Tag Archives: Campaign Finance Board

John Liu sues over campaign cash in failed mayoral bid

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

John Liu may have lost his bid for mayor months ago, but he is still seeking justice for wrongdoings he believes hindered his campaign.

The former comptroller is suing the city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB) for withholding $3.8 million in public financing from his mayoral campaign, claiming that the move “crippled” his chances in the Democratic primary.

The lawsuit asserts that the city’s public financing system violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments and that Liu was treated “differently than other candidates who have been suspected of violating campaign finance laws.”

“I am a strong believer in and supporter of the New York City campaign finance system. However, the system has been broken by out-of-control bureaucrats and unaccountable board members,” Liu said in a statement announcing the lawsuit on Wednesday, March 12.

Last August, the CFB denied Liu’s campaign the funds because it said there was “reason to believe that violations of the Act and Board rules have been committed by his campaign.”

Months earlier, a former Liu campaign treasurer was found guilty of attempting to commit fraud, obstructing justice and making false statements. And an ex-fundraiser and contribution bundler for his campaign was convicted on charges of conspiring and attempting to commit fraud.

Though Liu has not been accused of any wrongdoing in connection to the case, the Board said the decision to deny matching funds doesn’t require the candidate to personally engage in misconduct.

Liu’s suit also alleges that the appointment of Rose Gil Hearn as chair of the CFB, made shortly before then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg left office, was illegitimate because it was done without consulting the City Council speaker.

“Over 25 years and seven mayoral elections, the Board’s oversight has always been tough, but fair. It protects taxpayers, and ensures campaigns that receive funds are playing by the rules,” said Amy Loprest, CFB executive director, in a statement. “We will not comment further on the litigation until the appropriate time.”



City Council candidate Joe Concannon calls ‘fraud’ on Campaign Finance Board

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Joe Concannon’s campaign

The retired police captain running a pointed City Council bid against a popular incumbent says the city’s Campaign Finance Board should have accommodated his late entrance into the race.

Joe Concannon, who is taking on Councilmember Mark Weprin in a general election next month, said he was a “victim” of the CFB’s “incompetence and fraud” when his profile did not appear in the board’s widely distributed voter guide.

“I am running for public office to ensure that New York City government is more transparent and to alleviate the corruption, fraud and mismanagement,” said Concannon, who is on the Reform and Independent line. “The CFB seems to have succumbed to all three.”

About 4 million copies of the nonpartisan newsletter were mailed out throughout the city this week, a CFB spokesperson said. The guide contains voting information and detailed profiles submitted by candidates.

CFB spokesperson Matt Sollars said the hopefuls have until early July, at the latest, to submit their profiles, which then go through a timely process of getting translated into five languages in Queens.

“These are reasonable deadlines that are necessary for us to collect and produce a voter guide that is printed and mailed to every registered voter in New York City,” he said.

Concannon did not register with the CFB until September, Sollars said, months after the submission deadline.

But Phil Orenstein, the candidate’s campaign manager, said there should have been an exception, or at least an addendum.

“Accommodations should be made for his independent line candidacy, but nothing of the sort was done,” he said. “To us, this smacks of voter fraud and we hold the CFB culpable. They have failed in their responsibilities to properly inform the voters.”

Concannon leaped into the race August 8 because Weprin voted in support of two controversial police oversight bills in the Community Safety Act.

Concannon said the bills would increase crime and handcuff police, a belief numerous police unions shared when they endorsed him.

The Bellerose candidate unsuccessfully tried to unseat State Senator Tony Avella last year.



John Liu to go ‘full steam ahead’ with campaign despite no matching funds

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of the New York City Comptroller

City Comptroller John Liu has vowed to go “full steam ahead” with his mayoral bid despite losing out on millions in funds.

The city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB) on Monday denied Liu’s campaign public matching funds that could have doubled the approximately $3.5 million the candidate has raised so far.

Liu’s campaign was denied the funds “because there is reason to believe that violations of the Act and Board rules have been committed by his campaign,” said CFB Chair Father Joseph Parkes in a statement.

“The evidence suggests that the potential violations are serious and pervasive across the campaign’s fundraising,” he added.

“The [Campaign Finance Board] has chosen to make certain characterizations of my campaign–they are absolutely wrong in their characterization and we will utterly dispute and repudiate those kinds of comments,” said Liu in a statement released Monday evening.

In May, Jia “Jenny” Hou, who was Liu’s campaign treasurer, was found guilty of attempting to commit fraud, obstructing justice and making false statements.

Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan, who was a campaign fundraiser and contribution bundler for the Liu campaign, was convicted at the same time on charges of conspiring and attempting to commit fraud.

Though Liu has not been accused of any wrongdoing in connection to the case, the Board said the decision to deny matching funds doesn’t require the candidate to personally engage in misconduct.

“The candidate is ultimately responsible for the campaign’s compliance with the law,” said Parkes.

Under the Campaign Finance Program, candidates who agree to spending limits receive $6 for each dollar a city resident contributes, for a maximum public matching funds amount of $3,534,300, which Liu was expected to receive.

“Although we may not have the millions of dollars that the [Campaign Finance Board] has chosen to withhold from our campaign and from our donors, the strength of this campaign has never been just in the money — it’s always been in the people” said Liu. “And we’re going to draw upon that strength over the next five weeks throughout all five boroughs.”



Former Queens Councilmember Eric Gioia owes thousands for campaign violations

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Former Councilmember Eric Gioia owes more than $72,000 in total penalties for about a dozen violations his failed election campaign for public advocate committed in 2009.

The offenses include accepting over-the-limit and corporate contributions and failing to provide bank statements or report transactions, the city’s Campaign Finance Board said.

The ex-legislator was also fined nearly $30,000 for exceeding the expenditure limit, according to the board.
Gioia’s lawyer, Mark Sattinger, said the penalties were for “highly technical violations” that were fixed many years ago.

“The campaign’s expenditure limit violation was the wholly the result of a change in the law which the Campaign Finance Board applied retroactively and without notice,” he said. “These were unintentional violations and quickly rectified, and therefore the penalties assessed by the CFB are disproportionate and unfortunate.”

Gioia represented the 26th City Council District in western Queens for eight years. He is listed as a managing director for JP Morgan on several social media pages.



Campaign contributions filed

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The city’s Campaign Finance Board has posted the following filings for 2013 city and Queens races. Candidates collected these net contributions from May 12 to July 11. Disclosure statements were due July 15.


Adolfo Carrion, Jr.: $1,157,055
John Catsimatidis: $4,018,585
Bill de Blasio: $4,141,972
Joe Lhota: $1,798,839
John Liu: $3,389,446
Christine Quinn: $7,637,577
Bill Thompson, Jr.: $3,943,808
Anthony Weiner: $5,968,061
*candidates who raised above $1 million


Daniel Squadron: $1,401,242
Reshma Saujani: $1,305,612
Letitia James: $691,185
Cathy Guerriero: $227,552
Sidique Wai: $44,779


Scott Stringer: $3,680,289
Eliot Spitzer: unknown
John Burnett: $36,401
Kristin Davis: $391


Peter Vallone Jr.: $1,076,638
Melinda Katz: $658,653
Tony Avella: $70,773
Tony Arcabascio: $4,510


District 19
Austin Shafran: $100,762
Paul Vallone: $81,995
John Duane: $ 81,795
Dennis Saffran: $51,999
Paul Graziano: $23,308
Chrissy Voskerichian: $20,035

District 20
Peter Koo: $367,358
Sunny Hahn: $17,895
Evergreen Chou: $200

District 22
Costa Constantinides: $130,583
Constantinos Prentzas: $25,345
Lynne Serpe: $11,538
Daniel Peterson: $8,466
Danielle De Stefano: $7,021

District 23
Mark Weprin: $223,491

District 24
Rory Lancman: $117,799
Alexander Blishteyn: $17,371
Mujib Rahman: $14,195
Andrea Veras: $9,005

District 26
Jimmy Van Bramer: $144,955

District 27
Daneek Miller: $54,318
Clyde Vanel: $37,107
Manuel Caughman: $29,476
Gregory Mays: $10,635
Sondra Peeden: $5,753

District 28
Hettie Powell: $48,069
Ruben Wills: $37,815
David Kayode: $10,899
Christina Winslow: $2,644
Joseph Marthone: $1,261
Breina Payne: $900

District 29
Karen Koslowitz: $79,239
Jon Torodash: $1,890

District 30
Elizabeth Crowley: $160,263
Craig Caruana: $31,318

District 32
Eric Ulrich: $32,911
Lew Simon: $19,445
William Ruiz: $3,281



Candidates release campaign filings for 2013 city, Queens races

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


The city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB) has posted the following campaign filings for 2013 city and Queens races. More will be trickling in throughout the day.

Candidates collected the following net contributions from January 12 to March 11. Disclosures were due to the CFB today.


  • Joseph Lhota: $731,601
  • John Liu: $105,775
  • John Catsimatidis: $15,950
  • Scott Stringer: $2,550
  • Hilda Broady-Fernandez: $525
  • Philip Marks: $100
  • Kevin Coenen: $0


  • Peter Vallone Jr.: OLD $1,050,646; NEW $22,025
  • Jose Peralta: OLD $134,680; NEW $110,106
  • Barry Grodenchik: OLD $56,773; NEW $48,721
  • Tony Avella: OLD $6,857; NEW $34,216

District 19

  • John Duane: OLD $35,270; NEW $9,190
  • Paul Vallone: OLD $34,700; NEW $4,605
  • Dan Halloran: OLD $24,035; NEW $16,755
  • Matthew Silverstein: OLD $8,654; NEW $703
  • Austin Shafran: $58,802
  • Paul Graziano: $8,760

District 20

  • Peter Koo: OLD $266,190; NEW $30,130

District 22

  • Daniel Peterson: OLD $4,995; NEW $385

District 23

  • Mark Weprin: OLD $137,239; NEW $3,925

District 24

  • Rory Lancman: OLD $85,339; NEW $16,099
  • Andrea Veras: OLD $2,940; NEW $2,710

District 26

  • Jimmy Van Bramer: OLD $111,778; NEW $20,305

District 27

  • Bryan Block: OLD $100; NEW $0
  • Joan Flowers: $8,423

District 28

  • Ruben Wills: OLD $11,510; NEW $725
  • David Kayode: NEW $760

District 29

  • Karen Koslowitz: OLD $57,459; NEW $11,680

District 30

  • Elizabeth Crowley: OLD $132,363; NEW $13,060


Weprin fined for comptroller campaign violations

| mchan@queenscourier.com


A state legislator was penalized thousands of dollars after the city determined his run for comptroller was fraught with violations.

According to the city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB), Assemblymember David Weprin owes $28,184 in total penalties and $325,561 in public funds repayments for a dozen violations his failed election campaign for comptroller committed in 2009.

The offenses include accepting over-the-limit contributions and donations from corporations and unregistered political committees, the CFB said. The campaign also failed to file daily pre-election disclosure statements, did not provide bank statements and did not report or document transactions and credit card expenditures.

Weprin’s 2009 camp was fined close to $4,000 alone for making improper post-election expenditures and $100 for failing to demonstrate that spending was in furtherance of the campaign.

Jen Berkley, a spokesperson for the lawmaker, said the campaign entity and its funds no longer exist after more than three years have passed since the unsuccessful bid.

“This kind of came down to a very small amount of money, not that it shouldn’t be repaid if there is a proper entity to repay it. The issue here is that there is not,” she said. “It’s the downside to an investigation that takes close to four years. We’ll do whatever we can to accommodate and cooperate with the Campaign Finance Board.”

Weprin and his 2009 campaign treasurer are still jointly liable for settling the $28,184 debt for penalties, said CFB spokesperson Eric Friedman, even in the absence of a campaign committee.

The assemblymember will not have to repay the $325,561 in public funds out of pocket, Friedman said, but as long as he has a financial obligation to the CFB, he cannot receive public funds for another citywide election.

“We audit every campaign carefully,” Friedman said. “These are things we take very seriously, and that’s reflected in the results.”

Campaign cash filling coffers

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

If forced to go to “war,” Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. would have the funds to flaunt the biggest arsenal in Queens.
According to recent filings with the city’s Campaign Finance Board, Vallone has a current balance of more than $850,000 — after receiving contributions totaling $1,049,819 — placing him first among the council’s Queens delegation.

“I’m really humbled by the amount of borough-wide support I have,” said the councilmember. “As you can see by the numbers of other elected officials, raising money is very difficult to do. To have this kind of support is really humbling.”

Despite Vallone’s affection for his city council position, he admits he has grander aspirations.

“I would love to stay as a councilmember,” he said. “It is a gratifying position, and it is the closest position to the people. But with term limits, if I want to stay in public service, I have to look at other positions. I am taking a serious look at borough president in two years.”
Councilmembers Elizabeth Crowley and Mark Weprin are a distant second and third on the list, with balances of $92,114 and $90,627 respectively.
Crowley, like Vallone and numerous other Queens politicians, filed in the “undeclared” category, allowing for fundraising for city-wide and borough-wide offices, as well as re-election to their council seats.

“I take my responsibility to serve my constituents and the City of New York in the council very seriously, and my recent filing shows I have strong support within the community to continue my work,” Crowley said. “I look forward to years of continuing this service and am optimistic about the future.”
Weprin, who is rumored to be interested in the Council Speaker spot once Christine Quinn’s term has ended, says he has raised most of his money in the past six months.
“I’m running for re-election in 2013, so I’m raising money to make sure I am fully prepared to run,” Weprin said. “I’m enjoying my time in the council, and I hope my constituents think I have been doing a good job. I am just trying to prepare early because I believe it is good to be armed from early on. It is way too early to discuss leadership in the City Council. First I have to be re-elected.”


District 26 Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer is fourth, raising $70,230 and spending $39,279.

Despite filing under the “undeclared category,” Van Bramer says he plans to run only for re-election of his council seat.
“I am really grateful for all of the support that I have been shown by people who believe in the work that I am doing,” he said. “I have heard my name bandied about for other things, and I find that flattering. But I really love my job, and I fully expect to continue doing that. For me, [filing under “undeclared”] is meaningless.”
Councilmember Dan Halloran ranks seventh – behind Councilmembers Daniel Dromm and Julissa Ferreras – with a remainder of $6,463.

Halloran also filed “undeclared,” fueling speculation that he may have plans to make a run at Senator Tony Avella’s seat.