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NY Post: How Bloomberg Uses $99 Million In ‘Philanthropy’ To Bypass Budget

A Post analysis found that over the past two years the nation’s richest mayor lavished at least $99.1 million through his family’s philanthropy and his private company on nonprofits. In turn, those organizations wind up hiring Bloomberg loyalists from his administration, and are often tapped to lend a hand on city projects.

While Bloomberg’s generosity serves as a tangible example of his commitment to the city, the “revolving door” between City Hall and Bloomberg-backed nonprofits is cause for concern, said NYU public-policy professor Rogan Kersh.

“It is worrisome that, at one level, efforts that can’t win public financing because they don’t get approval or aren’t going to be popular still wind up getting financed,” he said.

But “it’s hard to be completely critical when Mayor Bloomberg has donated a billion dollars that’s gone into doing good works for the city, and that’s to be appreciated,” he said.

Over the years, several high-ranking mayoral staffers shifted into spots in Bloomberg’s private world, like former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, who now heads up Bloomberg LP.

Others, like current Deputy Mayor Patti Harris, have special waivers from the Conflicts of Interest Board to work for City Hall and Bloomberg’s charitable foundations.

Harris, among other City Hall staffers, is also on the board of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, a nonprofit run out of City Hall that spearheads local projects important to Bloomberg.

A mayoral spokesman declined to enumerate the number of donations from Bloomberg’s charities to the Mayor’s Fund over the years, but confirmed he is a benefactor.

One of the city projects that benefited from Bloomberg’s largess is PlaNYC — the mayor’s sweeping blueprint for how the city should look by 2030. According to tax records, PlaNYC got over $6 million from the Mayor’s Fund in 2009, and was the second-largest recipient of fund money that year.

The MillionTreesNYC initiative has also benefited from Bloomberg bucks. In 2008, he committed $5 million to the New York Restoration Project for the initiative. The Restoration Project is a nonprofit that partners with the city and the Parks Department to fulfill the mayor’s verdant vision.

The billionaire quietly bankrolls his crusades — healthier eating, curbing smoking, overhauling schools — and it falls to his trusted foot soldiers in government and nonprofits to carry out his goals.


4 Responses

  1. Nu. At least he puts his money where is mouth is. Its a lot better than a lot of politicians who preach all sorts of things and tax you and I to fund it.

  2. I have a long list of very worthy causes where he could put his $$. Planting trees is not one of them. Helping poor Jewish families & Yeshivas are suitable recipients of the Mayor’s largesse, but he won’t fund those through his Foundations. I tried.

  3. While philanthropy is NOT going to solve the financial problems of our community, it can help. Many Jewish billionaires have little or no connection to Judaism and give little of their wealth to Jewish causes. Any suggestions on what to do to stimulate their interest?

  4. Which of the following approaches to Mr. Bloomberg is more likely to encourage him to support a yeshiva:

    a. Tell him if he doesn’t support the yeshiva, he’s a self-hating Jew and can go to gehinom.

    b. Offer to put a new mezuzah on one of his homes, and show him the text inside the mezuzah.

    I’m sure that (a) has been tried. How about trying (b)?

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