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As the primary race to replace City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside) came down to the wire this week, two Democrats remained neck-and-neck in fund-raising.
City Council attorney Deirdre Feerick, backed by the Queens Democratic Party and by Gioia, will face off against Queens Library External Affairs Director Jimmy Van Bramer, who has the backing of the Working Families Party.
Feerick had raised $166,427 and spent $157,600 by the Sept. 4 filing deadline with the city Campaign Finance Board. Van Bramer had brought in $165,267 and spent $91,281 by the same deadline.
Trailing them in fund-raising is corporate attorney Brent O’Leary, running on a message of grassroots reform, who had raised $81,779 and spent $65,505, according to the board.
Woodside translator David Rosasco, who was ousted from the ballot by Feerick’s campaign, continued his bid to be the write-in candidate in the primary, although he was knocked off the ballot after the deadline had expired to petition for a write-in slot to be included on the ballot. Rosasco had raised $11,604 and spent $13,402 by Sept. 4, according to the CFB.
Whoever wins the primary will go on to face Republican candidate Angelo Maragos in the November election.
Both Feerick and Van Bramer are concerned the other side is using loopholes to skirt the $161,000 spending cap set for publicly funded citywide elections.
Feerick’s campaign has accused Van Bramer of using the for-profit consulting group Data and Field Services to help him canvass. The city Campaign Finance Board has instructed candidates to count that group’s work as contributions from the Working Families Party after news reports revealed an affiliation.
“DFS exists as an arm of the Working Families Party,” the board said in a statement. “Both organizations are located in the same space and share employees; DFS was created by Working Families Party staff; and there are no apparent firewalls between them.”
Van Bramer has listed $18,800 paid to Data & Field Services for campaign workers and denies any wrongdoing.
“We are in full compliance with the Campaign Finance Board rules,” Van Bramer said. “We have paid full value for all the services.”
Van Bramer, in turn, has accused Feerick of using several high-powered lawyers affiliated with the Queens Democratic Party in her challenge of opponent David Rosasco’s petition signatures last month without listing the services as in-kind contributions.
Campaign finance records show she paid attorney Frank Bolz, of the law firm Sweeney, Gallo, Reich & Bolz, $430 Aug. 31 for petition expenses and filing fees and $226.25 Aug. 11 for copying expenses. She listed no in-kind contributions in her filings. Rosasco has said he paid as much as $10,000 for the services of his attorney in the legal fight. Feerick’s staff contends Bolz was well within the guidelines for volunteer work.
“We would ask Mr. Van Bramer to look at the CFB ruling on this which says that Deirdre Feerick did nothing wrong,” said spokesman Michael Meenan.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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