While constituents may have thought he was out of the catering business, a Bay Ridge lawmaker is still managing to pull himself back in.
Since elected to the State Senate in 2002, Marty Golden has spent tens of thousands of dollars for fundraisers and a slew of other undisclosed functions at the Bay Ridge Manor, his family-run catering hall, state records show.
A recent story in The Village Voice outlined the spending, which the paper said amounted to $205,000.
According to a review of New York State Board of Elections data, the figure is actually just over $211,000.
Even though Golden is unchallenged in the next election, state records reveal that the Republican lawmaker has still spent over $110,000 since January 07 at the catering hall, located on 76th Street near Fifth Avenue.
According to the state data, most of the soirees are either listed as “constituent services” or “fundraisers.”
Back in November 2002, a $5,744.36 “victory party” was held at the Manor, according to state records. Prices have climbed, according to state data. A constituent services event held there this May totaled $6,916.70 and in February, 2008, a fundraiser at the Manor cost $7.710.93, state records reveal.
While some the events are detailed in Golden’s campaign filings—honoring Teachers of the Year in June, a $6,900 lunch senior citizens in May—most of the recent payments to the Manor go unexplained, the article notes.
New York state law bars pols from accepting their own campaign funds.
In 2004, Golden sold the business to his brother. His wife, Colleen, is the Bay Ridge Manor’s business administrator, according to the report.
Meanwhile, Golden is the landlord for the business, having retained ownership of the three-story building that houses the popular catering hall.
According to the Voice, that makes three separate income streams Golden receives from the catering hall: the rent, his wife’s salary, and payments from the sale of the business.
Golden spokesperson John Quaglione said much of the article contained mere allegations, but said some of the “financial stuff” is accurate, as state filings show.
He said he would see if his boss wanted to talk about the matter with this paper, but by press time, the state lawmaker did not call back.
“What he’s doing essentially is funneling money from contributors to the catering hall,” remarked one Republican insider who is not close to Golden.
“I think it’s suspicious on the face of it that he raises money regularly and has not had an opponent since 2002, though you could say he raises the money to make sure he doesn’t have an opponent. A lot of people do that.
“The fact that he spends it at the Bay Ridge Manor and not at Sirico’s is not surprising either,” the source went on.
But, the source said, Golden has also used the catering hall as a way of building support for himself in the neighborhood.
“A lot of community organizations have dinners, luncheons, annual events at the Bay Ridge Manor, because he gives them a break on the normal rate,” the insider noted. “It may give a hit to the Bay Ridge Manor finances but it buys him some good will. I don’t have any details because I’m not privy to anything special.”
The Manor is also opened up to fellow Republicans during their campaigns, and is often the place where local GOPers gather to enjoy a meal while watching the returns come in on election night, the source pointed out.
“It functions as a quasi-club,” the onlooker noted. “At petition time, you can pick up and drop off petitions there. I don’t know that the clubs that do that get a bill, but it’s a way of further building some good will.”
Of all of this, the source stressed, “I don’t know that any of this stuff violates anything except long-term good sense.”
“There’s so much that goes on there and so much that is quasi-political. How much is given to the campaign and how much is reported as in-kind contributions? No one really asks any questions and no one care’s if there’s a bill.”
Back in 2005, the New York Post wrote a similar story, detailing Golden’s spending at the Bay Ridge Manor.
At the time, Golden said, “We’ve been doing events there for 25 years. “It’s been the central venue for political events for many, many years.”
According to the Post, Golden insisted there is nothing wrong with spending campaign cash on the family business.
According to Golden’s Senate biography, he purchased the Bay Ridge Manor in 1983—the same year he retired from the NYPD on disability after being hit by a car while making a drug arrest.
—Reporter Helen Klein contributed to this story.
©2008 Community News Group
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