President Barack Obama’s appointee as director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from developers whose projects he approved.
A probe by the New York Daily News also disclosed that Carrion often pocketed donations shortly before or after he approved the projects or funded them with taxpayer money.
“A top source for Carrion’s campaign cash comes from a publicly funded project to build 679 units of housing and a 14-story tower” at Boricua College in the Bronx, the News reported.
Officials at the project’s developer, Atlantic Development Group, and Boricua College contributed nearly $70,000 to Carrion. Atlantic needed Carrion and his planning commission representative to approve zoning changes enabling construction of the tower.
Carrion received donations less than a month after the first application for the project was filed in March 2006. Carrion approved the application in March 2007.
Then in July of last year, Carrion, who assumes his White House post on Monday, announced that he was sponsoring $3 million in taxpayer funds for the project. He subsequently sponsored another $4.5 million for the project, according to the News.
Another example the newspaper cited involved efforts by a real estate group to build housing on the site of an old brewery in the Bronx. By November 2007, 41 contributions to Carrion from the developer, Jackson Development Group, totaled more tha $35,000. In May of last year, Carrion approved the project, and two months later announced that he was sponsoring $3 million in taxpayer funds for the project.
The New York Times also reported on Carrion’s questionable actions as borough president, asserting that he “received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from several individuals who worked for developers, companies or institutions building retail, housing or other developments in the borough, often as plans for those projects were still winding through the approval process.”
After Carrion was questioned by the News regarding contributions from these and other sources, he issued a statement on Saturday that read in part: “Teachers, parents, police officers, firefighters, members of the business community and concerned citizens have all contributed to the borough president’s efforts to strengthen the Bronx and stimulate the local economy and he is proud to have such wide-ranging support.”
Carrion began his tenure as borough president in 2001. During his campaign for the post, Time magazine reported, he was arrested along with Al Sharpton for trespassing while protesting U.S. Navy bomb tests on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico.
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