Thursday, June 2, 2016
Pay to play (or be an appointee)
From the Daily News:
Companies owned by two big contributors de Blasio appointed to VIP slots had serious integrity issues before the mayor rewarded them for their money-raising, a Daily News review has found.
One co-owned a company the city had declared lacked “good character, honesty and integrity,” while the other owed the city $1.2 million in lease payments and fees.
Not a problem. The mayor appointed both to several advisory boards.
The two showed up on an internal spreadsheet of top donors, lobbyists and other New York power players up for mayoral appointments to unpaid boards and commissions revealed by the Daily News Monday.
Businesswoman Gina Argento made the list after raising $97,780 for the mayor through bundled checks from friends and employees of her firm, Broadway Stage.
And in January 2014, she was first in line to write checks totaling $50,000 for the Campaign for One New York, the fund de Blasio set up to support his causes.
Most of Argento’s checks to de Blasio started arriving Oct. 1, 2013 — a month before he was elected and not long after the city Business Integrity Commission found a firm she co-owned, Luna Lighting Inc., “lacks good character, honesty and integrity.”
In May 2013, the commission rejected Luna’s request for a waste hauling license on two grounds: Luna had paid an $18,000 fine after admitting it repeatedly illegally hauled construction debris and ignored city demands to pay off a $620,000 IRS tax lien.
A little over a year later, de Blasio put Argento on his Fund for the Advancement of New York City, a nonprofit run by his wife, Chirlane McCray, that raises private funds for city programs.
And he put her on his committee to try to lure the Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn, and the city’s Workforce Investment Board, which advises the city on workforce issues and oversaw a $65.5 million budget in 2014.
It’s unclear whether Argento paid the back taxes. She did not return repeat calls seeking comment.
On Tuesday, mayoral spokesman Peter Kadushan declined to address the integrity panel’s license rejection, stating only that Argento was put on the Workforce Board “because of her experience in the film and television industry and years as a small-business owner who has created local jobs.”
Ok. I exposed this 2 1/2 years ago, so what took the Daily News so long to figure this out? Have they also figured out that she's married to John Ciafone of ridiculous canopy fame?