Sunday, June 26, 2011

Architect admits gift to former White House urban czar Adolfo Carrion

BY Greg B. Smith

Sunday, June 26th 2011, 4:00 AM

Adolfo Carrion in 2010.
Ron Antonelli/News
Adolfo Carrion in 2010.

A Bronx architect says he did not bill ex-White House urban czar Adolfo Carrion for work on his home as a gift to the public official, the Daily News has learned.

"He got from me a gift because I didn't send him a bill. That's the way it is," architect Hugo Subotovsky told the Daily News.

This contradicts the statement Carrion made when The News first revealed the arrangement in March 2009. At the time, Carrion said he hadn't paid Subotovsky because the architect had yet to finish a "final survey."

At issue is whether the non-payment broke any laws. City officials can't take gifts from anyone they know "is or intends to become engaged in business dealings with the city."

Subotovsky gave Carrion his "gift" in 2006 and 2007, when Carrion was still Bronx borough president. President Obama later made Carrion his "urban czar."

While working on Carrion's home, Subotovsky had several building projects that needed the beep's approval.

Carrion would also be required to report outside income, and there's no mention on his financial disclosure forms of the work.

Carrion has since left the White House to run the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's northeast office.

Subotovsky's work on Carrion's home ended in early 2007, yet Carrion made no payments on it until more than two years later in April 2009 - days after The News revealed the arrangement.

In a recent interview, Subotovsky said Carrion had asked him to draft blueprints for a front porch redesign of a Victorian two-family home Carrion had bought on City Island.

Though he did not usually handle such small jobs, Subotovsky says he took the job anyway.

At the time, several of his big developments in the Bronx needed Carrion's backing.

Borough presidents can block projects by recommending that the planning commission reject them.

Carrion had approved some of Subotovsky's projects at the time the architect was working on his house. Other Subotovsky projects awaited Carrion's signature.

On Jan. 22, 2007, for instance, records show Subotovsky handled documents related to Carrion's house on the same day a housing development he was designing sent plans to Carrion for his approval.

Subotovsky last filed documents with the city regarding Carrion's home in February 2007. At one point, he said, Carrion's wife emailed him about the cost of the job.

Subotovsky said he did not send Carrion a bill, and neither Carrion nor his wife made further inquiries on payment.

That changed after The News story appeared. The White House told Carrion to pay the bill, and several days later, Carrion said he did.

Carrion left the White House for HUD in May 2010. He declined requests for comment.

Subotovsky said after The News story appeared, Carrion contacted him about a bill. Subotovsky said he sent an invoice for $4,200 and Carrion paid it.

After The News story in March 2009, both the Bronx District Attorney and the city Department of Investigation opened probes. Subotovsky said he was questioned by both.

Bronx DA spokesman Steven Reed said the review was closed because "no evidence of any wrongdoing on (Carrion's) part developed during the inquiry."

The DOI's inquiry remains open, sources familiar with the matter say.

gsmith@nydailynews.com

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