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Maltese spends $11K in campaign funds on car

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State Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale), head of the Queens Republican Party who is seeking his seventh term in Albany, has spent nearly 10 percent of his campaign war chest to pay for a leased GMC car, its maintenance and insurance, campaign disclosure forms show.

Required documents filed with the state Board of Elections list the contributions to Maltese's campaign from January 1999 to Oct. 6, 2000 as totaling $130,608, and expenditures totaling $97,606.44. He used $11,794.45 from his campaign coffers for an automobile, whose make and model were not specified in the filings.

"An elected official can pay for or lease a car in conjunction with holding office and running a campaign," said Lee Daghlian, a spokesman for the state Board of Elections. "If they report it that way, we assume it is a legitimate expense."

According to the documents, Maltese, a six-term incumbent, has made 14 lease payments of $642 each on his GMC vehicle, $703.88 for repairs, $1,690.75 on insurance and $30 for his membership dues in the Cadillac LeSalle Club in Lenoir, Calif., in addition to some minor expenses

Maltese did not return repeated phone calls to discuss his campaign finances.

Dorothy Williams-Pereira, Maltese's only opponent who is running on the Green Party line in the race to represent the 15th Senate District in Albany, did not file an election disclosure report with the state Board of Elections.

Maltese is seeking re-election in the district, which covers Glendale, Ridgewood, Maspeth, Howard Beach, Middle Village, Woodhaven and parts of Forest Hills, Rego Park, Ozone Park Richmond Hill and Woodside.

Contributions to Maltese's re-election campaign committee amount to $52,298 donated by individuals, $15,360 by corporations and $55,270 made by political action committees.

The individual donations ranged from $17 to $1,000. The three largest donations to Maltese's campaign were for $1,000, which was contributed by Thomas Dambrosio of Ridgewood, real-estate developer Peter Kalikow of Manhattan, and Jack Sun of Flushing.

Corporate donations, which accounted for the smallest part of the donations to Maltese's campaign, ranged from $30 to $1,000. The largest corporate gifts were $1,000 from The Plaza College for Business at 74-09 37th Ave. in Jackson Heights and $600 from PHV Pharmacy at 374 Stockholm St. in Brooklyn.

Maltese, who is on the Civil Service and Pensions, Taxation and Government Operations, and Higher Education committees, received 42.3 percent of his total war chest from political action committees. The majority of these groups were related to law enforcement, corrections and emergency medical associations.

He received $19,400 from the Corrections Captains Associations, Detective Endowment Association, the New York City Deputy Sheriffs' Association, and others. The National Rifle Association donated $450 to his campaign, while DC 37, which represents many of the city's hospital workers, gave $2,950.

The largest single contribution to Maltese's election bid came from the committee to re-elect state Sen. Joseph Bruno (R-Saratoga Springs), which transferred $7,500 to Maltese's campaign coffers. Bruno is the senate majority leader and wields enormous power in the Legislature.

Daghlian said a candidate for state Senate can receive a contribution up to $7,700 from an individual for the general election and as much as $4,900 for a primary bid. If the candidate does not face a challenger in an official primary, he cannot accept any money for the primary.

The cap on total campaign contributions in state races in a calendar year is $150,000 from an individual and $5,000 from a corporation, he said.

Maltese's campaign has spent $97,606.44 on his re-election bid from January 1999 to Oct. 6, 2000. Besides the cost of the car, Maltese spent $16,153 on a wide variety of fund-raising events.

His campaign was also very active at community events where he spent $3,838 on tickets for events at the Queens Chamber of Commerce, the Maspeth Republican Club, the Woodhaven Block Association, and others.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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