For Immediate Release
Naomi Seligman 202.408.5565
CREW Asks AG Holder to Investigate New White House Appointee Adolfo Carrión for Bribery and Honest Service Fraud
WASHINGTON - Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter today to Attorney General Eric Holder asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to initiate an immediate investigation into pay-to-play allegations involving Director of the White House Office on Urban Policy Adolfo Carrión, Jr.
It has been reported that while serving as Bronx Borough President, Mr. Carrión received a number of campaign contributions from developers in close temporal proximity to when he approved zoning changes or committed money to projects sponsored by those developers.
According to the New York Daily News, the Atlantic Development Group and Boricua College needed Mr. Carrión and the planning commission to approve zoning changes and height restrictions to permit the building of a 14-story tower and the creation of 679 units of housing at Boricua Village. Less than a month after an application for the project was filed in March 2006, Mr. Carrión received eight donations in one day from Boricua administrators totaling $8,750. Since then, individuals associated with the college ultimately contributed $17,512 while those associated with Atlantic donated $52,400, making Atlantic the largest single source of Mr. Carrión's campaign contributions. Mr. Carrión approved the project in March 2007 and in July sponsored $3 million in taxpayer funds for the project, later sponsoring an additional $7.5 million.
Notably, at the time the Boricua Village project was under Mr. Carrión's consideration, he hired the project's architect, Hugo Subotovsky, to design a porch and second-story balcony for his home. Mr. Carrión has explained that Mr. Subotovsky performed 51.5 hours of design work for a total bill of $3,627.50. Despite the fact that the work was completed in 2007 -- two years ago -- Mr. Carrión never paid Mr. Subotovsky.
In another instance, in 2008, developer Jonathan Coren - who had never before registered as a fundraiser - did so, raising $2,577 for Mr. Carrión three weeks before Mr. Carrión approved the development of a housing project sponsored by Mr. Coren's company, Idle LLC. In total, Mr. Coren raised $6,532 for Mr. Carrión and explained to a reporter that he "never spoke ‘directly' with Carrión about campaign donations."
And in 2004, Jackson Development Group began seeking to build affordable housing, but the project stalled. Between April and November 2007, employees of the group made 41 donations to Mr. Carrión totaling $35,650. In May 2008, Mr. Carrión approved the project and in July he sponsored $3 million in taxpayer funds for it.
CREW asked DOJ to investigate whether Mr. Carrión engaged in bribery and honest services fraud by accepting campaign contributions and free design work on his house in return for official actions.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today, "If the era of pay-to-play politics is over, Adolfo Carrión did not get the message." Sloan continued, "It appears Mr. Carrión routinely approved development projects in exchange for campaign contributions. In addition, Mr. Carrión personally benefitted by accepting free design work from an architect who needed his official assistance. This exactly the kind of conduct that makes Americans skeptical of our politicians and the Justice Department should immediately investigate."
Read CREW's letter to Attorney General Holder in the Related Documents section on the right.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.