Shy Recruit

Categories: Fact Check
Ask anyone answering the phone at the Bloomberg campaign office in the Throgg's Neck section of the Bronx who's in charge there, and they'll direct you to a political operative named John Greaney.

But if you try to ask Greaney, who also served as campaign manager for failed city council candidate Steve Kaufman, whether or not he's the same guy who was featured as the hero/victim in a recent Times story about an embarassing legal episode in the life of Freddy Ferrer and he gets all shy on you.

"I'm going to have to refer you to the press office," said Greaney when the Voice called him this morning.

Like those pancake-chewing Bloomberg boosters in Harlem who slipped one past reporters recently by posing as everyday diners in love with Mayor Mike, Greaney's role as a full time Bloomberg campaign worker somehow never surfaced in the 1,200-word Times piece.

The October 6th article recounted how the city had been forced to pay $15,000 on Ferrer's behalf, even though he was no longer a city official, to settle a slander lawsuit filed by Greaney against Ferrer, who had been his boss as Bronx borough president. The article recounted how, as beep, Ferrer had reversed positions on a controversial Bronx hospital incinerator, then blamed a staff position paper authored by Greaney as failing to fully research the plant's environmental impact. Greaney was later fired and, in 1998, filed his slander suit.

Fast forward to the Bloomberg era in 2003 when city lawyers agreed, as they do in scores of lawsuits, to make a small settlement in order to make the case go away.

The Times noted that Ferrer's reversal on the incinerator neatly fit the "Flip-flop Freddy" image which Bloomberg's campaign has sought to promote (in Times-speak, the candidate was described as "prone to shifting positions on contentious issues and dodging responsibility for gaffes.")

But nowhere in the story was there any reference to Greaney's role as a full-time Bloomberg campaign aide, dispatching field workers from a Bloomberg campaign office near Bruckner Boulevard. "I'm a volunteer," was all Greaney would say before hurrying off the phone.

Indeed, no Bloomberg payments to Greaney have shown up on the mayor's campaign disclosure reports. But Greaney already pulled in $20,000 this summer by running the race for Kaufman, a Bloomberg favorite who sought the Democratic council nomination to replace Madeline Provenzano.

Bloomberg press spokesman Stu Loeser did not return a call seeking comment on Greaney's status.


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