More of Sweeney’s dirty tricks

Local residents who oppose the Broadway Soho BID hope it doesn’t do anything further to “put Soho on the map” for tourists. PHOTO BY MILO HESS

BY TRIP YANG  |  Sean Sweeney, the Soho Alliance director and Downtown Independent Democrats leader, is again misleading readers when the truth isn’t convenient.

Sweeney, a longtime opponent of the Soho Business Improvement District, last week penned a talking point in The Villager accusing Councilmember Margaret Chin and Soho BID organizers of a “lack of transparency” after the BID was passed by a City Council vote following three years of community consultation, collaboration and compromise.

There are many disingenuous statements in Sweeney’s piece — the errors might even outnumber the amount of times Sweeney’s handpicked City Council candidates failed to win office. The most dubious statement is his accusation that Councilmember Chin accepted large sums of money from Newmark Realty in her current re-election campaign. This is blatantly false. A quick search on the Campaign Finance Board site reveals an impressive 825 contributors, with an average, grassroots-level donation of $186 — yet no mention of Newmark Realty.

So why is Sweeney authoring a factually erroneous opinion piece? To borrow some of Sweeney’s own language, one explanation is that he is looking for “retribution” after his last two handpicked City Council candidates lost by wide margins to Councilmember Chin. It’s also plausible that Sweeney is simply seeking “vengeance” after learning the Campaign Finance Board is looking into allegations of serious violations by Sweeney’s political club, Downtown Independent Democrats, for campaign activities in the 2013 Democratic primary election.

D.I.D. is the “Democratic reform” club Sweeney led as president for many years, and continues to serve on the leadership of. It’s also ironically the same club that received a $15,000 donation this year from benefactor Charles Schmerler, who has also donated to Republican House Speaker John Boehner. Not to be outdone on outreach to the Republican Party, Peter Gleason, a member of the D.I.D. Executive Committee, is currently challenging Cy Vance, the incumbent Democratic Manhattan district attorney, on the Republican line. Vance, of course, was endorsed by D.I.D. this year. These are all verifiable facts — unlike Sweeney’s opinion piece.

It’s a pity all the new sanitation services of the BID won’t be able to clean up Sweeney’s dirty tricks.

—  Yang is campaign manager for Margaret Chin’s City Council re-election campaign