With less than two months to go in the seven-candidate race for District Attorney, retired Judge Greg Lasak released his innovative plan to redirect asset forfeiture money directly into the community by using it to fund one weeklong summer camp for youth in each of the 18 Queens Assembly districts.
The camps would be led by the Community DAs that Lasak plans to hire for each district to help diversify perspective in the office.
Lasak explained he would use funds seized from criminals to fund the camps that would help build relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve by having various agencies to participate and work with the children. The various benevolent associations in the city would be asked to sponsor sporting events at the camps. The District Attorney’s office would sponsor an educational mock trial program and other city agencies would be asked to participate as well.
“Asset forfeiture money should always go back into the community to help build up programs that benefit our residents,” Lasak said. “What better way to do that than to fund a youth summer camp that kids can enjoy during the summer. Aside from being enjoyable, the camps will help strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities we serve, building trust and understanding and allowing our children to learn more about the system along the way.”
Lasal added the summer camps would build upon the already successful National Night Out programs and that he has long felt that the DA’s office could be putting more into the community using funds seized from convicted criminals during the course of investigations.
“I’m excited to make this program a reality when I’m DA in the summer of 2020,” Lasak said. “The camp may also inspire young people in our communities to become lawyers, judges or law enforcement officers.”
In order to make his plan come to fruition, Lasak would have to defeat six other candidates in the June 25 Democratic primary. The city’s Board of Election put Lasak on the ballot along with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilman Rory Lancman, former prosecutors Mina Malik, former prosecutors José Nieves and Betty Lugo, and public defender Tiffany Cabán.
Lasak was an assistant district attorney in Queens and rose to the ranks of chief of the DA’s Homicide Bureau and Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes before he was elected Justice of the New York State Supreme Court in 2003. He retired from the bench last September in order to run for District Attorney.