Brooklyn Borough President Tops City Pols in Freebies - NBC New York

Brooklyn Borough President Tops City Pols in Freebies



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    Marty Markowitz was first elected Brooklyn's Borough president in 2001.

    Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz accepted more free travel than any other New York City elected official in 2009, records released Tuesday show.

    Markowitz and his wife Jamie traveled to the Netherlands from March 18 to 21, and they spent Nov. 13 to 17 in Turkey on someone else’s tab.  The trips cost between $5,000 and $39,999, according to the Wall Street Journal

    “For Turkey, the borough president was invited to speak at the 9th annual World Congress of Councils Conference,” press secretary Mark Zustovich said in an e-mail.  “Brooklyn is the ‘Turkish Capital of America’ and the trip was also an effort to strengthen cultural and business with Turkey, where residents have relatives and friends living in Brooklyn.”

    Zustovich added that as for the Netherlands trip Markowitz attended a quadricentennial celebration for New York City under the consortium name NY400.

    “For this trip, airfare was handled by the Keukenhof Garden and the Dutch government. The Grand Hotel Amrath Amsterdam provided lodging and breakfast. Food was provided at some of the official events; all other meals and expenses were the responsibility of the borough president,” said Zustovich.

    The city’s Conflicts of Interest Board, which released the information, had no comment on the report, which is only available in person.

    In addition to the free trips, the report outlines discrepancies, oversights and mistakes.  According to WSJ, Council Member Charles Barron of Brooklyn failed to report his high-profile trip to Gaza sponsored by Viva Palestina, a pro-Palestine group. "It was a simple oversight," he told the paper.

    City Council members Christine Quinn and James Sanders also accepted trips from organizations. Speaker Quinn went to Belfast, Northern Ireland, on the Belfast Media Group's dime, and Councilman Sanders went to Israel. Sanders mistakenly filed the trip for 2009, when it actually took place this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    The report also outlines the debt of city leaders.  Like many Americans, elected officials say the are burdened with credit car deb, the Journal reports.