By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
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In 2005, Moore was also paid $20,000 by Diana Johnson, a Supreme Court judge running for surrogate; $56,142 by another civil court candidate, Norma Jennings; $3,000 by district attorney candidate John Sampson; $30,000 by mayoral candidate Gifford Miller; and $74,450 by City Council candidate Letitia James. All but James lost, and most of them had hired Moore before he even incorporated his fledgling firm in June. Moore was also paid $11,150 by Norman's assembly committee, and even got $3,375 from Mark Green's 2001 mayoral campaign. Another $245,000 payment that Green simultaneously made to Norman's club is still the subject of a Hynes grand jury probe, though Green has personally been cleared of any charges.
"I consider Carl a friend, I consider Clarence a friend," Moore says. "I'm thankful for what Clarence did for the community." Moore cited his work for Jennings, however, as an example of his independence, claiming that Andrews and Norman supported Sylvia Ash, who defeated Jennings last year. Actually, Norman and the Brooklyn party remained neutral in the race, while Andrews's support of Ash was nominal. Pressed by the Voice about whether he discussed his Jennings work with Andrews before signing on, Moore said he did. "He told me, 'God bless you. Good luck.' "
Moore produced a book of one-page sign-in sheets verifying that he paid nearly a hundred campaign workers small sums in 2005, but the records did not indicate what candidate they were working for or contain an overall tally. There was also no record deducting the wages paid from the total Moore received, so it was impossible to determine what his profit was. He estimated it at a meager $10,000 to $15,000, insisting that he hired too many workers. He's doubled the size of his storefront recently and says he expects to do much better in 2006.
The Moore largesse is part of a pattern of massive payments by many campaigns over the years to Norman and Andrews affiliatesincluding $93,000 in payments to Tahaka Robinson by a judicial candidate in 2005 who had no opponent, $153,610 in 2001 to longtime aide Jackie Ward from Mark Green and other campaigns, and $70,530 to Boone, who was the district leader before Norman and Moore. Hynes's office has investigated this payment history, which started with Andrews himself, but not charged anyone. Jack Newfield reported in the Sun in 2003 that three judges told Hynes's office they "felt coerced" into making payments to Norman associates, including Boone. One judge who paid Boone $9,000 did so after she received a proposal faxed from Andrews's senate office. Boone reportedly did nothing for the get-out-the-vote fee. The Post reported that prosecutors have determined that Norman's personal bank account recorded up to $50,000 a year in unexplained cash deposits for five yearswhich the paper called "possible kickback money from judges or party operatives who got lucrative campaign business."
Andrews, who acknowledged that he'd recommended Moore to Letitia James and others, suggested that the media and prosecutorial questions about this hiring history were racist. "When blacks do it, it seems like it's something illegal, something wrong," he said, pointing to a white political operative active in Brooklyn reform politics, Gary Tilzer, and saying, "No one says anything when he does it." Tilzer, who managed the successful campaign of surrogate candidate Margarita Lopez-Torres last year, earned a total of $28,000 from her campaign and three others. He is so underpaid he is known by the shirt he always wears. Lopez-Torres, who was blacklisted by Norman because she refused to hire an unqualified law secretary he sent her, was the plaintiff in a federal suit that recently overturned the way judges are selected statewide.
When the Voice dropped in at Moore's office one recent evening, Norman and Jackie Ward were among the four people there, with Norman actually sitting next to a desk marked "State Senator Carl Andrews." Norman stood up, declared he had just "stopped by" and "was no longer involved in politics," and left, standing in front of the headquarters long enough to send two young women inside looking for jobs. Ward left her $80,000-a-year job with Comptroller Thompson when her name kept popping up in news stories during Hynes's 2003 probe of Norman.
Asked about the $70,000 he's loaned his congressional campaign this year, Andrews denied that he had that much in savings or that he'd mortgaged the Crown Street home he bought in 2004 for $400,000. "There's a lot of other loans you can get," he said, specifying equity loans. In fact, his senate financial disclosure statements indicate he took out a loan of an undisclosed amount in 2005, and he took out a $75,000 line of credit through a Pennsylvania fast-loan shop on his home this January. The problem is that if he financed the loans he made to his campaign by borrowing it himself, he violated federal election law by not disclosing the terms of his personal loans in filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Andrews has never had the lavish lifestyle of Norman, who owns both a gold Lincoln Continental and a Mercedes, but Andrews, too, once had a Mercedes, and his home has nearly doubled in assessed value in two years. He also owns six other properties, four in South Carolina and two in Brooklyn. He claimed in a Voice interview that he'd never "hit a home run" in the 46 receiverships he received from Norman-connected judges, saying his largest commission was $25,000. Actually, he was paid $87,750 on a receivership involving two Fulton Street commercial properties and tried to evict a half-dozen stores, employing many people, but was blocked in court.