NEW YORK — Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron lashed out at the New York Daily News today, and subsequently Mayor Michael Bloomberg, over reports of his involvement in a building project in East New York.
The Daily News reported Wednesday that Barron backed the Related Companies’ plan for a Gateway II shopping complex in East NY after they signed a “secret” agreement that pledged cash to a coalition ran by Andre (A.T.) Mitchell, who is Barron’s former aide.
The publication also reported that Mitchell was the only signatory, and that half a dozen spaces for other community groups were left blank.
“There was no secret,” Barron said. “The NY Daily News got hold of [the deal] before it was signed.”
The councilman said nearly nine groups are involved in the deal, and that there was nothing done behind closed doors.
Responding to reports that he and his wife, Assemblywoman Inez Barron, gave $350,000 of taxpayers money to Mitchell’s nonprofit Man Up! Inc., Barron asserted, “Yes I did. All politicians pay with taxpayers money. Everything was done right.” He commended the nonprofit for its work reducing crime rates in the community.
The councilman postulates that Bloomberg and a friend who works at the NY Daily News are retaliating against him because he and his wife voted no to the mayor’s budget proposal.
“They’re mad because I’m standing up to white powerful men who want to make a profit,” Barron said. “You don’t see any [publication] reporting this but the Daily News.”
Barron contends that he should be commended for his work, such as signing a Community Benefit Agreement that will build 2, 385 units for affordable new schools, parks and daycare centers, and standing up to supermarket conglomerate Walmart for its discriminatory policies and reputation for closing down neighboring businesses. He lamented that none of that is reported by local news agencies.
However, Barron said he thanks the The Daily News for its reports, which ultimately brings awareness to his accomplishments and all he has planned for the Brooklyn neighborhood.
“I should hire [them] as my PR team,” he said.