Fidler To Return Five Figures

Daily News published an editorial Sunday pointing the finger at 46th District City Councilman Lew Fidler for owing taxpayers $88,500. Fidler received the money as part of the city’s public funding system for his campaign against Republican Gene Berardelli, and was widely criticized for taking the maximum amount when his opponent had only raised $2,000.

We, too, were shocked at the amount of money Fidler asked for in his massive 41-page affidavit, which included coverage from Sheepshead Bites as evidence of a competitive race. Fidler told the Daily News, “”If it turns out that I don’t need it, I’ll return it.”

That’s why the day after the election we contacted the councilman to see how much he’d be returning. He wrote:

As of today, I have no clue what we spent and we are still paying bills. I can only GUESS that we will be returning a five figure number, but can’t say for sure.

Clearly he has no intention of meeting Daily News’ demand that he return all $88,500. But campaign funds are given out with the expectation that they’ll be spent, so getting five figures back – if that’s what we get – can be seen by some as a positive step.

What do you think? Should Fidler reimburse the city the entire $88,500? Or was he within his right to spend away?