By Arthur Z. Schwartz
Way back in our November 1 edition, before either Sheldon Silver or “Dean” Skelos had been convicted of bribery, money laundering, and other acts of corruption, I published a piece which alleged that Assembly Member Deborah Glick had her own questions to answer. My interest had been sparked by a report in The New York Times that Member Glick’s No. 1 contributor, Joy Tomchin ($10,000 in 8 years) was named in the Times as the “bag woman” for an unlawful internet gambling operation. So I asked whether Deborah would be returning the money she donated.
I made other allegations. Deborah is Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee. Her committee is in charge of the licensing operations at the State Education Department: doctors, accountants, psychologists etc. Laws concerning those professions must pass through Glick’s committee. I found, by looking at campaign finance reports available on line, that Deborah had a fundraising event of some sort on May 11, 2015, at which no fewer than 8 associations of professionals she oversees pumped $7200 into her campaign account, including $2500 from the Committee for Medical Eye Care, and $2000 from Ortho PAC. In 2014 those profession-related PACs gave her $18,100! In other words, the very people Glick’s committee is supposed to police pumped her campaign account full of money. And Deborah hasn’t spent more than $2500 on a campaign, in total, for the last 20 years!
I then looked to see what Glick spent this money on. Over the 10 months prior to her July 2015 report, her campaign account declined more rapidly than the contributions coming in. All of a sudden, Glick was using her campaign funds to pay extraordinarily large Amex bills, and when the campaign finance report asks for the purpose, she wrote “other;” offering no detail. How much are we talking about? Here are the numbers through the end of June for 2015:
$1270 in January, 2014;
$668 in March, 2014;
$1495 in April, 2014;
$1151 in May, 2014;
$1354 in June, 2014
Nearly $5000 in unexplained Amex payments over a 6 month period. So the money comes in from Joy Tomchin, and the professional association PACs, and goes out through Deborah Glick’s Amex card, to pay for??
In the wake of the conviction of the State Legislature’s top duo, and the escalating public concern about corruption in politics, it is incumbent on Deborah Glick to respond, even though the allegations come from a political opponent. (I have decided that I will be running against her in September.)
I think the readers of Westview would like some answers. They would like to know whether Deborah Glick will return what might be internet gambling proceeds to Joy Tomchin, so as to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. They would like to know why the Assembly Member takes money from the professional groups whose professions her committee is supposed to oversee. Now that we all know, will she return that money? And finally, they would like to know what her $1000 plus Amex bills are about, and how much of the professional PAC and internet gambling money is finding its way into perks for Assembly Member Deborah Glick. It is time for some answers.
Arthur Z. Schwartz is the Male Democratic District Leader for Greenwich Village. He intends to soon declare his candidacy for the Assembly position in the 66th Assembly District, which covers the Village, Soho and Tribeca.