Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More Trouble For Monserrate, Funds For Ferreras by Elizabeth Benjamin - The Daily Politics - NY Daily News

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Sen. Hiram Monserrate, whose felony assault case is still wending its way through the legal system, was slapped today with an $30,102 fine by the Campaign Finance Board in connection with his 2005 City Council campaign.

According to the CFB, the former Councilman, who won an uncontested race for the state Senate last fall, exceeded the expenditure limit by $15,051 during his last re-election bid almost four years ago.

Monserrate received $82,500 worth of public funds that year and was among the top four Council candidate spenders ($222,308), despite the fact that he had no serious opposition.

(He was speculated to be eyeing a potential congressional challenge to Rep. Joe Crowley at the time. That never materialized and he opted to seek re-election instead, but the threat to Crowley was widely speculated to figure heavily in the Queens Democratic Party's decision to dump former Sen. John Sabini and back Monserrate for Senate in 2008).

This isn't the first time Monserrate has had campaign finance trouble. He missed the state Board of Election's Jan. 15 filing deadline (his first financial report since his swearing-in, which took place under the cloud of his alleged assault of his girlfriend. Karla Giraldo).

When Monserrate's filing arrived at the board, it revealed he had spent $15,000 worth of campaign cash on media advice by DolceGoldin, the consulting firm of former NY1 reporter, Davidson Goldin.

The CFB also distrbuted $75,742 worth of public matching funds to Julissa Ferreras, a former Monserrate staffer who is running in the upcoming Feb. 24 special election for his old Council seat in the 21st CD. (She was left out of the first round of CFB special election payouts).

The board dismissed a complaint made against Frank Gulluscio, who was a candidate in the 49th CD special election until the Board of Elections voted to oust him from the ballot.

One of Gulluscio's opponents, Eric Ulrich, alleged an unreported expenditure by the Gulluscio campaign for an ad in the Queens Chronicle. But the CFB determined this was merely a reporting error and dismissed the complaint once the mistake was rectified.