Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

Like predecessor, Brooklyn BP Adams raises money for nonprofit from donors otherwise limited

First Marty Markowitz did it. Now his successor does, too.

Brooklyn BP Eric Adams uses nonprofit to raise from donors with business before city – skirting campaign finance rules in quest for City Hall, the New York Daily News reported Sunday:
Wannabe mayor and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is skirting campaign rules by raising tens of thousands of dollars from donors with business before the city for his nonprofit, the Daily News has found.
Adams set up the “One Brooklyn Fund” his first year in office in 2014, raising at least $995,000 and as much $2.9 million by March 2018, according to filings with the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board.
The nonprofit — which is officially linked to the borough president’s office — lets wealthy donors curry favor with Adams without running afoul of rules barring city candidates from raising money from corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships.
Donors mentioned included those connected to Two Trees Management and Broadway Stages, both real estate companies, as well as Air BnB.

What's the worry?

From the article:
Ethics watchdogs say the arrangement is ripe for conflicts.
“It can be an end run around the city’s contribution limits,” said Alex Camarda, a senior policy adviser for good government group Reinvent Albany. “If the same entities can make contributions to a nonprofit affiliated with an elected official then the corruption risk is sky-high.” 
The borough president’s office defended the arrangement.
“100% of the money raised by the One Brooklyn Fund goes toward improving the lives of the people of Brooklyn," Adams spokesman Jonah Allon said. “The Fund follows all applicable rules and regulations and makes its financial data publicly available.”
Is that so?

According to most recent Form 990 report to the IRS posted by the fund, the fund spent $54,001 on tourism promotion, $105,933 on holiday events, and $80,345 on community outreach, as seen in the above screenshot.

Exactly how that money was spent is unclear--but the spending is detailed in a different way in the document (screenshot at right).

It indicates nearly $50,000 for office expenses, nearly $68,000 for meals and entertainment, and nearly $29,000 for marketing, with--after some other small spending--$103,202 in program expenses. (It's not clear whether meals and entertainment corresponds with holiday events.)

Who's involved?

By the way, among those on the board of directors, as indicated in the Form 990, are... David Lombino of Two Trees Management and the mysterious Winnie Greco, a questionable liaison--as I've written--to the Chinese community.

Note: the Daily News did not point to any role for companies and individuals involved in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, but because the databases aren't immediately searchable on the web--you have to file a request--I can't be sure.

An oblique comment?

Was this Adams tweet an oblique comment on the Daily News article?
If so, it's kind of a "no contest" plea, in some ways similar to the Markowitz defense that "You could raise all the issues you want—the people in Brooklyn know me."

It ignores the issues and posits that that the undeniable good works--satisfying to those getting help or largesse--should drown out any concern about larger conflicts.


Comments