Fees and Thank You

Carl Andrews runs for Congress, trying to shed ties to King of Kings County Clarence Norman

The same Brooklyn D.A. who convicted Norman, Joe Hynes, is investigating Feinberg now, and a source close to the office said Andrews's auctioneer business has been mentioned in that probe. But Andrews insisted that he hasn't been questioned in either the Feinberg investigation or any of the far-reaching Hynes inquiries about Norman. "They asked me one question through my attorney," said Andrews, adding that "when you look at what Clarence was convicted of, I had nothing to do with that."

Andrews said Feinberg was merely involved in "indiscretions"—though Jimmy Breslin more accurately wrote that Feinberg's office "takes everything but the bones from the dead." Andrews added that "Clarence's conviction was a disappointment to me personally" and "has stained the history of his Kings County leadership." But he said Norman had done a lot of "good things and bad things," then corrected himself and said "questionable things," adding that he would "leave it to historians" to weigh the record. While he said that Norman would "not wind up on my payroll" if he was elected to Congress, he would not answer questions about whether he would use his congressional office to benefit Norman less directly.

Spitzer endorsed Andrews at a press conference last month, citing his "effusive smile, his charm, his wit" and has raised an estimated $20,000 to $40,000 for him. Andrews ran Spitzer's field operation in his 1998 race and worked for him in the AG's office until a county committee controlled by Norman installed him as a state senator in 2002. A Daily News story in 1998 noted that Andrews was hired by the Spitzer campaign within a couple of days of Norman's endorsement. Norman recently married Vernice Williams, who was hired by Spitzer's office to work under Andrews while he headed the intergovernmental unit. Neither Spitzer's spokesman nor Andrews could spell out what Andrews's role might have been in hiring her, but Andrews said that she and Norman "had just met when she was hired by the AG" in 1999.

Though it has been repeatedly reported that Andrews wound up on the campaign payroll of candidates Norman endorsed, earning $138,000 over a few years, he has taken surprisingly little heat so far in the congressional campaign due to these connections. That's partly because of his recognized ability as a campaign operative—which may have justified some of these payments. But he has no prior experience as a court-appointed overseer of troubled properties, and the singling out of him by the IG focuses attention on the public booty that his primary political relationship brought him.

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