Richard Brodsky: Working for the Public or the Parking Industry?

brodsky.jpgWestchester Democrat Richard Brodsky has emerged as the State Assembly's leading critic of Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan. Later today Brodsky will release a report on the steps of City Hall characterizing the Mayor's congestion pricing plan as a regressive tax that puts most of the burden on poor and middle-income drivers (and ignoring the fact that only 4.6% of New York City residents drive to work in Manhattan's Central Business District and most poor and middle-income New Yorkers use transit).

In his radio address this weekend, Mayor Bloomberg urged state lawmakers to "put aside their competing interests and come together" on the issue of congestion pricing. "To leave this half a billion dollars just sitting on the table would be absolutely ridiculous." In response, Brodsky told the New York Times:

We don't have any competing interests. We're interested only in the public interest, and the first thing the public interest requires is someone to actually look at the mayor's plan, fairly and thoroughly.

Yet, over the last five years Assembly Member Brodsky has accepted at least $16,700 in campaign contributions from parking garage interests, according to the New York State Board of Elections. Brodsky's parking industry contributions far exceed those of any other state legislator (though Queens City Council Member David Weprin leads the pack with his $20,500 $40,650 haul). Specifically, Brodsky's contributions have come from the Metropolitan Parking Association and the Mallah family, the owner of several parking companies and sometimes referred to as New York City's "parking royalty."

The Mallah family has interests in several parking corporations including Merit Parking, Mallah Parking Corporation, Advance Parking, and Icon Parking. Shelly Mallah is also associated with New York City's Metropolitan Parking Association and has made campaign contributions to its political action committee.

Vincent Petraro, the executive director of the Metropolitan Parking Association, a trade group representing about 800 lots and garages in New York City, has served as an intermediary for political campaign contributions for Sheldon Mallah, according to the NYC Campaign Finance Board. Petraro is also a board member of Queens Chamber of Commerce and chairman of its Legislative Advocacy Committee.

Parking industry contributions to Richard Brodsky:

$1,000 12/01/05 Sheldon Mallah
$1,000 12/01/05 Sandra Mallah
$500 3/28/05 Metro Parking Association
$400 3/25/04 Sandra Mallah
$500 5/20/04 Sheldon Mallah
$1,000 5/20/04 Sandra Mallah
$2,000 4/29/04 Sandra Mallah
$800 3/25/04 Sheldon Mallah
$500 12/30/03 Sheldon Mallah
$1,000 12/30/03 Sandra Mallah
$1,000 6/26/03 Sheldon Mallah
$2,000 6/23/03 Sandra Mallah
$1,000 3/03/03 Sandra Mallah
$1,000 11/22/02 Sandra Mallah
$1,000 8/26/02 Sandra Mallah
$1,000 8/26/02 Sandra Mallah
$1,000 5/06/02 Sandra Mallah

TOTAL: $16,700

How do Brodsky's parking industry contributions compare? No other state legislator even comes close to the levels of contributions received by Brodsky from the Mallahs and the Metropolitan Parking Association since 2002.

Marty Golden $1,500
Denny Farrell$1,000
Sheldon Silver $1,000
Joe Lentol$750
John Sabini $500
Danny O’Donnell $500
Rory Lancman $500
Michael Cusick $250
Mark Weprin $250

Photo: Tim Roske/Associated Press via the New York Times