File under 'I've got a Bridge to sell you'
Erik Dilan: I'm My Own Man, Not Vito Lopez's
New York Daily News
by Celeste Katz
June 6, 2012
Congressional contender Erik Dilan says he's no creature of Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Vito Lopez.
Our Alison Gendar reports:
Incumbent Rep. Nydia Velazquez had told the Daily News editorial board that the only reason Dilan's running against her in a Democratic primary is at the bidding of Lopez, who wants to put Velazquez in her place.
Lopez was not a factor in the decision, Dilan countered in his own endorsement interview meeting with the NYDN board.
“I decided to run on my own,” the city councilman said, adding that he's had a successful record on council issues from housing to job creation and hopes to bring the same effectiveness to Washington.
As for Lopez, “He’s had 20 years to come up with an opponent to challenge Ms. Velázquez in a primary, and he’s never done that,” Dilan said. After committing to a run on his own, he said, "I reached out to [Lopez] and asked for his support."
Lopez came under scrutiny for allegedly turning a social service organization he founded, the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, into a patronage mill.
While maintaining he's independent of Lopez, Dilan was still unwilling to condemn some of the abuses investigators found at Ridgewood Bushwick, such as Lopez ally Christiana Fisher getting paid $780,000 as director.
She was booted after the city found she "recreated" documents to justify her paycheck.
“I’m not in a position to determine if it was too high or not too high for the job she was performing,” Dilan said, noting the organization was known for delivering quality social services and that a consulting firm's study showed Fisher's salary was reasonable by IRS standards.
(From CK: In an interview with me last November, Lopez reiterated that he does not have anything to do with the daily operations of Ridgewood-Bushwick. He said the non-profit "has done outstanding work for over 30 years and has led the charge of revitalizing the [neighborhood]. I am proud of the work that they have done and the quality of programs and services that they have provided to thousands of my constituents."