Charles Barron isn’t the only member of the City Council who regards Christine Quinn’s discretionary-fund shell-game as a grave offense. Barron is generally outspoken and has been critical of Quinn in the past, but another member, who has had a considerably more collegial relationship with the speaker, said on background that her conduct was pretty much indefensible.
“The story is, you know, there’s like no other budget code [for setting aside money],” this member said. “Not a good enough reason, in my mind, and I can’t, I just don’t accept that reason. Let’s create a budget code for, you know, unanticipated expenses.”
“To me, the reason to do it is to hide it from your colleagues, not from the public,” the member said. “It’s so you, as speaker, have some funding there that is not obvious to anybody so that they don’t come and ask you for it, or they don’t know it’s there.”
Quinn had said after the Post broke the story of the fake organizations that she had ordered her aides to stop putting money aside in this way and that they had continued to do so without her knowledge. (She apparently didn’t make any written record of the request that the aides desist and she didn’t make her discovery of the practice public.)
“It’s kind of preposterous,” the member said. “She told them to stop and they didn’t?…Why would they keep doing it?”
The member also went on to say that the fact that one of the aides in question quietly left and went to work for Quinn’s friend’s lobbying firm is “totally suspect.”
Referring to what Michael Bloomberg said about the speaker when he first defended her, the lawmaker added, “According to Bloomberg, she’s the most honest person he’s ever met, which I’m surprised at, because he must know a lot of people…She is the single most honest?”