Wednesday, March 6, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Adolfo Carrion's mayoral campaign hits new snag as improprieties with borough president war chest discovered

Money from Carrion's campaign fund during his days as Bronx borough president have expenditures that are unaccounted for, the News has learned. City Board of Elections spokesman says BXNY PAC may have violated laws that forbid political committees from distributing more than $100 in cash and for not detailing the purpose of spending over $50. Records show there were $15,800 in unspecificed cash payments.

YOUR HOME - Bronx Boro President Adolfo Carrion at the Bronx Courthouse --

Watts, Susan

Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion has already been fined for mismanaging of campaign funds, now he is facing more legal trouble with his borough president campaign war chest, BXNY PAC.

Mayoral hopeful Adolfo Carrion may be in more hot water over his political finances.
As Bronx borough president, he created a political fund that regularly made large cash disbursements in apparent violation of state election law, the Daily News has learned.
The existence of the political committee, BXNY PAC, was not widely known until now. It received $172,000 in contributions, mostly from developers and other business interests with dealings in the Bronx, records show.
Carrion’s committee made cash payments of $500 — $15,800 in all — but didn’t specify what the money was for, records obtained by The News show.
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The fund spent another $3,380 on unspecified “expenses” and $2,789 more to pay off a credit card bill, again without listing the charges that were incurred.
Board of Elections spokesman Tom Connolly said it appears that the PAC violated laws that forbid political committees from distributing more than $100 in cash and that require them to detail the purpose of all spending over $50.
“They still have to account for what the petty cash went to,” Connolly told The News. “Based on the information right here, there’d be no way for us to say what the petty cash went to.”
Susan Lerner, of the watchdog group Common Cause, singled out the size and number of cash disbursements as “amazing,” adding, “Who’s getting this money?”
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She said the election laws Carrion’s PAC apparently violated were written to ensure that donations are not used for personal purposes.
ADOLFO6N_2_WEB

Lombard, Mariela Freelance NYDN

More than $15,000 in campaign finance funds have been doled out as unspecified cash payments. The city Board of Elections says it appears mayoral hopeful Adolfo Carrion may have broken the law for not accounting for the payouts.

The disclosure rules were set up to ensure campaign money is spent for political purposes, Lerner noted.
Asked for comment, a Carrion campaign spokesman promised a response within two weeks, after the campaign had time to review the PAC’s records.
According to the records, BXNY PAC was created in 2001 “to support candidates and causes that promote good government.” But it gave only 13% of its money — $24,000 — directly to candidates and other political committees.
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The committee paid another $49,000 to the Mirram Group, a consulting firm run by onetime Bronx Democratic boss Roberto Ramirez.
The remainder of the money was spent on meals, hotels and airline tickets — in addition to the cash disbursements and the payment of the unspecified expenses.
The PAC spent $6,000 on meals at a host of upscale restaurants, from Balthazar in lower Manhattan to Amadeus in San Juan. It spent $1,266 on hotel and airfare for Carrion to attend a Democratic National Committee meeting in Las Vegas.
The city’s Independence Party, last month endorsed Carrion, hailing him as a political reformer.
Sources said Carrion quietly formed BXNY PAC as he considered running for statewide office. It was registered with the state Board of Elections and never was audited.
Carrion later set up another committee — Carrion 2005 — to finance his reelection as borough president. It was registered with the city Campaign Finance Board.
A Campaign Finance Board audit later found that Carrion 2005 ran up $30,000 on items such as travel to Puerto Rico and Disney World not related to his borough president campaign. One of the expenses cited was an eight-dollar McDonalds bill. In 2007, the Campaign Finance Board found he broke the rules and fined him $6,875.
gsmith@nydailynews.com
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