WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
Comptroller John Liu Stays on Message: Stays Calm, Carries On
Monday, March 05, 2012
Attempting to divert attention from his ballooning campaign finance scandal, City Comptroller John Liu refused to say Monday whether the treasurer arrested for her alleged involvement in a federal corruption case was still employed by his campaign.
After delivering his formal budget testimony to the City Council Finance Committee, Liu refused to name the campaign's current treasurer.
When asked by WNYC who currently fills the position, Liu refused to answer.
"I am very happy that you were all in the budget testimony," he said, "and I was very proud to deliver this. I think obviously there are obviously some challenges related to the city's budget."
And when asked about calls for his resignation, Liu responded, "What calls for resignation?"
Jenny Hou, 25, was arrested on fraud and obstruction charges that could land her in jail for 60 years. She is the second individual arrested in the probe of Liu’s campaign finances.
Hou is still the treasurer of record, according to the City Campaign Finance Board.
An attorney who received a $15,000 retainer from the campaign in December represented Hou at her criminal arraignment last week.
During his Council testimony on Monday, Liu had some good news for the Council budget panel faced with the grim prospect of cutting after school and daycare slots.
The city is set to receive a $232 million refund from the defense contractor responsible for the CityTime payroll system contract that was allegedly rife with hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud, according to Liu. He said the city was entitled to closer to $600 million dollars.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg requested a full repayment for the cost overruns that federal prosecutors say ballooned from $70 million to more than $700 million.
Liu also told the Council budget panel he felt Bloomberg's budget proposal failed to account for potential additional costs related to reaching a contract with city's teacher's union.
He also called for the acceleration of municipal capital construction projects so the City could get more construction workers back on the job while taking advantage of historical lower borrowing costs.