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According to Kurlander, the after-school activities application started with the suggestion of a Bloomberg policy aide, Ester Fuchs, who "urged us to apply for a grant." (Fuchs told the Voice last year that the idea was broached by an All Stars lobbyist.) Kurlander said she "expressed concern" that the application "might fall victim to various forms of political gamesmanship" given the media attention to the group.
Despite city assurances that wouldn't happen, Kurlander wrote, the youth department's general counsel began contacting All Stars board members and supporters as far away as California "to inquire about their political affiliations." After a protest to Fuchs, Kurlander said, those inquiries were halted. But as the mayoral race heated up, NY1 broadcast a multipart series by reporter Rita Nissan, prompting a new series of inquiries.
The youth department's new questions, Kurlander wrote, "read like an inquisition from Senator Joseph McCarthy." She said the queries included questions about who on the board was "in therapy, about living and personal financial arrangements of principals associated with the program, and other intrusive and abusive lines of questioning."
All Stars again complained, Kurlander wrote, this time to both Fuchs and Bloomberg campaign director Kevin Sheekey (now a deputy mayor). Kurlander said City Hall aides "disingenuously" told her that it was out of their hands. She said that even after Spitzer dropped his own separate inquiry, the city's probe continued. The last straw apparently came when the Voice reported, several days before Kurlander's irate letter, that city sources were telling it the contract wouldn't be awarded.
The All Stars executive wrote that the city's inquiry had "degenerated into the worst form of 'policy by politics' " and a "corruption of governmental responsibility."
"Finally," Kurlander concluded, "while it is the case that some individuals in the All Stars community worked hard for Mayor Bloomberg's re-election, All Stars has always made it plain that it neither sought nor expected any special treatment or favors." At the bottom of the letter, Kurlander cc'd Fuchs, Sheekey, and Mayor Bloomberg.