The Distance Between Simcha Felder and the Mayor’s Allocations

Bill Thompson is out with a statement about that big New York Times story today which reported that Michael Bloomberg did not follow city guidelines when dispensing his discretionary funds.

"The allegations raised by The New York Times are extremely troubling," Thompson said in a statement emailed to reporters just now. "If the funding was not initiated by a Council Member – as the Times notes – but directly from the Mayor’s office, that would be improper. The public deserves to know the facts about whether any rules were broken."

When asked if he'd seek an investigation or audit, a Thompson spokesman declined to comment.

The article hinges on an interview from Simcha Felder, who told the Times that he did not request funding that was inserted into the city budget from 2002 to 2006 under his name which went to two groups in his district, Agudath Israel of America Community Services and Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services.

Worth noting is that Felder is an unrepentant supporter of the slush-fund allocation system, and has always been proud to claim credit for the funding that went out under his name.

In the years after the period that the story focused on, specifically in 2008 and 2009, Felder directed Council discretionary money to those two organizations.

One intresting political implication to come out of the story (interesting to me at least) is the rift it exposed between Felder and Michael Bloomberg, who, as recently as this weekend, seemed pretty close.

Felder had been in agreement with most of Bloomberg's policies, including extending term limits, and questioning the amount of money spent on the public advocate's office. Bloomberg had always helped find money Felder's initiatives, they traveled together, and Bloomberg even endorsed Felder in his unsuccessful bid for State Senate.