A trade group that Tony Avella has been critical of is asking the city Conflict of Interest Board to look into whether the flowers Avella received from Pamela Anderson (and “all your pals at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)!”) violated the city ban on gifts to lawmakers.
A lawyer for the Horse & Carriage Association of New York sent the letter today asking the C.O.I.B. to look into the matter. (Avella wants to pass a ban on horse-drawn carriages.)
The letter, forwarded to reporters by the group’s spokeswoman, says:
Our investigation showed that the flowers Mr. Avella accepted were from Ditmars Flowers & Gifts in Queens and valued at approximately $75.00. We believe Mr. Avella is in complete violation of the ethics rules and gift laws and would appreciate the Conflicts of Interest Board investigating this matter.
But Avella’s Deputy Chief of Staff, David Troise, said there’s no problem with the flowers. In an email to me, Troise explained:
Mark Davies informed Ms. Sheehan that we were able to accept the flowers because they are a perishable item and because they could not be returned to the sender. The other stipulation was that the flowers had to be displayed in a public area, which they are.