless people with AIDS, submitted their letters of resignation and agreed to clear out their offices cleaned out by the end of Monday.
President G. Sterling Zinsmeyer and Executive Director Gordon H. Duggins decided to immediately leave their jobs amidst ongoing investigations into potentially improper spending practices and alleged illegal gang activity at many of the nonprofit’s shelters.
In a statement, Praxis spokesperson Susan Del Percio said the nonprofit organization’s current fiscal officer, Avi Fichman, will oversee operations. “Praxis is proud of the housing services it has provided hundreds of homeless New Yorkers and will continue that good work moving forward,” the statement read.
While the directors’ resignations were anticipated, they’ve come much sooner than expected. In an initial interview with City Limits, which broke the story on Praxis’ improper spending in early February, Zinsmeyer said he planned to leave the group for New Mexico but would wait until all investigations were finished. Duggins was expected to leave this June.
Currently, the U.S. Attorney’s office, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the city’s Department of Investigation are conducting inquiries into Zinsmeyer and Duggins’ spending habits at Praxis. While the directors are no longer associated with the group, Del Percio said, “Praxis will continue to cooperate fully with ongoing investigations.”