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Home Government 2015 Rye City Council Elections – Follow the Money, Guest Column by...

2015 Rye City Council Elections – Follow the Money, Guest Column by Ted Carroll

by Ted Carroll, Guest Columnist

Our local media outlets rarely look back on contributions and disbursements even though public records in NY are easy to find online. I was wondering why they didn’t. Let’s take advice from a certain noted Watergate figure and use them to – follow the money. All amounts & percentages are rounded.

Ballot box

Overview:

Democrats raised almost twice as much as Republicans ($26,354 vs. $14,505) and from 73 separate donors v. 13 for Republicans.

  • The Democratic Party contributed $7000 which accounted for 27% of the total amount they raised.
  • The Republic Party apparently contributed zero dollars for 0% of the total amount they raised.
  • Democrats started raising the earliest with several contributions recorded as early as July.
  • Republicans apparently raised nothing until the day after the final contribution reporting cutoff date before the election. Then essentially 100% of their funds arrived the next day (October 20th) with 90% of it from interests all apparently linked to a single Rye industry.

Raising & Spending – The Democrats:

In both the raising and spending of funds Democrats outstripped Republicans and did it earlier. Democrats raised $26,354 from 73 separate donors and spent 40.6 % of it or $10,697. Almost all of the funds raised arrived before the final reporting Cut-Off Date prior to the election of October 19th. Democrat spending items were dominated by printing which totaled $5,153 or 48% followed by ad production and postage of $3,720 or 31%. Democrats favored The Rye Record for their printing needs. Two of the three Democratic candidates apparently gave funds by name to the campaign accounting for $2,620 or 10% of overall contributions. One of the candidates was reimbursed $1,704 for expenses incurred on behalf of the effort.

Raising & Spending – The Republicans:

In both the raising and spending of funds Republicans did it late. Very late. Republicans raised $14,505 or little more than half of what Democrats raised, and spent 42.62% of it or $6,124. All of the funds raised arrived the day after the final reporting Cut-Off Date prior to the election of October 19th. Republican spending items were dominated by printing which totaled $4,450 or 73% followed by ad production of $1,174 or 19%. Republican’s apparently utilized one of their three candidates for paying for or providing printing services. One of the three Republican candidates who is a sitting Councilmember apparently gave funds by name to the campaign accounting for $1,000 or 7% of overall contributions. That same candidate was reimbursed $300 for expenses incurred on behalf of the effort.

Fat Cats – The Democrats:

Excluding the Democratic Party contribution of $7,000, the top percentage donors to the Democrats in this election included:

  • 22% ($4,330) from a politically active Rye household that recently secured a substantial property assessment reduction.
  • 11% ($2,050) from one of the three Democratic Party candidates.
  • 10% ($2,000) from a Rye household of prolific political donors exceptionally lucky over the years in matters of permits, permissions and assessments issued by Rye City Hall.
  • 5% (1,000) from a Rye donor and seasonal resident of our “magical” Hen Island, which he describes further as “A perfect way to rough it, right here in Rye.”

(And, while not qualified as a top tier ‘Fat Cat,’ the Democrats also booked a contribution of $250 from a donor who was previously a Republican District Leader, Councilman and acted as Campaign Manager for a previous Republican Mayor.)

Fat Cats – The Republicans:

Excluding the Republican Party contribution of $0, the top percentage donors to the Republicans in this election included:

  • 90% ($13,000) combined from five local residential builders (70%) and (20%) from one recent custom home client of one of the builder contributors.
  • 7% ($1,000) from one of the three Republican candidates.
  • 3% ($505) from all 6 other non-builder related contributors combined.
  • No other current or prior GOP councilmember or GOP mayor apparently gave a dime of reported financial support to their Republican ticket.

And, regarding this apparently coordinated ‘midnight hour’ delivery of a Republican ‘money bomb,’ NYS campaign contribution disclosure laws exist for a reason. City residents can draw their own conclusions concerning these activities, but it’s fairly obvious this party has serious transparency issues, among others.

Lastly, your humble commentator here – contributed $0 to either campaign – was recently awarded a property assessment reduction by one court, then had it taken away by another – worked behind the scenes in this election to educate and promote those he thought would help bring transparency and accountability back to Rye – and split his votes over both parties.

Ted Carroll is a lifelong Rye resident, a Certified Public Accountant, and a partner at Noson Lawen Partners, a media industry private equity firm.

Want more? Enjoy reading Carroll's source documents and do some sleuthing yourself:

Rye City elections 2015 contributions

Rye City elections 2015 expenditures

Gates final statement of costs

Gates property assessment card

Gates project invoice

4 COMMENTS

  1. Nothing that we didn’t already know. Both parties are corrupt nationally and locally. What’s amazing is politicians have always been corrupt but what is really amazing is how in our little town it’s so bad. Rye is not even close to the town it once was. These builders have single handily changed this town. Homes being torn down at rapid rates and cookie cutter homes going up. Summer bungalows now on the market for almost $1mil with no yard are you kidding me? And every piece of open space gone. Trees used to line many streets and yards. Town with empty stores and greed taking away a historic central figure in the smoke shop. At one time there was a solid blue collar middle class to balance the town out. Now everyone is competing and that blue collar is gone. Oh last but not least someone should watch where students of our crowded schools come from. Some cars come from PC and drop their kids off. Or switch cars before drop off.

  2. Ted:
    If the Gates really did do $1,000,000+ in new construction and signed a sworn affidavit that it was only $325,000, then why wasn’t a criminal investigation done?
    If the Gates really did do $1,000.000+ in new construction why did their property assessment only go up by $2,000?
    If the Gates really did do $1,000,000 in new construction and not $325,000 as was stated on a sworn affidavit, then how did the City of Rye not detect this? If they didn’t detect it or did and ignored it, then that sounds like malfeasance or misfeasance to me.

  3. Ted,

    The attached City of Rye property assessment card looks real sketchy to me. Is it possible changes were made to it retroactively to cover up some malfeasance or misfeasance by the City of Rye?

    Is it possible changes were made to the property assessment card to justify how this apparent $1,000,000 in new construction(according to attached invoice) resulted in only a $2,000 increase in the property assessment?

    Why wasn’t a criminal investigation done into this?

    Why wasn’t a criminal investigation done into the allegation that City Clerk Nodarse submitted false documents to the court with regard to RGC records she said didn’t exist?

    Why wasn’t a criminal investigation done into the allegations surrounding the concealing of records from Federal Court and Rye City Court in the Caspi case?

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