City fines John Liu $544K for illegal campaign signs

City fines John Liu $544K for illegal campaign signs
By Connor Adams Sheets

The city has fined City Councilman John Liu’s (D-Flushing) successful campaign for city comptroller more than $500,000 for illegally posting signs, according to the city Sanitation Department.

His campaign was issued 7,252 summonses, generating $543,900 in potential fines, for signs posted on light poles and along streets in ways that violate city law, Sanitation spokesman Keith Mellis said. The city levies a $75 fine for each illegally posted sign.

“It’s defacing the property of the city,” Mellis said.

Liu’s campaign raised nearly $3.55 million during the 2009 election cycle in the race for comptroller, but spent more than $5.21 million, according to the city Board of Elections. The campaign would not speak to issues such as how it plans to pay for the tickets.

“We are reviewing the summonses, and we are taking steps to resolve them. That’s all I can really tell you,” said Liu’s spokeswoman, Sharon Lee.

The mayoral candidates also received fines for illegally posting signs. Comptroller William Thompson, the Democratic contender, took the brunt, with $531,975 in potential fines for 8,665 violations resulting in 7,093 individual summonses, Mellis said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign, on the other hand, only received 70 tickets, or $5,250 in fines, down from the nearly $308,000 the campaign had to pay in sign-posting fines during the last mayoral campaign in 2005.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Note: This article has been updated since publication to correct an error. City Councilman-elect Mark Weprin was not fined for any signage violations.