It was one of the flash points of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s bid to overturn term limits and clear the way for a third term: officials and workers with the Doe Fund, a nonprofit group that works with the city’s homeless, testifying at Mr. Bloomberg’s behest before the City Council in support of his effort.
“There’s a reason Mayor Bloomberg is at 70 percent popularity,” George T. McDonald, the president of the Doe Fund, told the lawmakers, who ultimately voted to allow Mr. Bloomberg to seek another four years in office. “He acts in the best interests of the city of New York, and so should you.” Mr. McDonald was one of about 20 Doe Fund employees who testified that day in October 2008.
To critics of Mr. Bloomberg’s efforts to extend term limits, including some candidates who had prepared to run for mayor, the Doe Fund officials’ appearance amounted to a clear conflict of interest. For one thing, the organization, which has provided help to the homeless, drug addicts and ex-inmates for a quarter-century, has been awarded tens of millions of dollars in city contracts.
What was unknown in the fall of 2008, though, was just how much the Doe Fund had benefited from Mr. Bloomberg’s personal philanthropy. A review of Doe Fund documents and tax returns, as well as e-mail messages from the group and interviews with people knowledgeable about its finances, shows that Mr. Bloomberg, through his charitable arms, has regularly given millions of dollars to the group since he became mayor — at least $10 million of which came after the City Council hearings on term limits.
“There is probably no clearer example of how Mike Bloomberg uses his immense private wealth for public power in a fashion that is unprecedented not only at the city level but at the state and national levels, as well,” Douglas A. Muzzio, a professor at the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College, said, referring to the Doe Fund.
Mayor Bloomberg' third term is turning into a scandal-fest.
First we have the Independence Party scandal wherein Mayor Moneybags gave "poll-watching money" to John Haggerty that Haggerty instead used to buy a house in Forest Hills.
Haggerty was indicted in June of stealing $1.1 million from Bloomberg.
Haggerty is now threatening to embarrass Bloomberg at his trial by telling everybody "where the bodies are buried" and opening up Bloomberg's way of doing politics to the world.
Next we have the various conflicts of interests the people working for Bloomberg have engaged in:
A deputy mayor owns stock in the company building the controversial Atlantic Yards stadium - and the police commissioner takes rides on the mayor's plane.
Those are two of the eyebrow-raising disclosures in the annual ethics forms released Tuesday for top officials in Mayor Bloomberg's administration.
Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson reported owning $5,000 to $40,000 worth of stock in Forest City Enterprises, the parent company of the firm developing a stadium and apartments over former railyards in Brooklyn with up to $205 million in city subsidies.
- NYPD boss Raymond Kelly took five flights to Florida on the mayor's private jet - "value unknown."
- Finance Commissioner David Frankel, who joined the administration last year, received a retirement package from Morgan Stanley worth more than $500,000 - and also collected less than $5,000 worth of unemployment checks.
- Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who wants to get New Yorkers out of their cars, owns stock worth $10,000 to $80,000 in Anadarko Petroleum and Occidental Petroleum.
- Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden, an heiress and upper East Side neighbor of the mayor, reported assets worth at least $13.4 million - and possibly much more. The values are reported as a range, not as exact figures.
- Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs lent ex-Communications Director Jim Anderson $60,000 to $100,000. Loeser said lawyers vetted the loan and found no conflict.
We also had the mayor's vaunted "education miracle" exposed as phony when the NYSED admitted that state test scores were inflated and released scores for 2010 that showed the achievement gap for minority students has grown larger since Bloomberg got control of the school system and scores for reading and math are lower than they were four years ago.
And now we have the Times story about how Bloomberg steered millions the way of charities who helped him get his illegal third term by "convincing" lawmakers to overturn term limits without putting the change to a vote.
I have said repeatedly that third terms are funky things and Moneybags should watch out what he wishes for.
Bad things can happen when you're around for 12 years.
The scandals that stayed buried for the first eight years start to get unearthed in year nine.
Remember what happened to Ed Koch his third term?
Nearly all of Koch's cronies were carted out of office in handcuffs or committed suicide under the duress of scandal.
How Koch avoided jail is beyond me, but he still skulked out of office in disgrace.
I doubt Bloomberg is going to get nailed on any criminal offense (although one can always hope), but I suspect as more and more of these stories come to light that the mayor may be doing some skulking out of town on his own.
Betcha Bloomberg pushes to have Cyrus Vance make a deal with Haggerty.
The last thing Moneybags wants is Haggerty telling stories on the stand about how Bloomberg got "elected" to a third term.