Brooklyn Councilman Vincent Gentile Slapped With $10,855 Penalty for 2013 Campaign

Councilman Vincent Gentile.
Councilman Vincent Gentile. (Photo: Will Bredderman for New York Observer)

The New York City Campaign Finance Board slapped Brooklyn Councilman Vincent Gentile with a $10,855 penalty for a series of violations committed during his successful 2013 re-election campaign.

Gentile’s biggest fine $7,754, for exceeding the city’s expenditure limit for candidates accepting public funds; he was also fined another $877 for failing to demonstrate that spending was in furtherance of his campaign, according to Amy Loprest, the board’s executive director. The fines were announced the board’s recommendation at the board’s monthly meeting today.

The city’s public financing system comes with limits on what candidates can spend; in 2013, for council candidates, the limit was $168,000, which Gentile’s campaign over-shot by $5,169.64, according to the CFB.

Gentile was also fined for accepting over-the-limit contributions, making impermissible post-election expenditures, accepting contributions from unregistered political action committees, failing to document transactions and failing to file daily pre-election disclosure statements.

“Council Member Gentile incurred these fines as a result of an accounting oversight,” Travis Lamprecht, a spokesman for Gentile, said in an emailed statement. “He will pay the fines in a timely and appropriate manner.”

The councilman raised $152,285 in private funds in 2013, and received $92,400 in matching public funds. He will have to repay $1,413.48 in public funds, Loprest said.

The term-limited Democrat, who has served in the Council since 2003, has kept open a separate campaign account called “Gentile NYC” for an undeclared office. Gentile NYC’s balance is currently $11,318.10, according to state Board of Election records.

This is not the first time he has run into trouble with the campaign finance board.

In 2011, Gentile, his campaign committee and its treasurer, Diane Castignani, jointly received a total of $26,882 in penalties and $12,755.14 in public funds for his 2009 campaign, according to a December 2011 letter from the board’s general counsel, Sue Ellen Dodella.

The violations at that time included exceeding the expenditure limit, failing to file daily disclosure statements to report expenditures exceeding $20,000 incurred during the two weeks preceding the election and accepting corporate contributions, the letter said.

He was also fined for accepting an over-the-limit contribution, an improper post-election expenditure, failing to attribute partnership/limited liability company contributions in excess of $2,500 and filing a disclosure statement 41 days late.

Gentile served as a State Senator for his native Bay Ridge and several nearby neighborhoods from 1998 to 2002, when he lost his seat to Republican then-Councilman Martin Golden. He then ran for, and won, Golden’s Council seat—and has since survived three Republican challenges, most recently from Golden aide John Quaglione in 2013. More recently, reports have surfaced that he has lobbied Mayor Bill de Blasio for a judgeship appointment. Brooklyn Councilman Vincent Gentile Slapped With $10,855 Penalty for 2013 Campaign