A south Queens Democratic leader who lost her run at a City Council seat has skipped town, stiffing 30 former campaign workers out of thousands of dollars, ex-staffers charge.
"We are getting stiffed - hard-core," said Seth Allen, a St. John's honors student who said he passed up a paid internship to help Chapey, 67, campaign in the 32nd Council District. Chapey is believed to be off sunning herself while Allen and others wonder what was done with the $115,844 her campaign raised. Ex-staffers like Harvey Luft, 52, of Forest Hills, have run out of patience.
"I'm between jobs and need the money," said Luft, who is owed $645 and has filed a small-claims suit against Chapey's campaign consultant. "I made thousands of calls on her behalf."
"I guess she has her own economics - you just don't pay people who work for you," she said.
City campaign finance records show Chapey spent $99,784 of the $115,844 she raised - meaning she should have enough cash left to cover the overdue payroll.
"She is sitting on a substantial amount of money," said Allen, who handled payroll for Chapey.
He said he submitted a spreadsheet and itemized invoices each week to Chapey's husband, Eugene Pasternak, who served as campaign treasurer.
Chapey's lawyer, Eugene Crowe, put the blame on James Wu, a political consultant hired to run Chapey's campaign. Crowe said the payments "will be made" but that Chapey is waiting for Wu, of Cornerstone Strategies, to deliver "signed time sheets from these workers."
Wu, however, said, "All of the time sheets that [Chapey] required to be signed were signed." Allen agreed with Wu.
Wu said the last time Chapey authorized full payroll payments was on Feb. 4. On Feb. 11, she made a portion of the payroll, leaving him to pay the rest, he said. Wu, who is still owed $12,000 in consulting fees, said he paid about $7,000 in payroll out of his own pocket.