A Democratic club affiliated with Brooklyn City Councilman Mark Treyger used his name on a letter soliciting money from non-members, and urged those interested to contact him at his government email address—but he maintains it was done without his knowledge or approval.
A Coney Island member of the Shorefront Democratic Club sent the Observer a copy of the December 27 missive, which featured Treyger’s name in both the letterhead and in the signature space, alongside that of local district leader Dilia Schack. The message invites recipients to attend its forum featuring one or more contenders hoping to replace late Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, an event that non-members must donate $10 to the club’s coffers if they wish to attend.
The letter includes their phone numbers, Schack’s email and Treyger’s City Council email, email@example.com—a “highly irregular” move, a legal expert told the Observer.
“If he’s inviting them to a club meeting and he’s telling them to pay if they’re not members, I’d say yes, he’s fundraising in the City Council email,” election lawyer Sarah Steiner said.
The club covers the 46th Assembly District, which includes the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Coney Island and Sea Gate. Treyger represents the 47th City Council District, which covers Coney Island and Sea Gate as well as parts of Bensonhurst and Gravesend.
Treyger told the Observer that, even though the letter reads “Regards, Mark & Dilia,” he did not actually see the letter until Wednesday, when the site reached out to his attorney. He said that Schack wrote and sent the letter without his permission.
“Yes, this was sent out by the district leader Dilia Schack, and she inadvertently sent it out and did so without my knowledge and approval and she inadvertently put my government email down—and my cell phone by the way—without my consent and approval,” he said.
He added that he takes the separation of his political activities and his responsibilities as a Council member seriously and will work to ensure that such a mishap does not recur in the future.
“I am taking steps to ensure that this inadvertent action never happens again,” he said.
Schack did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jerry Goldfeder, an election lawyer who represents Treyger, said that the letter gave a misleading impression that his client had approved it, government email and all—even though he had not.
“He didn’t send it, he wasn’t using it,” Goldfeder said. “A third party put down an email address on the invite. It doesn’t implicate him. They did it without his permission, without his knowledge.”
The city’s Campaign Finance Board is scheduled to vote on violations and penalties for Treyger for his 2013 campaign today.