Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn slammed rival Bill de Blasio this morning following a Daily News report that revealed he’d accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from bad landlords on his much-touted “Worst Landlords Watchlist.” But it turns out Ms. Quinn has also taken money from some on the list.
Speaking at a press conference in East Harlem, Ms. Quinn, whose campaign is now polling in third in some surveys, accused front-runner Bill de Blasio of using his list–intended to shame bad landlords into making repairs–to raise cash.
“It appears Bill de Blasio’s Worst Landlord List was really just a fund-raising list to bring in campaign contributions to his mayor’s race,” said Ms. Quinn, pointing to what she alleged was “a pattern of Mr. de Blasio reaching out to slumlords who appeared on his bad landlords list and then raising campaign contributions from them.”
Mr. de Blasio raised roughly $54,000, from building owners and relatives who’ve landed on the list, according to the News–but Ms. Quinn said her campaign found $65,000 in such contributions.
“For years, Bill de Blasio has claimed to be the guy who stands up for tenants by standing up against slumlords … Now we find out that he was perhaps using the worst landlords list for an entirely different purpose than helping tenants,” she said. “Once again, Bill de Blasio says one thing and does another,” she said, calling the contradiction “outrageous.”
But, in fact, Ms. Quinn has also profited from some of the landlords on the list, whom her campaign highlighted on a poster listing Mr. de Blasio’s top bad landlord donors. She received $500 this January, for instance, from Victor Jung, who contributed a reported $20,300 to Mr. de Blasio–making him number one of the list–and received $500 back in 2007 from Irving Langer–seven on the de Blasio list.
At the press conference, Ms. Quinn said she was unsure whether any of the “worst landlords” had contributed to her campaign. But in a follow-up statement, her spokesman, Mike Morey, said the small contributions she received were completely different from Mr. de Blasio’s actions.
“Bill de Blasio raised Over $65,000 from folks he himself called ‘the worst’ and then turned around and used the very same list as a fundraising tool. There is an inherent conflict in having a list that can shame people and then using that list to raise money,” he said via email.
Mr. de Blasio’s campaign, meanwhile, pointed to the fact that some on the contributors on the list gave money long before the list was created and that others had charted significant improvements.
Still, the perception was largely positive, aside form one pro-de Blasio heckler (“Yeah, promises, promises,” he yelled dismissively as passed by. “de Blasio! de Blasio!”)
“You’ve got my support,” said Ricki Walker, 53, who works across the street and came by to chat with Ms. Quinn about his rising cost of living.
“Let’s vote for a woman! Let the woman have a chance because the men are doing a fucked-up job,” shouted another woman, who walked away shouting, “Vote for a lady for a change!”
Another man offered a rhyme: “When Obama came to term, I had a saying: If you love your mama, you’ll vote for Obama. And this is what I’m saying to you: If you want to win, vote for Christine Quinn.”