I had heard about this last week, but haven't been able to follow up until now. Bathroom repairs and other apartment issues have been taking my attention in recent days. Steve DiBrienza, the one time City Councilman for the 39th City Council District, has dropped out of the race for his old seat. This leaves us back with Brad Lander and Josh Skaller as the apparent front runners with four other candidates trying to catch up.
Recently I was talking with a Brooklyn politician and he was telling me what a shame the DiBrienza scandal was because DiBrienza had been a good councilman. That was before I lived in Brooklyn, so I don't know. But it is clear to me that the DiBrienza scandal is indicative of what is deeply wrong with the way NYC is run and why we need some serious change. This scandal, where a city councilman was given taxpayer money with only minimal oversight and little to show for it, taints every layer of the city government, from the mayor, to the Public Advocate to the City Council. read more »
As someone who has been accused of being too obsessed over complaining about corruption in Brooklyn politics, I sometimes forget that the Queens Democratic machine is also quite corrupt. I just don't have the same ties with Queens reformers that I do in Brooklyn. Today the Brooklyn Optimist takes a peek over the border in Queens and has a good rundown on the sleaze going on over there and the near silence from both the Working Families Party and the Democratic mainstream about this sleaze. Some excerpts:
Brian McLaughlin...is the former Queens Assemblyman and New York City AFL-CIO Central Labor Council President, who plead guilty on March 7th to federal racketeering charges, so that instead of facing 30+ years in prison, he'll likely only end up with 8 to 10... read more »
This comes from Council Member Letitia James regarding the revelation that some of the AIG bailout money is going to other companies, including to Barclay's to meet their commitment for purchase of naming rights to the Ratner Arena:
(Brooklyn, NY) “Staggering, that is the only word for it,” said Council Member Letitia James upon hearing that controversial Barclay’s Bank is receiving money from the federal bailout of insurance giant AIG. Some of the bailout money would likely be used to meet Barclay’s $400 million commitment to purchase the “naming rights” to Forest City Ratner’s proposed 18,000 seat arena in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
“Here we have a private bank trying to use taxpayer money to put their name all over a privately-held sports arena. That is clearly not what President Obama intended the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) to accomplish. TARP is supposed to get banks lending to small businesses and homeowners, not to bail out a billionaire and his stalled mega-development,” said Council Member James. read more »
The Beatles song goes "Money can't buy me love," but that is a concept unfamiliar to Brooklyn politics. Around here it's all about money, endorsements and favors.
Former Councilman Steve DiBrienza is crashing and burning because when he left office he managed to get his City Council colleagues to use city money, filtered through a fake non-profit that no one but DiBrienza seems to know about, to pay for DiBrienza to not only keep his old district office but also pay DiBrienza and his cronies salaries for doing nothing as far as anyone can tell. I have taken Gifford Miller and Christine Quinn to task for this misuse of taxpayer money because it happened on their watches. But I also have made reference to rumors that David Yassky also participated in this scam to the tune of $40,000. read more »
As Steve DiBrienza started his run for his old City Council seat, he rapidly got sidetracked by an apparent scandal. The highly dubious NY Post claimed DiBrienza had simply kept his old city council office, two doors down from current City Councilman Bill de Blasio's office (did Bill know this?), paid for by city money (either with the approval of Gifford Miller and Christine Quinn, or they both were sadly lax in their oversight of their colleagues), and still drew a salary from city money. The cover for this was a supposed non-profit called the "Neighborhood Assistance Corp." Clever name. Sounded good AND it sounds like a branch of the legitimate, national organization Neighborhood Assistance Corp of America. read more »