July 14th, 2009
In a terse letter to Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the City Clerk, Councilmember Miguel Martinez resigned today sparking increased speculation about his connection to an Upper Manhattan nonprofit that is the subject of a federal investigation.
Martinez sent a letter to the speaker this morning saying only, “Effective today, July 14, 2009, I am submitting my resignation to the New York City Council.”
The resignation comes after a nonprofit, Upper Manhattan Council Assisting Neighbors, which Martinez directed more than $500,000 of discretionary funding to during his seven-year tenure at the council, was raided by federal officials earlier this year. Martinez’s sister sat on the board of the nonprofit starting in 2006, and only after that did the nonprofit start to receive a lot of city funding. It was even slated to get millions in city capital funding for a new headquarters in Washington Heights.
The resignation opens up a seat in Manhattan where at least six other candidates are looking to get on the ballot.
Martinez’s connection to the nonprofit is so far unclear. His resignation sparked immediate speculation that he would be named in an upcoming indictment (some reports allege as early as today). Martinez is the first elected casualty from the last year’s council slush fund scandal, which has already claimed two council staffers, who recently pled guilty to embezzlement.
At some point during his council career, staffers at the Upper Manhattan Council Assisting Neighbors were connected to Martinez’s re-election campaign. The now former chairman of the board, George Tacito, received $4,000 from the campaign for consulting in 2005. This year, Martinez’s campaign spending has been very minimal.By Courtney Gross on July 14, 2009, 12:41 pm
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