New York Daily News De Blasio deputy accidentally stirs new controversy in City Council bungled-deed testimony by Jennifer Fermino
Mayor de Blasio's second in command testified to the City Council on the administration's admitted mishandling of the deed removal on a Lower East Side AIDS facility — which paved the way for luxury housing — but ended up stepping into a new controversy on the very last question.
City Councilman Ben Kallos asked First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris if he would say on the record why he could only testify for a limited time.
He said he was told by City Hall that Shorris was attending the US Conference of Mayors, which is in Oklahoma City, and could only stay for two and a half hours.
But Shorris seemed to know nothing about the conference, saying only that he had appointments lined up for the day, and that the mayor — and not him — was attending the conference.
"I'm acting mayor as soon as he gets on the plane," he said.
The response outraged Kallos, who called it "an example of yet another communication problem" with the administration.
Later, a spokesman for the City Council released a statement, accusing City Hall of lying to them in order to limit Shorris' time on the stand testifying about the City Hall screw up.
"The administration misled the Council and the Speakers Office into believing that First Deputy Mayor Shorris' availability for the hearing this morning would be limited because of events related to the U.S Conference of Mayors in Oklahoma City," said Eric Koch, a spokesman for Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
A fiery Ben Kallos was displeased with the City Hall miscommunication. (Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News)
"This turned out to be false. At a hearing which focused on government honesty and transparency this is particularly shocking and unacceptable."
But City Hall claimed it was the Council who screwed up.