2011-07-01 / Editorial/Opinion

Blame Bloomberg For CityTime Scandal

The ongoing CityTime payroll scandal has resonance for those who remember the 1986 scandal that stripped the squeakyclean veneer off the administration of Mayor Ed Koch, arguably one of the most popular mayors in New York City history. The Parking Violations Bureau scandal destroyed Koch’s administration, many of his friends and allies and signaled the end of his political career. While Koch was never implicated, then-columnist Jimmy Breslin said of Koch, “[He] worked incessantly at knowing nothing.” The daily papers lived in the story for months, drawing it ever closer to Koch and his closest friends and political allies. Those who don’t remember the scandal should know that one of Koch’s allies steered a $22.7 million contract for hand-held scanners to another top Koch ally. Bloomberg’s scandal, CityTime, cost the city and its taxpayers numbers that make Koch’s PVB scandal look like small potatoes. According to federal prosecutors, all of the $600 million paid to the company was tainted – part of a massive fraud that was perpetrated on the city during Bloomberg’s watch and under the eyes of those the city hired to monitor the program – who have also been indicted. Why was Koch excoriated by the press in 1986, while Bloomberg seemingly is getting a free ride from the daily press today? We think that Bloomberg gets a free ride because of the millions in charitable donations he throws around – including some to the publishers’ favorite charities. The New York Post said in a recent editorial, “When that much money goes up in smoke and nobody notices, there has been a fundamental [management] breakdown. Mike needs to fix it.” Whatever the case, the scandal should be laid at Bloomberg’s door just as the PVB scandal was laid at the door of former Mayor Ed Koch. That probably won’t happen, however, because the daily papers have been ducking the question of Bloomberg’s responsibility for years, ever since they backed his destroying the will of the voters to gain a third term. Everybody is just looking the wrong way, and the city suffers.

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