President Barack Obama's choice for Director of the newly created White House Office on Urban Policy, Adolfo Carrión, is facing allegations that he accepted thousands of dollars in donations from city developers in exchange for approving or funding their projects. In an investigative report published in the Daily News, it was found that Carrión, former Bronx Borough President, often received contributions around the time that he approved important zoning changes or allocated money for projects.
Carrión resigned as borough president effective yesterday and begins his new job as director of the White House Office on Urban Policy today. Included among the questionable contributors were construction companies who received lucrative contracts involved with building the new Yankee Stadium, a project staunchly supported by Carrión.
Carrión declined to answer written questions submitted by the News about the timing of the campaign contributions, but his office issued a statement saying, "Thousands of people who share the Borough President's vision for building a stronger Bronx and a stronger city have contributed to Carrión NYC. Teachers, parents, police officers, firefighters, members of the business community and concerned citizens have all contributed to the borough president's efforts to strengthen the Bronx and stimulate the local economy and he is proud to have such wide-ranging support."
UPDATE: The White House has refused to comment on the report released by the Daily News. The probe had many of Carrión's detractors up in arms over the allegations, "Carrión's acted in such a perverse manner to really go out of his way to thwart community and small-business concerns," charged Richard Lipsky, a city planner in the Bronx.
But former Councilman and current state Senator Israel Ruiz defended Carrión as an "honest young man" saying, "This
is nothing new. All the way from the governor on down, everybody deals
with these developers to get reelected. That's the nature
of the beast, unfortunately."
"We have no comment," White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said.