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Bronx Prosecutors Investigating Obama Appointee

I bet architects do not line up to do free work on your house. The rules for Obama advisors are different.

No, not this one, a different Obama appointee: former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, appointed by Obama as director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs. The review is confirmed by a spokesman for (Democratic) Bronx DA Robert Johnson: “The facts as reported raise questions that we are trying to get answers to.” What sort of urban affairs does Carrion specialize in? How about urban machine politics of a drearily familiar sort:

First, the Daily News reported on a Tony Rezko-style pattern of receipt by Carrion of campaign donations coinciding with his approval of housing projects:

The man who is President Obama’s newly minted urban czar pocketed thousands of dollars in campaign cash from city developers whose projects he approved or funded with taxpayers’ money, a Daily News probe found.

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion often received contributions just before or after he sponsored money for projects or approved important zoning changes, records show.

Most donations were organized and well-timed.

In one case, a developer became a Carrion fund-raiser two months before the borough president signed off on his project, raising more than $6,000 in campaign cash.

In another, eight Boricua College officials came up with $8,000 on the same day for Carrion three weeks before the school filed plans to build a new tower. Carrion ultimately approved the project and sponsored millions in taxpayer funds for it.

(H/T, H/T)

At issue now, however, is more than just campaign cash: it’s Carrion having home renovations done free of charge by an architect whose projects received official favor from Carrion – the sort of direct personal benefit that gets people indicted:

Mr. Carrion … has not paid for the design work, which began in late 2006. The construction was completed in 2007.

The Daily News, which reported the renovations on Tuesday, has questioned whether it was a conflict of interest for Mr. Carrion to hire the architect, Hugo Subotovsky. At the time, the architect was also working on a large housing project, Boricua Village in the Melrose area, that was up for official review by Mr. Carrion’s office.

In March 2007, Mr. Carrion recommended that the zoning change needed for the Boricua Village proposal be approved.

The News’ lead editorial today is scathing:

There once was a borough president who had a house he wanted to renovate. This borough president ruled over a place called the Bronx. He was a powerful borough president who told people what they could build. Many people asked his permissions.

And there once was an architect who liked to design big buildings in the Bronx. This architect was always asking the powerful borough president for his permissions. The powerful borough president’s permissions helped the architect make money.

Then, one day, the powerful borough president, who goes by the name Adolfo Carrion and who was always asked for valuable permissions, said to the architect:

“Please, my supplicant, design a wondrous home for me.”

And the architect, whose name was Hugo (The Helpful) Subotovsky, said:

“Yes, powerful sir.”

And so Hugo the Helpful drew up magnificent plans in the Victorian style, and he worked and worked on them until, lo, after the passage of almost three years, the powerful borough president had a renovated house that suited his magnificence.

And, ever helpful, Hugo did not ask to be paid. And the powerful borough president, who was up to his ears in debt, did not pay him. And they lived happily ever after … almost.

Read the whole thing.

I’ve had occasion to say this so many times already it’s becoming monotonous: nobody who paid attention to Obama’s political career should be surprised by any of this. All Carrion’s appointment proves is that Obama’s willing to bring people in from the Bronx who are just like the ones he endorsed and supported back in Chicago.

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