2005-07-08 / Community

District Attorney Brown Eyes Sanders’ Financial Track Record

By Brian Magoolaghan

  • The Queens District Attorney’s office is considering City Council hopeful David Hooks’ request for a criminal investigation into Councilman James Sanders Jr.’s failure to file years of financial disclosure reports.
  • “We received the letter and the matter is under review,” Meris Campbell, a spokesperson for District Attorney Richard A. Brown, told The Wave this week.

    Brown’s review was prompted by a letter from The Committee to Elect David Hooks, sent late last month, in which the Democratic challenger accused Sanders of criminal activity.

    “It is illegal in New York for a candidate or authorized committee not to disclose its campaign contributions and expenditures,” the letter says. “How long can a sitting elected official be allowed to conceal the money he has raised and spent while in office? And why do we need laws concerning campaign contributions and expenditures if they can be deliberately ignored,” the letter says.

    Hooks’ letter highlights the fact that Sanders, a two-term incumbent, has not filed three years of financial disclosure reports with the Board of Elections.

    Sanders has another deadline of July 15 fast approaching.

    “This is about money, plain and simple, and the public has a right to know where the Councilman has received his campaign contributions and how the money has been spent,” Hooks said in a press release subsequent to his letter.

    Sanders, in an interview with The Wave last moth, said he was working to file the reports and to regain compliance. He blamed the problem on a “grassroots” campaign finance advisor.

    The councilman steamrolled his 2003 opponent, Everly Brown, but Hooks has taken a much more aggressive approach to unseating him and the challenger has already won the backing of the Democratic Party.

    A call to Sanders’ City Hall office seeking comment for this story was not returned by press time.

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