Bay Ridge

Gounardes to intro ‘Golden Rule’ bill to keep campaign funds out of family businesses

February 19, 2019 By Meaghan McGoldrick Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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A pair of Brooklyn pols will hold a rally Wednesday in support of a new bill dubbed “The Golden Rule” – seemingly named after former state Sen. Marty Golden – which would restrict the use of campaign funds at businesses owned by the candidates’ family.

The bill is set to be introduced in the state legislature by Assemblymember Robert Carroll, who represents Park Slope and Kensington, and state Sen. Andrew Gounardes, the Bay Ridge Democrat who unseated the eight-term incumbent in November.

(Updated 5:00 p.m.: The rally was originally scheduled to be held in front of the Bay Ridge Manor, a business connected to Golden’s family. It has been relocated to 250 Broadway due to weather.)

“Many of us have been told throughout our lives that we should live by the ‘Golden Rule’ and treat others the way that we wish to be treated,” Gounardes told this paper in a statement. “We should be holding elected officials and those seeking public office to that same standard. This legislation will codify the ‘Golden Rule’ to ensure that no candidate can personally profit from campaign contributions and aligns with the fundamental promise we made to voters to advance the public good, not our own bank accounts.”

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Golden’s use of his campaign funds came into question earlier this year when Bklyner first reported that the pol had spent $44,616 during his last month in office, mostly settling debts like accountants’ fees and paying the bill at the Bay Ridge Manor, the catering hall at 474 76th St. owned by one of his siblings, and which the former state senator had previously owned. Golden held events at the Bay Ridge Manor regularly during his years in office.

The pol’s election night party there cost $4,738.78 and his annual holiday party, $15,542, both of which bills he paid before leaving office at the end of December, according to the New York State Board of Elections (BOE).

This, the BOE said, is perfectly legal (the only exception, Public Information Director John Conklin told this newspaper via email, stems from Section 14-130 of the station election law, which prohibits the funds from being converted to a personal use.)

Gounardes and Carroll are hoping to change that.

The pair alleges that nearly $800,000 in campaign funds were spent, in total, by Golden at his family’s catering hall, as well as that the longtime pol used campaign funds to cover personal expenses such as country club dues and car payments.

When contacted for comment, Golden told this paper, “I’m the landlord and the tenant pays me rent.” According to city Dept. of Finance records, the building has been owned since 1994 by 476, Inc., of which Golden is president. Golden further noted, however, that he hadn’t owned the catering hall in “20-30 years.”

The bill is being introduced in both the state Senate and the Assembly.

The press conference will take place at noon.

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