Former Chief Of Staff Cited
Michael Duncan, the former chief of staff to City Councilman James Sanders Jr., was cited with a warning letter by the Conflicts of Interest Board last week for accepting city funding for a non-profit he founded while working for the council member at the same time, published reports say.
Duncan founded the Federation of African, Caribbean, and American Organization, but continued to be a part of the charity after he began working with Sanders in 2007. Even though the participation in the charity was unpaid while working for the council member, city law prohibits a connection between a charity and a public official in such a manner.
The ruling can be considered a slap on the wrist. No financial penalty or fine was imposed on Duncan who left Sanders’ office in 2009. The announcement was made just a day before the Democratic primary for state Senate, in which Sanders beat out incumbent Shirley Huntley. Huntley was recently indicted on charges that she funneled money to a charity that never used the funding and then she tried to hide that fact from investigators through phony letters and documentation.
The reason no fine was imposed could be the fact that Duncan insists that he did nothing wrong and, because it was an unpaid position, he assumed no laws were being broken.
“He was in effect running it because nobody else would or could,” Duncan’s lawyer, Edward McQuat, told the New York Daily News. “Instead of letting it fold up and go away, he tried to help out.”