City Says It Paid Former Queens Beep and Lobbyist for "Outreach," Not Lobbying
For their report today on Shulman's possibly illegal lobbying efforts on Willets Point, the Times questions city officials, who insist they weren't paying her to lobby -- though during the Willets Point campaign Shulman was "promising to meet with every member of the City Council as it prepared to vote on the plan last fall," says the Times...
The Mayor's spokesman, Andrew Brent, tells the paper that when the city gave Shulman $450,000 -- coincidentally, the same amount Shulman reported spending on lobbying work -- they never expected her to lobby with it. She was supposed to do "outreach, public relations, and marketing," says Brent -- she never mentioned lobbying (which might be defined as outreach, public relations, and marketing aimed at elected officials).
An Economic Development Corporation spokesman says "the city regularly partners with local organizations that promote growth and economic development" such as Shulman's, but presumably not to lobby.
For her part, Shulman says, "We hired lobbyists from the time we began, because we were told it was something we were supposed to be doing." Unsurprisingly, no one in the story says, "OK, you caught us," and offers himself or herself up for arrest.