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A campaign vendor is in the advanced stages of pursuing a judgment against City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) for more than $12,000 worth of fees and interest resulting from services the firm performed to assist his 2009 campaign, according to an attorney for the company.
The vendor, Advantage Inc., of Arlington, Va., filed a suit against the legislator in Manhattan Civil Court Nov. 22, 2010, seeking $12,792.29 in payment. The sum includes fees for telephone advocacy, voter identification and other work the firm provided during the freshman councilman’s 2009 race as well as interest the firm assessed after failing to receive payment for the services.
Halloran’s campaign raised $63,237 in funds for his 2009 run for office, according to city campaign finance records, but racked up expenditures of $207,244 — much of which it has not paid.
Advantage is now seeking a judgment against Halloran, according to Kenneth Sugarman, a lawyer for the company.
“We’re going to get a judgment from the court saying he owes what he owes,” Sugarman said. “We have to submit various paperwork to the court, who will rule whether or not we are entitled to a judgment.”
Halloran, an attorney, responded to the suit by filing a document on Dec. 10, 2010, saying he denies “each and every allegation” made by Advantage, one of at least four entities which as of last week had not received more than $1,000 each from Halloran for services they performed during the campaign.
The document went on to request that the case be dismissed for a number of reasons, including Halloran’s contentions that the court lacks jurisdiction over him because he as an individual has no contract with Advantage and that “the plaintiff failed to join necessary parties, namely the city Campaign Finance Board and the Committee to Elect Dan Halloran.”
Advantage Vice President Aris McMahon said he has never heard of a situation in which a politician failed to pay for services for so long after they were provided.
“It’s just bizarre. We’ve done races from president to City Council and we’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “Eventually he’ll pay up, what this guy’s doing I just don’t understand … Advantage Inc. did not go out and volunteer $12,000 for Dan Halloran to get elected to City Council. It’s embarrassing to have worked for him.”
Halloran spokesman Steve Stites said last week that he could not get into details about the case, offering only a one-sentence statement.
“Our campaign finance situation is under review by the Campaign Finance Board,” he said.
Stites contended in January that the councilman planned to eventually pay for the work, but that Halloran would be forced to give up more than $100,000 in matching funds if he were to pay his debts before the city Campaign Finance Board completed its standard post-election audit of him and his Democratic opponent, Kevin Kim.
“If he raised the money and paid it from a separate account, he wouldn’t be eligible for the money from the CFB to which he is legally entitled,” Stites said at the time.
But Judge Andrea Masley, who is considering whether to award a judgment to Advantage, moved forward with the proceedings during a June 30 hearing despite that argument.
Eric Friedman, a Campaign Finance Board spokesman, said in January that Halloran could have settled with the vendors without jeopardizing any public matching funds for which he is eligible.
“There’s nothing that prevents him from borrowing money to pay them off,” Friedman explained at the time. “He could get a loan from a bank to pay the previous debt from the campaign and that wouldn’t preclude him from getting paid.”
On Tuesday, Friedman said the board had not yet finished audits of the Halloran and Kim campaigns.
“The work of the audits is continuing and we can’t really discuss further the contents of the work until it’s completed,” Friedman said.
To fund his campaign, Halloran accepted public financing while Kim did not, and the councilman was thus eligible to receive city matching funds based on how much Kim raised.
Kim raised enough money to qualify Halloran to receive the highest level of matching funds, Friedman said.
But the campaign has yet to receive a large portion of that money because much of Kim’s fund-raising was reported on post-election disclosure forms and the Campaign Finance Board has not yet ruled on what additional funds Halloran will receive.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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