Bloomberg vs. Liu: Mayor Sues Comptroller Over Shelter Contracts

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John Liu is in dead last in the race for New York City mayor, and it might be because he is spending a lot of energy battling Mayor Bloomberg. Maybe no one's told him Bloomberg isn't running this time?

Liu, the city comptroller, picked a fight with the mayor earlier this month when he rejected a pair of contracts the administration wanted to award to a company run by the mayor's former commissioner of homeless services.

The contracts would have given Aguila Inc. $67.6 million to operate two city shelters, one on the Upper West Side and the other in the South Bronx.

The comptroller called Bloomberg out when he rejected the contracts in early July. "The administration's homeless policies have failed both the homeless and communities asked to accept shelters, and it would be unconscionable to compound past errors with these faulty contracts," Liu said in a statement.

Bloomberg was not happy about that. On Thursday, he made his displeasure known by filing a lawsuit in which he suggests that Liu's rejection of the contracts amounted to an attempt "to usurp the mayor's authority."

The City Charter, Bloomberg's lawyers will argue, says the comptroller can only void contracts when there is evidence of corruption.

Liu sassed the mayor on Twitter Sunday, like oh, so now you care about the City Charter ...

Liu may be wasting precious time on Bloomberg. Last week's New York Times/Siena College poll put him squarely in last place among the major candidates, with just 7 percent of voters in his corner--well behind Quinn (27 percent), Weiner (18  percent), de Blasio (11 percent), and Thompson (11 percent).

Or maybe Liu is betting that running against Bloomberg will pay off. The same poll found that while a majority of voters approved of the job that Bloomberg has done, his endorsement would not affect the way they voted, while 28 percent said his support would make them less likely to support a candidate.

Send story tips to the author, Tessa Stuart

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