Candidates trade barbs over misuse of power
By Adam Wisnieski
Campaigns for Cliff Stanton and Andrew Cohen have accused each other of varying degrees of impropriety.
Mr. Stanton says that Mr. Cohen’s campaign has broken campaign finance law by allowing Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz to promote the candidate using state money.
Mr. Cohen and two of his powerful supporters, Councilman Oliver Koppell and Mr. Dinowitz, say Mr. Stanton’s campaign manager is politicizing the PS 24 Parents’ Association for Mr. Stanton’s benefit.
One month after Mr. Cohen announced his candidacy on the steps of City Hall with the support of Mr. Dinowitz and other elected officials, Mr. Dinowitz hosted a tour of town hall meetings at four senior centers. Other elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and state Sen. Jeff Klein, attended some of the sessions. Mr. Cohen — who had never spoken at a town hall meeting before — was the guest speaker at each.
“This is clearly not your traditional town hall forum. This is a clear campaign event,” Mr. Stanton said. “Dinowitz endorsed him and then following that, he took him on a little dog and pony show to promote him.”
Mr. Cohen said he attended the town hall meetings as the Aging Committee chair, not as a City Council candidate. Acting solely within the confines of his community board leadership position does not break campaign finance rules.
Still, Mr. Dinowitz called for City Council candidate Tony Cassino to be removed from his leadership position on Community Board 8 four years ago for engaging in similar activities.
Back then, Mr. Dinowitz and Mr. Koppell told The Press that they called several board members to tell them they thought Mr. Cassino should not keep his Traffic and Transportation Committee chairmanship while running for City Council. Soon after, nine members of CB 8 tried and failed to oust Mr. Cassino at a board meeting.
But at last month’s Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club endorsement meeting, Mr. Dinowitz listed community board services as a reason why Mr. Cohen was better than the other candidates, Mr. Stanton and Shelley Keeling.
Keywordscity council, election, primary, cliff stanton, andrew cohen, jeffrey dinowitz, oliver koppell, politics, campaign finance, adam wisnieski