Ferrer's Campaign Scandal

Sidekick Ramirez and Friends Snared 2001 Bonanza

In a Voice interview, Ferrer said he "didn't see much of the printed stuff," but that what he did see was "adequate." However, other observers in and out of the Ferrer campaign harshly criticized its quality. Ferrer added that he knew nothing about the selection process or Ramirez's ties to Northeast's owners. Asked if it concerned him that Miranda helped pick a printer owned by his partners in another venture, Ferrer replied: "It would concern me if he was a partner in the printing company."

Northeast was incorporated by Keisman in 1995—a few months after Ramirez was installed with Ferrer's assistance as Bronx Democratic boss—and soon became the favorite printer of Bronx pols, even doing holiday mailings for the borough president's office. Keisman says it's coincidental that he became a partner in the newspaper just as his friend Ramirez was taking over the county party, attributing it instead to his working on a Bronx Chamber of Commerce study with Collazi, owner of the paper since it began in 1981.

Keisman concedes that after he joined the paper and Ramirez became leader, the Bronx Times-Reporter's share of legal notices from the Bronx courthouse soared, with the last issue, for example, containing 95 ads stretched over five pages, by far the biggest advertiser in the paper. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Riverdale Press, which, unlike the Bronx Times, has been a frequent critic of the Bronx machine, had 22 ads. Supreme and Surrogate Court clerks and judges tied to the organization place the ads, and law firms pay for them.

Since his election, Carrion named Miranda and Keisman to his transition committee, and retained Mirram as his campaign consultant. But he recently split with the Ramirez firm. Similarly, new Bronx boss Jose Rivera says he's giving the county's printing to printers other than Northeast, and Ferrer says he doesn't know if he'll use Northeast should he run again in 2005. The shocking price tag on Ramirez-tied services—even with legitimate costs like Northeast's postage and Miranda Y Mas's advertising airtime factored in—may well be one reason Ferrer lost. And surely, if Hynes has a basis to look at the Norman and Branford expenditures in Brooklyn, this incestuous nest in the Bronx should be of interest to D.A. Robert Johnson.

Research assistance: Zoe Alsop, Michael Anstendig, Ross Goldberg, Phineas Lambert, Naomi Lindt, Brittany Schaeffer, Jessica Silver-Greenberg

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