This Presidents’ Day, City Council members Dennis Gallagher and Joe Addabbo expressed their respect in a pair of ads that appeared in the February 14 edition of the The Queens Ledger.
They caught my attention because last fall the City Council adopted new rules saying that members can no longer pay for "purely self-promotional" ads with taxpayer money. (Similar ads can still be funded with campaign cash–both Gallagher and Addabbo have campaign committees).
The ads definitely don’t comply with the new rules. Citizens’ Union Executive Director Dick Dadey, whose group wrote a report that led to the proposal, told me, “Those ads are totally at odds with the new Council policy” because they are not “providing information of a government service connected to the council member.”
But Addabbo denies that his office bought the ads with any kind of funds. He blames the newspaper, saying they ran last year’s ad without being told to do so.
“I’m going to wind up paying for it out of my own pocket," Addabbo told me just now. "Sometimes, what newspapers do and a few papers do, is they just run the year prior ad without asking.” He added, “This paper wound up printing it without really any authorization.”
I emailed Addabbo’s comments to the editor there and am waiting to hear back. Gallagher’s office said they would get back to me shortly about their ad.
UPDATE: A spokesman for Gallagher said the ad was placed in the newspaper without their knowledge or consent and has not been paid for.