Here's another closely guarded secret about the money that the New York City Council doles out every year—and this one's 10 times the size of the $50 million in so-called member items that are currently providing fodder for investigators and reporters:
It's the council's share of the city's capital budget, a mammoth piece of economic patronage that last year weighed in at more than $500 million.
Like its smaller cousin on the expense side of the ledger, the council's capital budget is assembled from member requests for presumably worthwhile projects.
Christine Quinn's Half-Billion-Dollar Secret
Sandwiched in between are hefty donations to favored local nonprofits, such as $100,000 to the Queens Symphony Orchestra, $1 million for the Battery Conservancy to create a new glass-enclosed carousel in Battery Park, and $2.2 million for the New York Aquarium.
Which council members steered this taxpayer largesse to which projects? Who decided one project was more worthy than another? No one's saying.