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De Blasio challenger Nicole Malliotakis seeks probe of nonprofit

Nicole Malliotakis asked the city comptroller to investigate

Nicole Malliotakis asked the city comptroller to investigate an education department's multi-million dollar contract with a nonprofit consultant on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

The leading Republican challenging incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio said she wants New York City’s anti-corruption watchdog to investigate contracts worth tens of millions of dollars with a nonprofit retained by the education department to coach public school teachers and principals.

Nicole Malliotakis’ call for an investigation follows an audit released Sunday by city Comptroller Scott Stringer, a Democrat, that faulted the education department for its arrangement with the nonprofit, the New York City Leadership Academy, without adequate safeguards.

Malliotakis, a state assemblywoman from Staten Island, called the findings “reminiscent of Tammany Hall,” the notoriously corrupt patronage mill that controlled New York politics for much of the city’s past. The “lack of DOE oversight,” she said, referring to the Department of Education, “is irresponsible and verging on criminal.”

Mary Jo Dunnington, the academy’s senior vice president, said the organization has time sheets and other bookkeeping proof to document claimed services and followed all protocols.

The current contract began in 2014, ends in 2019, and was worth up to $40.9 million, Dunnington said.

De Blasio campaign spokesman Dan Levitan said by email that Malliotakis’ criticism “was another silly attack from a desperate candidate.”

Department spokesman Will Mantel said the “majority of services” with the academy ended in June.

“Our finances are transparent, and we have robust financial processes in place that serve students, schools, and taxpayers alike. Extensive and detailed information on allocations, contracts, and expenditures is publicly available on the DOE’s website,” he said.

Malliotakis said if elected she would not keep de Blasio’s schools chancellor, Carmen Farina, who had spent four decades in the system starting as a teacher.

“She won’t be in my administration,” Malliotakis said. “I will have my own chancellor. ”


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