City Comptroller John Liu refunded more than $14,000 worth of contributions implicated in the straw donor scheme that has overshadowed his campaign, new campaign filings show.
Mr. Liu, whose former treasurer and a fund-raiser were found guilty earlier this month on federal campaign finance fraud charges, returned 29 contributions, which ranged from $50 to $1,000, the filings show.
Former State Senator Shirley Huntley, who pleaded guilty in February to falsifying evidence and attempting to cover up her embezzle efforts, was sentenced in court today to a year and a day in jail. In addition, she will have to pay $87,700 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“The crux of this case has always been the defendant Shirley Huntley’s greed and self-interest,” United States Attorney Loretta Lynch announced in a statement. “Promising to provide much needed assistance to the parents of New York City public schoolchildren, … Shirley Huntley violated the public trust and betrayed her constituents by stealing public funds for her own benefit.”
Ms. Lynch added, “Today’s sentence should send a clear message: we will bring to justice those who corrupt the system of laws upon which our community relies.”
West Side Story
City Comptroller John Liu’s mayoral bid secured its first major endorsement last night following the convictions of his former campaign treasurer and a fund-raiser on fraud charges, giving him a symbolic victory as he seeks to soldier on in his electoral quest.
The Three Parks Independent Democrats, one of the Upper West Side’s major political clubs, delivered its support to Mr. Liu, who has defiantly campaigned since verdicts while insisting he can still win.
Several days ago, State Senator James Sanders reacted to the news that his predecessor wore a wire in an attempt to reduce her corruption sentence, by criticizing her for “snitching.” Well, the New York Post didn’t take kindly to that, and this morning, the publication editorialized harshly against Mr. Sanders, claiming he “seems to be endorsing the crime-abetting law of street thugs.”
Mr. Sanders released a follow-up statement this afternoon taking exception to the Post‘s characterization. “Snitching,” Mr. Sanders wrote, was only in the context of entrapment, which he insisted the editorial missed.
City Comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu continued his no-apologies tour after his former campaign treasurer and a fund-raiser were found guilty on campaign finance fraud charges last week, charging Monday that his rivals’ campaigns would also face issues if they were subjected to similar scrutiny.
“I am confident that if any campaign in New York City or elsewhere was subject to the level of scrutiny that my campaign has been put under–and that Jenny has been put under–we would be far head and shoulders above everybody else,” Mr. Liu said during an interview on NY1 last night.
I get knocked down
For nearly any other candidate, two guilty verdicts in the trial of a trusted treasurer and fund-raiser on campaign finance fraud charges would spell the end of his or her campaign. But this is John Liu.
The city comptroller soldiered on with his campaign on Friday, attending a fund-raiser where he vowed to not only continue his campaign but win the race—and slammed the feds’ case in the process, taunting them to “put up or shut up” yet again.
“I am speechless,” Mr. Liu said from the living room of the opulent Cobble Hill home, where several dozen supporters had gathered to hear from the candidate. “When I walked in, I was speechless. I mean, this has been an amazing experience, an amazing ride. You could never make this stuff up,” he said, insisting he can still win again and again.
Hours after his former treasurer and a fund-raiser were found guilty on campaign fraud charges, City Comptroller John Liu said he was “proud” of his campaign and vowed to carry on with his bid to become the city’s next mayor.
“I’m deeply saddened by the turn of events today. I continue to believe that Jenny’s a good person, and we will continue to ask the voters of this city for their support in my campaign to be mayor of New York City,” he told reporters after a forum in Brooklyn, where he continued to act as though nothing had changed.
Comptroller John Liu said he’s saddened by the guilty verdict this afternoon against two of his former associates–a one-time campaign treasurer for his mayoral bid and a former donor–but he insisted it’s not going to slow him down.
“I am deeply saddened by the verdict. I continue to believe in Jenny being a good person and exceptional individual,” he said in a statement released by his campaign, referring to Jia “Jenny” Hou, his former aide.
End of the Linen
Earlier this afternoon, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced both the arrest and conviction of Mohanbhai “Mohan” Ramchandani, who pleaded guilty to felony tax-evasion charges. In the press release detailing the case, Mr. Ramchandani was labeled a “prominent tailor,” and indeed he has styled many members of the city’s political class including former mayors Rudy Giuliani (conservative, two-button suit in blue and gray) and Ed Koch (classic, no darts, straight pants and suspender buttons).
The Huntley Becomes the Hunted
Former State Senator Shirley Huntley, who has already plead guilty to federal embezzlement charges, decided to settle her affairs this morning by pleading guilty to separate state-based charges of tampering with evidence during the embezzlement investigation. Specifically, in the words of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman when he unveiled the indictment last summer, Ms. Huntley was accused of “falsifying business records, conspiracy and tampering with an investigation in a scheme to steal taxpayer money using a sham nonprofit that did not provide any services to the public whatsoever.”
Ms. Huntley initially maintained her innocence, including issuing a forceful declaration in an “Emergency Press Conference” on her front lawn. This morning, however, the former southeastern Queens lawmaker reversed course and directly admitted to breaking the law to benefit Parent Workshop, the “sham nonprofit.”