An update on City Council member Alan Gerson's battle to obtain matching funds from the New York City Campaign Finance Board. A short time ago, we spoke with Gerson's consultant, George Arzt, to find out if he's optimistic about receiving the money on the last pay day next Friday (four days before the Primary). But first – a bit of explanation (that's usually necessary in any story concerning the contentious First District Council race). Earlier this week, City Hall News talked to Gerson about his predicament:
Gerson said that his election lawyer, Lawrence Mandelker,
had met with representatives from the CFB on Tuesday to discuss the situation.
He said the holdup was over a complaint filed by opponent Pete Gleason, who has
asserted that Gerson illegally used the taxpayer funded non-profit the United
Jewish Council of the East Side for his campaign work. Gerson said Mandelker,
however, was assured by the CFB that Gerson would be getting matching funds “if
not this week, then next week.”
Gerson was not eligible for the first payment because, acting on a complaint from Gleason, the Board of Elections removed him from the ballot (a court later ordered the board to reverse that decision) Today, Arzt said the Gleason complaint has nothing to do with this most recent hold-up. He told me that due to mistakes contributors made on required forms, the campaign was about 15 short of the number of donors required to qualify for matching funds. Arzt believes the problem will be cleared up by next week.
A source familiar with the city's campaign finance law indicated that the Gleason complaint would most likely be dealt with in a post-election audit – and is probably not the reason Gerson's most recent payment has been withheld.
Eric Friedman, CFB press secretary, refused to confirm that there is an ongoing investigation of Gerson's finances. He said, as a matter of policy, the board does not disclose any information about its inquiries until a final decision is made. How transparent!
The board's next meeting is next Friday. September 11th. Arzt said, if the CFB denies Gerson's matching funds, it simply means they'll raise more private money.
Meanwhile, this afternoon, the campaign announced two new endorsements: The Corrections Officer Benevolent Association and NARAL Pro Choice New York.