Embattled Comptroller John Liu Hires Journo as New Communications Director

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Peter Thorne, new communications director for City Comptroller John Liu.
City Comptroller John Liu, whose hopes of being the next mayor have been increasingly damaged by a fundraising scandal, is shaking things up in his staff, his office announced today.

The biggest blow to Liu has been the arrest of his 25-year-old campaign manager, which has raised questions about how much the comptroller actually knew of the schemes to circumvent campaign finance laws.

Today, his team announced in a press release that Liu has hired Peter Thorne, who was an anchor and reporter for ten years with WPIX TV, to the position of communications director.

This news comes on the heels of Liu speaking out for the first time in a meaningful way about the fundraising scandal. In an interview with the Associated Press, he defended his fundraising tactics, said he believes in his campaign treasurer, and even spoke optimistically about his political future.

Now, starting on Monday, he'll have a former journo to help him out.

"Peter is an award-winning, veteran journalist with a deep understanding of New York City and its many diverse communities," Liu said in a statement. "The energy and insight he brings from his two decades in broadcast journalism will be enormous assets to this office."

Thorne's first assignment for WPIX was the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

Thorne said in Liu's press release, "I am very much looking forward to informing New Yorkers about the important work of the Comptroller's Office such as increasing transparency and eliminating wasteful spending by City agencies," adding, "I have always considered a large part of my career as a journalist to be a form of public service and this new position allows me to continue that public service in a whole new way."

Liu's office said that Thorne will report to Deputy Comptroller for Public Affairs Ari Hoffnung and that Cathy Hanson, who preceded Thorne as communications director, has taken an expanded role as advisor to the First Deputy Comptroller Ricardo Morales on policy matters.

He's not the only journalist to move to P.R. this week -- Adam Lisberg, the editor of City & State, announced that he would be leaving the news outlet to run communications for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

[SamTLevin / @SamTLevin]

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