The Acacia Network — the scandal-plagued non-profit that raked in $183 million in city contracts in 2019 alone — is facing another investigation.
Gov. Cuomo announced the latest probe Tuesday after the Daily News exposed Acacia for demanding a mother of three stop calling the city’s 311 complaint line if she wanted to renew her lease in a squalid Bronx apartment.
The woman, Iesha Poindexter, gave in to the demand, but said she was later told her lease would not be renewed anyway.
“This harassment, if true, is unacceptable,” Cuomo said. "I am directing the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, which provides funding for services at this building, to immediately get to the bottom of this situation and help ensure that these practices are not replicated at other properties.”
Cuomo has already launched two investigations into Five Stars Management, the property manager in at least two Bronx buildings where Acacia operates, including Poindexter’s.
When told about the latest probe into Acacia, Poindexter said simply: “Thank God."
Cuomo’s announcement punctuated weeks of controversy surrounding Acacia, the city’s largest homeless services provider.
Two separate investigations of its contracting practices are already being conducted by the city Department of Investigation and the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services.
On Sunday, a man was murdered at one of its homeless shelters on the Upper West Side.
Since 2010, the city has spent $1.3 billion on contracts to Acacia. The state did not immediately release spending figures on Acacia and its members dating back that far, but current state spending clocks in at about $123 million.
The state OASES contract at Poindexter’s building is worth $400,000.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer called the nonprofit’s recent behavior an “outrage.”
“They must be held accountable for allowing New Yorkers to suffer in city-funded housing," he said.
City Councilman Ben Kallos said the probes into Acacia must conclude swiftly.
"The people aren’t getting the services they need,” he said “If the operator can’t do their job, we need to move these investigations quickly. We need to hold a hearing in the City Council quickly.”
Some insiders privately describe Acacia as a necessary evil — a nonprofit the city and state rely on because there are not enough entities to fulfill current needs.
When asked to justify why Acacia continues to receive such generous financial support, Acacia spokesman John Schiumo sent several statements.
His responses came after Acacia conceded it coerced Poindexter into signing the form promising she would refrain from calling 311, but added that the paperwork was written by a rogue staffer, who was disciplined.
“We are proud of our work," Schiumo said in one statement. "All of us at the Acacia Network strive for transparency and have always acted with the utmost integrity to serve our neighbors.”