Monday, February 18, 2013

Gothamist In Showdown with New York City Council Over Slush Funds FOIL Request

Is Phil Monaco trying to protect his boss, Christine Quinn ?

Phil Monaco, a staff attorney in the New York City Council general counsel’s office, is warning Councilmembers about an e-mail from a staffer “who works for the Gothamist,” who is following up on a Freedom of Information Law (or FOIL) request.

The FOIL request was being made as part of an investigation by Gothamist into the "finances of City Council members," reported the local news blog Politicker.

Gothamist is investigating how Councilmembers are paid their reimbursable expenses and their standard office expense allowances, but Mr. Monaco is trying to shut down any attempts to investigate City Council payments. In his e-mail to Councilmembers, Mr. Monaco was trying to reassure Councilmembers that he was trying his best to shut down the Gothamist's investigation. "These emails are NOT legitimate FOIL requests. And they do not require a response, as they are not proper requests under the law," Mr. Monaco wrote. "There is nothing your offices need to do at this time."

For years, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was being investigated for the illegal practice of making discretionary budget allocations of taxpayer money to fictitious accounts, so that she could later use those slush funds for political purposes.

In the Politicker report, the publisher and co-founder of Gothamist, Jake Dobkin, confirmed that Gothamist had “about 40 FOILs open right now.”

How much longer before the Gothamist turns up more evidence of how Speaker Quinn has become a total political boss with all the attendant misuse of political power and taxpayer money ?

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