It's pretty simple and it happens all the time. A political hack like Christine Quinn (A) provides taxpayer funds to another political hack, like Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz (B). Money goes from A to B, and some time later an endorsement comes from B to A, the latter of whom is seeking higher office.
They deny any connection. They say the endorsement is because of her "overwhelming competence and accomplishments."
It's like politicians who facing a sex scandal and who resign to "spend more time with their families." Everyone knows it's crap, except maybe the press who seem to accept the excuse as fact.
It is telling that before he was Borough President, Markowitz -- a state senator -- was known as "Mr. Tenant" from his unyielding support for tenants.
That came to an end once he was elected Borough President. Same too for Quinn. Before she entered City Council, she had a record as a tenant advocate. Like Marty, that ended once she had access to money and her ambition ramped up.
And while Markowitz will be out of office by the end of the year, you can be certain he's thinking about becoming a City Commissioner in a Quinn administration.
How many others are in the same relationship with Quinn?
Look at Tom Duane, Quinn's predecessor in City Council and for the last fourteen years, a state senator. He resigned last year allowing Brad Hoylman, the former General Counsel for the Partnership for New York City (the landlord and developer trade association), to become the new state senator without any serious opposition. You can be sure Duane is looking for a job with Mayor Quinn.
In City Council you can almost count the participants in this incestuous type of bribery by the members of the body itself.
Indeed, it is just like the Slush Fund for which Quinn so far has escaped accountability.
For council members, the fear is well documented and real. If you don't agree to endorse Quinn, not only will you not get the goodies she can bestow on your local political cronies, you might also get punished by having funds withheld for seniors and youth programs in your district.
Those who haven't played Quinn's game, and who have suffered include Tony Avella, Charles Barron, Betsy Gotbaum, Peter Vallone, Jr. and Elizabeth Crowley. Many more have been threatened.
After the jump, see how Crains New York detailed Quinn's bribery of Marty Markowitz.
Quinn directed more than $1M to Markowitz charities
Crains New York
by Chris Bragg
April 18, 2013
On Thursday, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz endorsed Council Speaker Christine Quinn of Manhattan for mayor. While two of her rival candidates have deep Brooklyn roots, Ms. Quinn has directed more than $1 million to three nonprofits closely tied to Mr. Markowitz and his office over the past three city budgets, records show.
In 2013, $175,000 went to Best of Brooklyn, one of the nonprofits, and since 2011, another $400,000 went to the Martin Luther King Jr. concert series. And since 2011, another $450,000 has gone to the Seaside Summer Concert Series. All the member items are designated as being from the "Council," which in essence means they were under the speaker's direct control. Both concert series, which are popular, free to attend and typically feature high-profile performers, are heavily touted and treasured by the borough president, who also secures corporate sponsorship for them.
"My endorsement of Speaker Quinn is reflective of her overwhelming competence and her long list of accomplishments as City Council Speaker," said Mr. Markowitz in a statement. "The City Council's support for these non-profit organizations helps to improve the lives of tens of thousands of Brooklyn residents and businesses from boosting tourism to providing free concerts. I commend not just Speaker Quinn, but the speakers before her and the entire Brooklyn City Council delegation for their role in this funding and all funding for Brooklyn non-profits."
In 2009 and 2010, the City Council as a whole did not give member items to the Markowitz-tied charities, an online City Council member item database indicates.
However, Ms. Quinn's campaign said that she in fact had provided funding for both Markowitz-allied concert series during the entirety of her speakership, as had former Council Speaker Gifford Miller, who provided even higher levels of support.
"The City has been providing support for the Martin Luther King and Seaside Concert Series for over a decade, and providing support for the Best of Brooklyn since 2005, long before Christine Quinn was City Council Speaker," Ms. Quinn's campaign said in a statement. "The concerts draw thousands of people to the borough providing untold economic benefits and Best of Brooklyn does everything from sending underserved children to camp to promoting tourism in the borough."
In 2011, The New York Times wrote an article scrutinizing the web of Mr. Markowitz's nonprofits, noting that they acted as quasi-governmental agencies for the borough president. The story noted, for instance, that the "nonprofit network is so intertwined with his office that anyone who wants to hold events in Brooklyn Borough Hall…pays a fee to one of the charities, Best of Brooklyn, not to the city." Media reports have suggested a political element to the corporate sponsorships, notably that Mr. Markowitz softened his stance on Walmart after the retail giant gave money to one of his concert series.
Mr. Markowitz backed Ms. Quinn over Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a Brooklyn resident, and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who has deep ties in the borough. Mr. Markowitz, in discussing his endorsement of Ms. Quinn with the Daily News, cited her "help after Hurricane Sandy and her commitment to reviving the Brooklyn Navy Yard."
"I mean no disrespect to the other candidates. But I think she is the right choice," Mr. Markowitz told the publication.
While Mr. de Blasio, who is from New England, has been a Brooklyn resident for decades and was a school board member and City Council representative there, he and Mr. Markowitz have not been close political allies. However, Mr. Markowitz did back Mr. de Blasio for public advocate in 2009.
Mr. Thompson, the son of a former Brooklyn elected official and state Supreme Court judge, lived in Brooklyn for decades before moving to Harlem several years ago, but there is some political history between him and Mr. Markowitz that would have made an endorsement unlikely irrespective of council funding from Ms. Quinn: Nearly 30 years ago Mr. Markowitz sought to oust Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden, for whom Mr. Thompson served as deputy borough president. There was deep enmity between the Markowitz and Golden camps.
Ms. Quinn's campaign did not immediately provide a comment.
Dick Dadey, the executive director of good-government group Citizens Union, which is not opposed to member items, said the council's donations to Mr. Markowitz's nonprofits raised questions.
"I think it's troubling that the council provided money to the borough president's nonprofits, which are then used to promote Markowitz and his other interests," Mr. Dadey said.
Recently, The Wall Street Journal wrote about another group, the Association for Neighborhood Housing and Development, that has gotten more than $100,000 from the council the past three years and is pushing a housing plan similar to Ms. Quinn's.