City treasure

Menino’s use of charity’s funds could be a big trust problem

URBAN MAYORS need fast, flexible funds to keep their cities buzzing with cultural and celebratory events. And that often means access to private, charitable donations along the lines of the Fund for Boston Neighborhoods. This week, serious questions arose about whether Mayor Menino has been a good steward of those funds.

On Sunday, the Globe’s Andrew Ryan revealed that large corporations, developers, lobbyists, and others who have business before the city have donated $12.5 million to the fund since Menino took office in 1993. For months, the administration dodged Ryan’s requests for a comprehensive list of donors, citing federal tax laws that shield the identities of charitable contributors. But the administration finally relented and has agreed to post the donors and donation amounts on the fund’s website, as well as a line-by-line accounting of spending.

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