Boro Dems’ pork money bank no match for GOP

By Adam Pincus

The release of the information last month in response to a lawsuit filed by the Albany Times Union showed that Republicans, who control the Senate, far outspent Senate Democrats in 2006 in Queens in discretionary spending on pet projects.The Senate and Assembly each distributed about $85 million in such funds to nonprofit and other organizations, most often in the legislator's home districts.In the borough the two Republican senators brought home about $4.4 million for favored projects, while the five Democratic senators had a little less than $1 million to dole out this year.The two spokesmen each blamed the other's party last week for the failure to post online Democratic member items for the three years prior to the 2006 fiscal year even though Republican items for those years were available.Senate majority spokesman Mark Hansen said Democrats did not supply their list of member items to the Republicans, who control the Senate Web site. “The bottom line is they didn't provide the information,” he said.But Kyle Kotary, a spokesman for the Democratic minority leadership, strongly disputed Hansen's account, saying Senate Democrats released their information earlier this year as paper documents.”It is very disappointing to hear that from the Senate majority when they know not only that we released our '06, '05 and '04, we encouraged them to do the same,” Kotary said. “And they did not release (their member items) until after they were sued.”As a delegation, Maltese and Padavan sent about $4.4 million to the borough, while the Democrats had about $951,000 to distribute. Albany watchers said a mixture of seniority and political dealings explained the differences within each party.Sen. Frank Padavan (D-Bellerose), elected in 1974, directed $2.3 million to local groups, many of them historical and educational institutions.Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale), the Queens Republican Party boss who entered the Senate in 1989, gave just over $2 million, and spent heavily on Italian fraternal and social organizations, including grants of $50,000 to the Federazione Italo-Americana Di Brooklyn and Queens Inc. in Glendale. His largest donation was for Maternity and Early Childhood Foundation, which received $125,000.He also supported eight animal care organizations in the city with a total of $42,000, including $27,000 for the Manhattan-based I Love Animals Inc. and $8,000 for Bobbi and the Strays based in Ozone Park.Sen. George Onorato (D-Astoria), with 23 years in the Senate, led the Democrats in seniority and money with $242,500. He was followed by Sen. Ada Smith (D-Jamaica), who in September lost her bid for her 10th term, and who doled out $240,000.Sen. John Sabini, elected in 2002, directed about $183,000 to 59 organizations, with no amount greater than $10,000. Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) was elected in 1999 and gave $69,000 of her $150,000 to the North Flushing Senior Center, which was founded by her late husband Leonard Price Stavisky. Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans), the new minority leader in the Senate, gave out $148,000. He first won election in 2000.Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

More from Around New York