Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 12, 2009
POLITICS: Bronx Prosecutors Investigating Obama Appointee

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.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:00 PM | Politics 2009 | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I didn't know Borough Presidents still had enough clout to be worth bribing.

Posted by: Jerry at March 12, 2009 12:03 PM

Remind me again why Ted Stevens was prosecuted? Is there any relevant difference (other than the party)?

Posted by: asudnik at March 12, 2009 12:04 PM

Ted Stevens wasn't appointed to the executive branch, he was elected to the legislative branch by the voters. Other than that, Carrion and Stevens deserve the same fate, and I don't think anyone, including Crank, would argue that fact. That doesn't detract from anything Crank said in his post.

Posted by: wd at March 12, 2009 1:25 PM

Labor unions and big city political machines are the two most corrupt institutions in this country. By far. And they are the heart and soul of what political party?

Posted by: stan at March 12, 2009 1:34 PM

Hello. I, uh, I wanted to uh respond to your question that, uh, you know that my administration and my past were marked with uh, how did you put it, uh you know, corrupt characters. I, uh, am sorry, I, uh, didn't understand that your question was, you know, uh, serious.

Weell, uh, while these, uh, news reports out of, you know, uh, the Bronx, and uh, now I hear that the FBI has arrested uh some people at the uh, what do they call it, the Office of the Technological Chief, or something, uh, yes, they are quite worrisome, but, uh, you have to realize, I, uh have, you know, what's the word, oh yes, "Inherited" this culture of corruption, and I, uh, am going to, uh, have to work, to uh, clean that up. I will, uh, get around to that, after I, uh, work on earmarks. Yes, uh, but back to your question, uh, it wasn't me, uh, who cultivated the, uh, culture of corruption in Washington.

Posted by: per14 at March 12, 2009 2:52 PM

As has been posted here, we didn't know squat about Obamanation except he was a product of Chicago racial/political machine politics, which was our first and biggest warning sign---but the press just adored him. So what do you expect from Carrion another example of the New York racial/political machine? In addition the "Select Staff" of Obamanation ask the question: Where did they come from?

Posted by: Bob at March 12, 2009 5:09 PM

When will these people learn to condone torture and spy on American citizens? Don't they know that's what they need to do to be considered "serious' politicians? Talk about "slow learners".

stan,
Nice hyperbole about corrupt institutions, but have you heard of a place called Wall Street?
Every bedrock institution in the country is corrupt. Hopefully the Dow at 2000 will clue the rest of the citizens to the facts.

Posted by: Berto at March 12, 2009 6:39 PM

Juding from some of your other posts Berto, I take it that you are for the expansion of government. Well, is any bedrock institution more corrupt than government?

Posted by: per14 at March 13, 2009 8:00 AM

per 14,
I don't know if I'm for expansion of government, but I would like to see it defend the little guy from the powerful.

I agree that government surely has been corrupted, but I'm not ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Business' job is to make money (by hook or by crook). A real government would protect the citizens from out of control business. Regulating financial institutions, keeping business from polluting air, water, and food that the citizens must breathe, drink, and eat, etc.
Government has surely been corrupted, but ask yourself who corrupted it.

It sounds like you think Madoff is less of a crook than the Bush administration (as one example of government). Is this correct?

One more: Do you think the Justice Department (i.e. government) is so corrupt you don't want them to enforce contracts?

Posted by: Berto at March 13, 2009 12:52 PM

I was being a little tongue in cheek.

I don't think government is utterly corrupt. And I don't necessarily think it is the most corrupt institution in our country. But it seems to me a lot of people who think that also think government power should be expanded. That seems really ironic to me, and I was trying to point out that irony.

But government is corrupt because it is comprised of people, who are inherently and unalterably corrupt. I'm not anti-government, I just want government to be as limited as possible.

To answer your questions, I don't think Bush is more corrup than Madoff. And I do want government to enforce contracts and protect against fraud and nefarious conduct. But I don't want the government to protect people from making bad decisions. (For example, I can't support, at least philosophically, the idea that the government should force lenders to modify their contracts with delinquent homeowners.)

Posted by: per14 at March 13, 2009 1:23 PM

I see. When called out on what you write, you'll go with the "I was just kidding" defense made famous by Coulter and Limbaugh.
BTW, I agree with your reply at 1:23 PM.
People are inherently and unalterably corrupt. That's why we need regulation of business and transparency in government.

Posted by: Berto at March 13, 2009 1:49 PM

Oh my heavens -- cash and Carrion.

Posted by: Ellen at March 13, 2009 2:06 PM

many of you seem to think that corporations cheat and this is a big problem. corporations are things and things can't cheat. corporations are run by managers on behalf of stockholders who are entirely passive. when managers cheat they cheat the stockholders. when governments punish for this cheating, they punish stockholders. this is not the best way to encourage stockholding.
and what do you expect from someone named carrion?

Posted by: daniel at March 13, 2009 2:07 PM

The role of government in the case of Bernie Madoff is to enforce the law. When someone like Madoff runs a Ponzi scheme the law must be enforced. If this is seen as simply protection of the 'little guy' this isn't entirely true.

Furthermore, most of the corrupt folks on Wall Street are sending lots of cash to the folks on capital hill. Some figures on Wall street are joined at the hip to the corrupt pols in congress and even *gasp* the fellow in the white house.

Posted by: Chaz706 at March 13, 2009 3:41 PM

But he's black! We elected the first BLACK president. We're awesome! Yaahhh!!!!

What? Corruption? But.....but....we elected the first black president....

Posted by: RM at March 13, 2009 3:50 PM

daniel,
The problem you mention was started by a monumentally bad Supreme Court decision, which gave those "things" (corporations) the rights of humans. Alas, we can't put those "things" in prison.

Posted by: Berto at March 13, 2009 3:56 PM

People used to say that the typical low class accent in the NY Metro area was a unique "Brooklyn" accent. Not so. Nevertheless, people from outside the area assumed that those speaking that way came from Brooklyn, whereas they may've come from, say, the Bronx. The patois was ubiquitous.

In an analogous vein, people say that Chicago politicians are unique. Mr. Carrion shows that they are ubiquitous.

Ellen: good one. It will soon be ubiquitous!

Berto: We can't seem to put ubiquitous crooked politicians like Dodd, Walters, or Frank in prison or do anything to stop them either.

Posted by: From Inwood at March 13, 2009 9:43 PM

The list of crooked politicians does not belong exclusively to either party or, as Crank would have you believe, the Obama Administration.

Bernie Kerik anyone? No? How about John Rowland or Ted Stevens?

Posted by: Magrooder at March 15, 2009 9:50 PM
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