2009-10-30 / Community

Political Season Ends With Charges, Revelations

ERIC ULRICH ERIC ULRICH With Election Day only four days away, it is traditional that politicians hurl charges that can't be substantiated in the short time left before the voters hit the polls on November 3.

This year, the political shenanigans started early in the race for the City Council seat in the 32nd Councilmanic District with an unknown Democrat charging that Republican candidate Eric Ulrich planned to defund the commuter ferry service to Man hattan from Rockaway.

The charges, just a day be - fore the Demo - cratic candidate, Frank Gullu scio, was to hold a news conference at the ferry landing, never stuck, however, with Ulrich denying the charges and Gulluscio denying that he had anything to do with the revelation.

This week, however, the charges and counter-charges got louder.

The City Hall blogsite (www.cityhallnews. com) reported on Wednesday that Frank Gulluscio left an item off his resume - that he served a brief tenure in 1989 as the president of disgraced and suspended Community School Board 27.

FRANK GULLUSCIO FRANK GULLUSCIO "… an investigation revealed that Gulluscio earned his appointment as president in exchange for votes on other matters, including the installation of his campaign manager as an elementary school principal.

"Parents and other school board members blame [Gulluscio] for failing to stop a culture that traded jobs and school board dollars for votes."

Wave editor Howard Schwach, who covered the school board scandal 20 years ago, says that it isn't necessarily so.

"Gulluscio was a new board member

on a board that had been trading jobs and votes for power for years," Schwach said. "With a commission set to investigate school boards, Gulluscio was set up by the other board

members - particularly Jimmy Sullivan and Sam Granirer - to take the fall as president should anything happen from the commission's deliberations. Eventually, the entire board was suspended, but Gulluscio was not one of those who acted badly, even though his campaign manager, George Eaton, did become a principal after his election."

More serious charges against both Gulluscio and Ulrich, who is the incumbent, came the same day.

The charge against Ulrich was that he illegally used Mayor Michael Bloomberg's staffers and supplies in his campaign.

The charge partially revolves around the campaign office on Rockaway Beach Boulevard that is shared by both the mayor and Ulrich.

Gulluscio filed a city Campaign Finance Board complaint a few weeks ago alleging Bloomberg's camp improperly helped coordinate Ulrich's leafleting and offered the councilman use of his staffers, something that meets the qualification for a donation "that may well exceed the contribution limit for City Council candidates."

A spokesperson for the Campaign Finance Board said that it is reviewing the complaint, but that the review might well not be over until after the November 3 election.

Gulluscio does not escape the investigator's spotlight.

The Daily News reported on Wednesday that Gulluscio's Brooklyn beauty supply firm, which went bellyup in 2003, still owes more than $1,000 in taxes to New York State.

Gulluscio told the News that the problem "was a paperwork error" and that he would pay the money.

"I am certainly not a deadbeat," he told a Daily News reporter.

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