Melting the City Council Slush Funds


As the fallout from the City Council slush fund grows, more players are getting soaked. Both papers cover the indictments of two City Council staffers who are charged with embezzling $145,000 worth of taxpayer money to puppet charities.

The News has an exclusive on Bronx City Council member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, who the paper reports “sponsored $82,500 in Council ‘discretionary funds’ into a nonprofit that employed both her sister and nephew.” Arroyo has not been charged with any crime. She tells the News that she was aware of the discretionary funds going to the South Bronx Community Corp., but that her sister and nephew were no longer working at the organization. Accompanying the exclusive is a story in which federal investigators say that the two indictments handed down yesterday might not be the last. “Tip of the iceberg” is how the News puns it.

The Post, meanwhile, concentrates on Asquith Reid, who is chief of staff to City Councilman Kendall Stewart. Reid set up the Donna Reid Fund (No, not named after the 1950s TV actress, it’s named after Asquith’s daughter), which became a temporary home for money that eventually went to campaign material and events for Stewart, Reid’s friends and family in Jamaica and to several co-conspirators, including fellow indictee Joycinth Anderson. The paper provides readers with a nifty flow chart explaining exactly how all the money moved around. And, since this is a story about City Hall corruption, the Post busts out the dollar-sign S’s on both the front page (“Council-$lush probe bares 145G scam”) and page 4 “(“BUSTS IN POL ‘$LUSH’ RUSH”). We also get a wholly unflattering photo of Council Speaker Christine Quinn with her eyes closed as if she’s thinking, “Uh oh, who’s next?”

This is going to be something we’re going to wade through for the next few months, and as of right now, it seems the News is wading faster.