Councilman Vincent Gentile violated city law by overspending on his re-election campaign in 2009, the Campaign Finance Board ruled on Thursday, hitting the veteran lawmaker with nearly $26,000 in fines.
The board slammed Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) for agreeing to a strict spending limit of $161,000 in his race against Bob Capano in exchange for receiving $88,550 in public matching — then spending $18,000 more than the limit, city officials claim.
“Exceeding the expenditure limit is one of the most serious violations … and undermines the purpose of the Campaign Finance Program,” the board wrote in its ruling.
Gentile was also hit with $1,025 in fines for a litany of other city campaign financing abuses, including accepting corporate contributions, over-the-limit contributions, and failure to report daily pre-election expenditures.
But Gentile’s overspending illegal contributions apparently helped: he trounced Capano in a 60-percent to 40-percent romp.
Gentile said the overspending was caused by bad math, and that he would payback the money.
“A mistake was made with a misplaced decimal point,” he said. “We presented our side before the board, respect their decision and will pay the fine.”
A campaign worker punched in the wrong numbers when adding up the cost of a 2009 fundraiser — which threw off Gentile’s campaign figures, said Robert Bishop, Gentile’s lawyer, explaining that Gentile, who earns $112,500 a year, couldn’t pay the fines right away and would have to start a new campaign account so he could hold some kind of “help me pay off my debt” fund raiser.
“We’re dealing with someone who is a civil servant; he’s not rich or wealthy,” Bishop told the board.
For his part, Capano raised $45,000, according to Campaign Finance Board officials. Fresh from his second straight campaign loss, Capano turned his back on politics and became a manager of a supermarket, but he has since been hired as district director by newly minted Rep. Bob Turner (R–Sheepshead Bay).Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at email@example.com or by calling him at (718) 260-4507. You can also follow his Tweets at @dsmacleod.
©2011 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not BrooklynDaily.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynDaily.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.