Christine Quinn’s ‘slush fund’ legal troubles under scrutiny

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn speaking at the announcement of the FY14 budget. Credit: nyc.gov
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn speaking at the announcement of the FY14 budget. Credit: nyc.gov

Bill Thompson’s mayoral campaign is calling on opposing mayoral candidate City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to release legal documents from a federal investigation into the City Council around five years ago.

The slush fund scandal was revealed in news reports in 2008 alleging city funds were being allocated to nonexistent “phony charities” and then rerouted to groups favored by City Council members to curry political support. The speaker was accused of using the budget to reward allies and punish opponents.

A federal investigation into the City Council entailed a taxpayer-funded legal defense and Thompson’s campaign said some accounts tallied the legal cost at over $500,000 in city funds to defend the council.

The issue of taxpayer-funded defense of political officials under investigation has been a recurring one recently, particularly in the State Assembly, where Speaker Sheldon Silver has come under criticism for using taxpayer funds to defend himself and the Assembly against female staffers accusing him and the Assembly at large of facilitating their alleged sexual harassment by Vito Lopez. The staffers say that if Silver had not used taxpayer money to provide a settlement to two earlier accusers, and instead referred the sexual harassment allegation to the Ethics Committee, Lopez would not have been able to victimize other staffers after those early reports.

Quinn is apparently refusing to release records involved in the federal investigation, so the Thompson campaign has started an online petition urging New Yorkers to join them in calling for the documents to be released.

The Thompson campaign provided emails sent following up on a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request submitted in April of this year. They were apparently told they would receive a response on July 12 but as of July 15 they were told documents were still being “actively compiled.”

Thompson campaign said “hundreds” of people have signed their petition. They are now also highlighting political donations Quinn’s campaign received from the law firm paid to review documents and defend the Council five years ago.

The Quinn campaign accused Thompson of using the FOIL request to divert attention from a recent report that called into question his own record.

“This is a transparent attempt by Bill Thompson to avoid addressing a damning report yesterday that uncovered he was warned by the inspector general to stop using funds from the Battery Park City Authority to dole out favors to campaign contributors,” said Quinn spokesman Mike Morey.

According to Morey, Thompson “continued to do so anyway.”

“Instead of attacking his opponent in this race, he should disclose why he gave out this money against the advice of the inspector general,” Morey suggested.

Morey also noted that Quinn “disclosed everything five years ago.”

The Post noted in April, ahead of the Thompson campaign’s FOIL request, that Quinn had been cleared of all wrongdoing, though the investigation into the Council at large continues and defense is still being funded by taxpayer money. A council source reportedly told the New York Post money was spent on the trial of former Councilman Larry Seabrook, who was sentenced in January to five years in prison for stealing taxpayer money.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

Local

Mugger uses chokeholds in Central Park attacks: NYPD

Cops are searching for a Manhattan mugging suspect tied to at least two attacks near Central Park this week.

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

By Rich MckayABIDJAN (Reuters) - An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged…

News

Ditka calls Redskins team name critics 'politically correct…

Mike Ditka, the 74-year-old 11-season coach of the Chicago Bears and 3-season coach of the New Orleans Saints, may be endangering his position as an…

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

Television

TV watch list, Thursday, Aug. 21: 'Simpsons,' 'Simpsons'…

It's time to change the channel to FXX, and then never change it again, as you watch all the "Simpsons" episodes you can handle.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…