Turner Whacks Weprin On 2008 New York Sun Story

The New York Sun lives!

Bob Turner’s campaign dug into the old conservative daily’s graveyard and dug up a 2008 article about how members of the City Council receive campaign contributions from organizations that they steer money to.

“Let me be perfectly clear about what we are alleging:  It looks to us like David Weprin was trading public dollars for campaign dollars while in the City Council,” said Turner spokesman William O’Reilly. “Mr. Weprin would arrange a government grant to an organization and receive in return political contributions from those associated with that organization. What’s worse, those dollars would then be matched 6-1 with public matching funds.  Mr. Weprin seems to have been treating taxpayer money as a political ATM card. He needs to explain himself.”

Needless to say, this is a practice as old as American politics. If government officials were forbidden from receiving funds from groups that received government subsidies or tax breaks, they would have a hard time raising any money at all.

Donations cited in the New York Sun story include:

Stephen Weinroth, Board Chairman of Joyce Theater Foundation
Gave $1,500in 2009
Weprin got with matching funds: $2,550 Co-sponsored $40,000 taxpayer grant

Erica Forman, Chairwoman of Bella Abzug Leadership Institute
Gave $500
Weprin got with matching funds: $1,550
$35,000 taxpayer grant

Douglas Durst, Friends of Hudson River Park developer
Weprin got $2,100 in 2009; $1,500 previously
Co-sponsored $88,000 taxpayer grant

Marianna Koval, President of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy
$550 in 2006
Weprin got with matching funds:  $1,600
Co-sponsored $126,000 taxpayer grant.

Ann Jawin, Founder and Chairwoman of the Center for the Women of New York
Gave $1,800 in 2009
Weprin got with matching funds: $2,850
$16,857 taxpayer grant

Ezekiel Pikus, Director of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush, Brooklyn
Gave $1,750 in 2009
Weprin got with matching funds: $2,800
Cosponsored $245,000 grant

Ariel Zqan, Exec Dir of New York Cares
Gave $1,250
Weprin got with matching funds: $2,300
$55,000 taxpayer grant

David Mandel, CEO of OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services in Brooklyn
Weprin got: $550
Co-sponsored $175,000 taxpayer grant

Andrew Tagliabue, Exec Dir of NYC chapter of Parents, Families & friends of Lesbians and Gays

Weprin got with matching funds: with matching $1,650
Co-sponsored $15,000 taxpayer grant

Adds O’Reilly:

“The issue is not the right of these individuals to contribute or whether these organizations are worthwhile, it is Mr. Weprin’s judgment in accepting money from groups he is funding. Shouldn’t some ethical bell have gone off in Mr. Weprin’s head?”

The claims come one days after the Sun, despite no longer publishing a print edition, endorsed Turner in an online editorial. Turner Whacks Weprin On 2008  New York Sun  Story