Southern Brooklyn

Akselrod Campaign Treasurer Resigns Following “Negrohood” Flub


YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: The campaign treasurer for Friends of Ben Akselrod resigned yesterday, outraged that his address was put on thousands of mailers to neighbors that said crime is up in the “negrohood.”

Sheepshead Bites was the first news outlet to report last week that Ben Akselrod, looking to unseat State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, sent out a mailer to thousands of residents that Cymbrowitz was “allowing” crime to rise in the “negrohood.”

Additionally, the flier contained several typos and factual errors.

The flier came from “Friends of Ben Akselrod,” one of two campaign groups supporting Akselrod for Assembly, and had the return address of the campaign treasurer, Bryan Goldstein.

Following our report, Goldstein contacted Sheepshead Bites and said that he was “not involved” in creating the literature, and that his address was used “WITHOUT permission or authority.”

“As you can imagine, when I found out about this over the weekend I was quite upset about this,” he told us on Monday. “I agreed to be the treasurer for Ben Akselrod. We’ve been friends since high school. It was not something I was thrilled to get involved with but I figured I’d do a favor for a friend.”

Goldstein, a lawyer, said that he was largely just a name on the account, occasionally signing paperwork, cutting checks and depositing donations. (It is not unusual for campaign treasurers to have little involvement in the campaign.)

But since the mailers went out, Goldstein is worried that the nefarious flub would muddy his name, and that “weirdos and nutcases” may try to contact him.

“Basically, I think the feeling was that it was no big deal to use my address …  that no harm would come of that, and obviously I disagree,” he said. “Naturally, when you see something like that and have my home address attached to that, naturally that’s very disturbing.”

Goldstein said he had no involvement in the creation of the flier, and that he wasn’t sure how it could have happened.

“I have no idea how this quote got into it; it was never explained to me and to my knowledge, Mr. Akselrod does not know about it,” he said.

Asked if, as treasurer, he issued payment for the printing, he indicated that no payments had been made to anyone that would be large enough to cover such a printing, but that it was possible he had not yet received the invoice.

At 5:27 p.m. on Monday, Goldstein sent an e-mail to Sheepshead Bites that said, in part, “Effective immediately, I have resigned as treasurer of the campaign for Ben Akselrod.”

Despite multiple requests for comment, no one from the Akselrod campaign has responded.