Grace Not Swayed by Campaign Contributors
By Rick Pezzullo
Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace insisted he was not influenced by financial contributors to his reelection campaign and, in fact, was not even aware who made donations.
“I have a treasurer who handles that. I don’t get involved with that,” Grace said Friday when queried about his reported contributors to Committee to Elect Michel J. Grace. “I have blinders on who donates to me. I don’t even bother to look. Does it influence me? Absolutely not. I do what I think is right, not withstanding anything else.”
According to his last filing with the Board of Elections in July, Grace, who is running for a third two-year term on November 3, has $11,297 in his coffers after receiving $6.940 in contributions since his last filing in January. In his January filing, Grace reported receiving $10,360 in contributions.
Grace reported in his July papers financial activity on April 29 in which he received $250 from O’Connor Davies, LLP, the town’s auditors; $250 each from Competition Carting, R&S Waste Services and Can Man Sanitation, all of which pick up the town’s garbage; $350 from Thomas McCrossan, one of the owners of the controversial sober living residence on Underhill Avenue; $125 from Robert Davis, attorney for the sober living residence; and $125 from Bond, Schoeneck & King, the town’s labor counsel. On April 23, Yorktown Stage, which recently received a 10-year lease, contributed $125.
In his January filing, Grace reported receiving $2,000 on July 22, 2014 from LRC Industries, Inc. of White Plains, which is part of the Cappelli development organization. In addition, $1,000 apiece was given by Laborer’s International Union of Hawthorne and NYS Laborers of Albany.
“I do what’s within the bounds of the law,” Grace said of his contributions. “I can’t imagine somebody in Buffalo will be interested in the supervisor race in Yorktown. I think what we have is more than adequate to win the election.”
Meanwhile, Grace’s opponent, Councilman Vishnu Patel, who does not accept campaign contributions, reported in his 32-pre general election filings with the Board of Elections only a $40,000 deposit from himself, all of which he reported was to cover expenses from Franklin Baraff Communications for consulting, printing, mailings and campaign literature.
“My passion is to give, not to take,” said Patel, a retired IBM scientist who, if elected, has pledged to only take a $1 salary as supervisor. “If someone gives me a nickel, I give $100. This town belongs to the taxpayers of Yorktown and they should be treated the same, whether they come with a checkbook or not. Look at the people he’s (Grace) dealing with. That means he has to give it back somehow.”
Grace maintained he did not govern based on who may decide to monetarily support his campaign.
“Do I have a conflict of interest with everyone that votes for me?” Grace remarked. “Campaign contributions are akin to political free speech. Hold my feet to the fire on my vision, hold my feet to the fire on my issues. All this other collateral noise is just that, collateral noise.”
Rick has more than 40 years’ experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, running the gamut from politics and crime to sports and human interest. He has been an editor at Examiner Media since 2012. Read more from Rick’s editor-author bio here. Read Rick’s work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/pezzullo_rick-writer/