Quinn on Seabrook
February 11th, 2010

Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she expects indicted councilmember Larry Seabrook to step down from his position as the chair of the Civil Rights Committee today. Seabrook, however, failed to show up at the council’s meeting this afternoon.

Seabrook’s demotion follows a 13-count indictment released Tuesday that charges the councilmember with money laundering, fraud and extortion.

Seabrook allegedly directed millions of dollars in the council’s discretionary funds to nonprofits he controlled and where family members and a girlfriend were installed as staff. Seabrook is also charged with inflating expenses and rent payments.

Most of the charges are directly related to the council’s slush fund scandal in 2008. Following the scandal, Quinn enacted several reforms at City Hall to make sure the council’s discretionary funding was not misused again.

Quinn said today all misuse of funding, which also resulted in the resignation of councilmember Miguel Martinez last year, occurred before the council put its reforms in place. Those reforms included making sure nonprofits slated for funding were registered with the attorney general’s office and internally vetting every group.

Quinn said today any system can always be reformed more, and she would be open to having that conversation. But, she added, she would not support doing away with discretionary funds entirely — as the Daily News suggests.

“If you look at the list of organizations that are funded, they are good organizations,” said Quinn. “They are little leagues and senior center.”

When asked whether the council would consider banning the distribution of funding to groups that employ family or former staff — which was the case under Seabrook’s indictment — Quinn said the council does not believe they have the legislative power to do that.

Quinn only said she expects the federal authorities to do their jobs when she was asked whether the council expected other indictments to come down.

By on February 11, 2010, 4:50 pm
In category: City Hall,Crime & Safety,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing | Comments Off on Quinn on Seabrook

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