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Renewing criticisms of his rival’s political ties, former Queens Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Eduardo Giraldo has launched his Democratic primary campaign against City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst).
Giraldo, 45, said Ferreras has not properly explained her ties to a troubled nonprofit, Latino Initiative for Better Resources and Empowerment, which was unable to account for several hundred thousand dollars in city funding.
Ferreras, who was named in tax documents as the nonprofit’s chairwoman, has said in previous interviews that it was a ceremonial position and she was not involved in the group’s day-to-day operations.
Giraldo also accused Ferreras, the former chief of staff of state Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D-East Elmhurst), of maintaining a close allegiance to the senator for political benefit after Monserrate was charged with felony assault for allegedly slashing his girlfriend’s face during a fight in December.
“I am very proud of the work I have done in the New York City Council on behalf of the resident of the 21st District,” Ferreras said in a statement touting her work to preserve funding for domestic violence programs and day care centers amidst budget cuts. “Our city and our community are facing profound challenges in this economy and while others engage in the politics of innuendo and baseless accusations, I am focused on doing the best that I can for the people of the community that I grew up in and that I call home.”
Giraldo, who came to Jackson Heights from Colombia 26 years ago, renewed his previous campaign pledge to put pressure on the major commerce establishments in the district to contribute for the good of the community. These “golden geese” are LaGuardia Airport, the New York Mets, the United States Tennis Association and the city-subsidized Willets Point redevelopment, he said.
Giraldo’s campaign is getting off the ground a bit late after facing challenges to his petition signatures at the city Board of Elections.
“She was determined not to let me on the ballot,” he said of Ferreras, noting her attorneys continued the challenge in Queens Civil Court and again in Queens Supreme Court.
A Queens Supreme Court judge ruled in favor of Giraldo Aug. 17.
Giraldo also opposed Ferreras in the special election to replace outgoing Councilman Hiram Monserrate in February. He came in fourth in that race.
In the current race, Giraldo has actually outraised the Queens Democratic Party-backed Ferreras, bringing in $16,889 in contributions and receiving $78,232 in public matching funds by Aug. 14, according to city Campaign Finance Board records. He had spent $39,821 by the same date.
Ferreras had brought in $37,327 by Aug. 14 and received $47,937 in matching funds. She had spent $56,237 by the same date.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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