A regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development who previously served as an adviser to President Barack Obama has been fined $10,000 by a New York City ethics board.
Adolfo Carrion, HUD's regional director for New York and New Jersey, was fined for his dealings with an architect who helped him on a home project and later benefited from Carrion's approval of a local development deal when Carrion was president of the Bronx borough.
Carrion conceded in a disposition released Thursday that he broke the city's conflicts of interest law. He agreed to the $10,000 settlement with the city Conflicts of Interest Board, the board said.
Carrion hired architect Hugo Subotovsky in 2006 to design a porch and deck on Carrion's Victorian home on City Island in the Bronx. At the time, Carrion was president of the Bronx borough and Subotovsky was part of a team seeking approval of a development called Boricua Village, which included a 14-story college building and 679 units of housing.
Carrion recommended approval of the project in 2007 and it went to the city Planning Commission, which approved the necessary zoning changes.
In March 2009, Carrion was named director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs. Days later, the Daily News reported on the New York project. At the time, Carrion said: "I can say without hesitation or qualification that this modest renovation project was completely unrelated to my professional activities and entirely proper." The following month, Carrion paid the architect $4,247.50 for his work.
Carrion said in the disposition released Thursday that at the time he hired Subotovsky, he didn't know the architect was involved in the Boricua Village project. Still, he said, "I knew that he was an architect associated with similar projects that had previously come before my office seeking the city's approval."
He also said Subotovsky hadn't billed him because the project wasn't formally completed until Carrion scheduled a final inspection of the porch, which he did after hearing from the newspaper. Carrion said his wife had sent the architect an email asking how much they owed him back in 2007, but he never responded.
Prosecutors looked into the case and found no evidence of wrongdoing, the Bronx district attorney's office said Thursday.
As Bronx borough president, real estate developers were among Carrion's biggest campaign donors, and campaign finance records showed that Subotovsky and the team behind Boricua Village gave Carrion tens of thousands of dollars.
A HUD spokesman had no immediate comment Thursday. A spokesman for Subotovsky said the architect was pleased to have the matter resolved. "This settlement proves again that Mr. Subotovsky has no responsibility whatsoever in this matter," Hank Sheinkopf said in a statement.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York