Thursday, May 1, 2008

Council Speaker Quinn gave to nonprofit - & she got 16G

Thursday, May 1st 2008, 4:00 AM

Speaker Christine Quinn was one of 14 City Council members who sponsored $260,000 in "discretionary funds" for the Hetrick-Martin Institute last year.

But only she got some $16,000 in campaign donations from its board members - 16 times more than the combined amount received by other co-sponsors.

Current and former Hetrick-Martin board members - including Quinn's partner, Kim Catullo - gave Quinn $16,025 in campaign donations between May 2007 and Jan. 11, records show.

Catullo, a lawyer who lives with Quinn in Chelsea, kicked in $4,950. Catullo referred all questions to Quinn's office.

Last year, Quinn disclosed Catullo's unpaid position on the nonprofit's board to city conflict-of-interest officials.

She told reporters yesterday she sought "extra guidance" from the Council's lawyers about Catullo.

"They gave out the guidance that it was fine as long I continued to disclose," Quinn explained.

Misuse of Council "discretionary funding" is at the heart of a growing probe by the city Department of Investigation and the Manhattan U.S. attorney. Yesterday, Quinn emphasized, "I am not a target of the investigation."

Hetrick-Martin board members who gave to Quinn include Scott Cooper ($5,450), Michael Longacre ($3,000) and Thomas Koveleskie ($125). Ross Hamachek, the board's treasurer, contributed $2,000 to Quinn, and former board member Catherine Pino gave Quinn $500.

Quinn campaign consultant Mark Guma said Quinn "received a handful of contributions from LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] leaders, some of whom are longtime personal friends, who serve as volunteer board members to one of the nation's most respected organizations serving LGBT youth - an organization that has been funded by the city for more than a decade. She's proud to have their support."

He noted the $16,000 was a small part of the $2.4 million Quinn has raised.

Two other Council members who co-sponsored fiscal 2008 funding for Hetrick-Martin received contributions from a Hetrick-Martin board member.

Catullo gave Councilwoman Jessica Lappin $750 and Councilwoman Rosie Mendez $150 in 2004 and 2005.

Thomas Krever, Hetrick-Martin's director, wouldn't comment on campaign contributions, but insisted the institute provides programs with "integrity."

The 2008 funds were used for after-school programs, Krever said.

"We're really proud of the work we do," Krever said. "We're saving lives."

The Hetrick-Martin Institute, which supports a city school for gay and lesbian students, has received more than $800,000 from the City Council since fiscal 2006.

Post a Comment