Thursday, March 12, 2009

House of Cards

Adolfo Carrion is now added to the increasingly large list of folks for whom the White House vetting process has proven to be more than somewhat lacking. Not only was Carrion a master of the pay-for-play political shakedown; he was also using his position to get folks to provide free services. As the NY Daily News reported yesterday: "President Obama's new urban czar, Adolfo Carrión, admitted Tuesday he has not paid an architect who designed a renovation of his Bronx home two years ago.That presents conflict-of-interest issues because at the time the architect was a key player in a Bronx development that needed approval from Carrión, then the Bronx borough president."

Well, it's only been two years, so maybe Adolfo had a clause that allowed him to wait-forever?-until he could be sure that the house wouldn't collapse because of architectural errors: "In a statement to the Daily News, Carrión admitted he hadn't paid architect Hugo Subotovsky to design a porch and balcony for his City Island home. The renovation occurred more than two years ago. The last document filed with the city Buildings Department is dated Feb. 2, 2007. The work permit on the job expired that same month."

Unable to ignore this potentially unreported-and illegal-gift, the White House responded to the News' revelations in today's edition: "The White House told urban czar Adolfo Carrión on Wednesday to pay the architect who did work on his Bronx home more than two years ago. The Daily News reported that Carrión, the former Bronx borough president who is now the White House urban policy director, had the architect draw up renovations in early 2007. That work came as Carrión's office was reviewing the architect's plan for a housing project. Carrión still hasn't paid for the work, raising questions about whether it was a freebie done to win approval of the project."

And, on the editorial page, the paper mocks the "urban legend," underscoring what many of us have known about the slippery AC: "Then, one day, the powerful borough president, who goes by the name Adolfo Carrión and who was always asked for valuable permissions, said to the architect: "Please, my supplicant, design a wondrous home for me." And the architect, whose name was Hugo (The Helpful) Subotovsky, said: "Yes, powerful sir." And so Hugo the Helpful drew up magnificent plans in the Victorian style, and he worked and worked on them until, lo, after the passage of almost three years, the powerful borough president had a renovated house that suited his magnificence."

Carrion better pay up fast-after all, he doesn't have any job to go back to now that he has resigned his Bronx post. But with the new administration's desire to bail out all manner of deadbeats with its mortgage bailout proposal, we believe that Adolfo Carrion will fit in well down in DC, along with a number of other ethical challenged folks-reminding us of the words sung by the melodious Mary Wells: "I'm sticking to my guy like a stamp to a letter. Like birds of a feather, we stick together. I'm tellin' you from the start. I can't be torn apart from my guy."

For AC's sake, this better be the last bombshell; or else he will join Tom Daschile and Bill Richardson in the Conflict of Interest Hall of Fame. But, probably not. Even when it comes to taking a hand out, he remains simply minor league.