NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The spigot of city funds flowing to a prominent Jewish museum has been abruptly shut off by the City Council as connections to people involved in the city corruption scandal are being blamed.
CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer reported that high anxiety about the burgeoning city corruption scandal drove the City Council to suddenly cut off funds to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which has been involved in sensitivity training for cops and correction officers.
Sources told CBS2 the center had been expecting $500,000, but the $82 billion budget approved by the City Council Tuesday gave the center nothing, despite after receiving a whopping $655,000 over the past two years.
“Given some of the investigations and some of the recent news about certain things that have been happening with regard to some of the people that have been affiliated with, the council decided it wasn’t prudent this year to be funding something with the center,” council communications director Eric Koch said.
The council is abandoning Wiesenthal because of its ties to people at the center of the city corruption probe.
Murray Huberfeld, indicted last week with Correction Union President Norman Seabrook, is a trustee. Mayor Bill de Blasio donor Jona Rechnitz is reportedly also involved with the center.
Rechnitz, a cooperating witness against Seabrook and Huberfeld, reportedly also gave information to the federal authorities as part of their probe into de Blasio’s fundraising activities.
CBS2’s Kramer asked several councilmen how they felt about the decision to give the Simon Weisenthal no money. All of them have given money to the center in the past.
“I’ve got to take a look at where things stand,” Councilman Dan Gorodnick, D-Manhattan, said.
“There was concern about appearances,” Councilman Mark Levine, D-Manhattan, explained. “It wasn’t my call, but I think there were some tough questions that had to be asked.”
“If there are questions about an organization, I think it’s appropriate for the council to take a step back,” Councilman David Greenfield, D-Brooklyn, stated.
“I have not been involved in that aspect of the budget this year,” Councilman Vincent Gentile, D-Brooklyn, said.
A de Blasio spokesman said there will be no mayoral allocation for the center this year. A center spokesman said he could prove “no additional information.”