2009-03-27 / Top Stories

Chapey Workers Want To Know: Where's My Money?

By Nicholas Briano

Chapey's campaign office in Rockaway Park. She reportedly owes James Wu's campaign consulting firm, as well as his employees, a significant amount of money for heading up her failed City Council campaign last month. Chapey's campaign office in Rockaway Park. She reportedly owes James Wu's campaign consulting firm, as well as his employees, a significant amount of money for heading up her failed City Council campaign last month. Harvey Luft worked for the Chapey campaign in her failed attempt in last month's special election. By all accounts he was one of the hardest working and dedicated employees. But why hasn't he been paid any of the more than $1,000 owed to him for that hard work?

According to Luft, he and other employees who worked for Chapey's campaign manager, James Wu, have not been paid or have been paid with checks that have bounced.

It has been more than one month since Chapey's poor showing in the 32nd District City Council special election. Her campaign raised more than $115,844, according to campaign finance reports, but has only spent around $99,000.

Wu's company, Cornerstone Strategies, was hired by Chapey to organize and run her campaign. According to New York City Campaign Finance Board disclosure statements, Wu's company was paid a total of $21,215 by Chapey on five different occasions, payments ranging from $1,450 to $7,200. Wu contests, however, that she owes him significantly more than what was reported and it is from that money that Luft and other campaign employees are to be paid.

"I am appalled that Chapey has yet to pay her campaign employees," Wu said this week. "I have not been totally paid as well during the course of the campaign. Ms. Chapey is failing to reach her short term financial responsibility and that is sadly continuing after the campaign as well."

Wu remembered Luft and the outstanding job he did for the campaign and regrets to learn that he has not been paid.

"Harvey was a very good worker and a good man," Wu said.

Luft, on the other hand, has grown skeptical of everyone involved and doesn't know to whom to turn anymore to get his money. Luft says he spoke with Chapey's husband, Eugene Pasternak, who assured him he would get him a check right away. According to Luft, however, he received nothing.

"Pasternak lied to me and is blaming Wu. Somebody needs to make good on this money," Luft said. "Wu owes money to workers he hired for the Chapey campaign. I'm not the only one who is owed money."

Luft says both parties are pointing the finger at one another saying they are not responsible. Meanwhile, however, there are people who are awaiting payment for jobs completed more than a month ago.

This is not the first financial controversy surrounding Chapey. In recent months she has been under fire for not disclosing to the public her use of taxpayer funds for her non-profit enterprise, Trinity Senior Services. She placed a distant third in the special election with 920 votes after spending thousands in legal fees to get other candidates including Frank Gulluscio and Glenn DiResto knocked off the ballot.

Luft plans to file with small claims court this week in a last effort to receive his money.

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