A Politician’s Personal Finances- What’s The Big Deal?

Councilman Greenfield receiving between 100 and 250K prior to becoming a councilman would be news if the money wasn't from his employer (from NY Post)

Lately, the New York Post has been looking at the personal financial disclosures of various city council members. Two from our neck of the woods, namely Vincent Gentile and David Greenfield were subjected to honored with mentions by the Post in an article on the subject.

According to the Post, Councilman Greenfield seems to be doing well for himself. He has reported earning between $100,000 and $250,000 last year from former employer the Sephardic Community Foundation.

From the Post:

But Greenfield’s report for 2009 — when he also claimed his income from the nonprofit was in the same $100,000-to-$250,000 range — doesn’t add up with the group’s IRS forms for that year, showing him pulling in $299,000.
When pressed on the matter, Greenfield only said, “A plain reading of my disclosure form presents income and back income paid to me before I ran for office in the two appropriate sections of the 33-page form.” The group’s current leaders would not comment.

Greenfield insists that he filed appropriately, but hey, the Post is part of an international media empire made up of corrupt upright, straight shooting thugs media executives who lie to sell papers value good journalism. Parent company Newscorp really helps readers to see breasts the big picture.

And like some kind of fly-by-night collection agency, the Post also tried to shame local Councilman Vincent Gentile about unpaid credit card bills.

According to the tabloid, Gentile disclosed that he owes a total of $440,000 in debt. The figure includes outstanding legal fees, credit cards and loans. Poor Councilman Gentile can’t even take out a home equity without being raked through the muck.

In all seriousness, a politician’s finances can be relevant for many reasons- conflicts of interest, avoidance of child support, donations from special interest groups, etc. I’m all for transparency and putting an end to corruption but to use financial disclosure statements merely to embarrass is not as bad a hacking a kidnapped girl’s phone, well, just wrong.

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