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Chapey’s volunteers seek owed paychecks

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Campaign workers for Geraldine Chapey’s failed City Council bid in February said they are owed nearly $14,000 in payments almost two months after the special election.

Chapey could not be reached for comment, but her attorney, Eugene Crowe, said she was waiting for employees to hand in signed time sheets.

James Wu, a consultant hired to run Chapey’s campaign, said all the paperwork has been given to Chapey.

Seth Allen, a business management major at St. John’s University and Chapey’s assistant campaign manager, said the Rockaway Park woman owes him about $2,000.

Chapey, a 63−year−old Democratic district leader, finished third of the four candidates in the special election held Feb. 13 to replace state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D−Howard Beach) in the Council.

“She’s taking it out on the kids,” Wu said, referring to Chapey still owing money to the volunteers.

Allen, a 21−year−old Bayside resident, said he has $2,000 in credit card bills and planned on going on vacation after the Feb. 13 special election, but was unable to because he did not receive his money.

“I have been in a significant financial strain,” he said. “My credit score is through the roof.”

Allen recruited volunteers for Chapey’s campaign and ran field operations and payroll, he said.

He worked on three previous campaigns and said the experience with Chapey makes him skittish.

“It’s made me extremely nervous in going into political work, which is my passion,” Allen said.

From now on, he said he will demand money upfront.

“I’ve never heard or experienced something like this on a campaign before,” he said.

Allen said he does not understand why Chapey would not promptly pay her workers.

“The thing with Geraldine is I don’t know what she’s trying to do,” he said. “I really like Geraldine. When I first met her, she was like a grandma.”

Volunteer Brendan Klein said he is owed about $550 for 46 hours of work.

Klein, 19, handed out literature and put up posters for Chapey, among other work.

He said he had to use his savings account, which was set up to help pay for next semester’s tuition at Baruch College, to make six credit card payments because Chapey did not pay him.

Besides the stress of not getting paid by Chapey, Klein said he recruited 12 of his friends to work for the Rockaway Park candidate.

“I’m taking crap from them, so really all I want is for me and my friends to get paid,” he said. “We all worked hard for Geraldine. It’s really disappointing that Geraldine didn’t come through for us.”

Wu said his consulting company, Cornerstone Strategies, is also owed money from Chapey, but said getting the volunteers compensated is his first priority.

“This is absolutely ridiculous. It’s a nightmare, what’s going on,” he said. “We’re now hitting two months. My principle interest is getting the kids paid.”

Posted 6:34 pm, October 10, 2011
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