the racie for gracie

Bloomberg Lawsuit Says Liu Rejects Contracts for the Publicity

John Liu, New York City comptroller, speaks to a reporter prior to a speech by U.S. President Barack Obama on financial reform at Cooper Union in New York, U.S., on Thursday, April 22, 2010. Obama called on the financial industry to drop its
Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBloomberg/2010 Bloomberg

According to the New York Times, the lawsuit Mayor Michael Bloomberg filed last week against John Liu, over Liu’s rejection of a city contract with a homeless shelter operator headed by former DHS commissioner Robert Hess, is only the second time his office has sued a city or state comptroller. So it’s a sign of how frustrated the mayor is with Liu’s rejection of his contracts that he’s going after the comptroller and Democratic mayoral candidate in court. Bloomberg says Liu tends to challenge his contracts on technical grounds that differ from the reasons he flogs in his press releases, then quietly approves them. Liu told the Daily News, “he can sue all he wants, but that’s not going to change the fact that his homeless policy has been an absolute failure.”

Liu “was running for mayor the second he stepped into this job and had no interest in doing the job he was sworn in to do, only to abuse the position,” Bloomberg press secretary Marc La Vorgna told the Times. “That must be the 17,642nd time they’ve referred to an action from my office as naked political ambition,” Liu told the Daily News. “I think the Bloomberg administration defines politics as any time you don’t agree with them 100%.”

As the Times notes, history does not favor Liu: “In the rare cases where a mayor or a comptroller sues the other over contracts, the courts have held that comptrollers have extremely limited powers,” and the city charter states that the only reason to reject a contract is for evidence of corruption. But Liu’s office told West Side Rag he would not back down on his refusal to authorize the $67.6 million contract with shelter operator Aguila, inc. “The Comptroller’s office has every intention to continue to use its powers under the City Charter to safeguard taxpayer spending on outside contracts.”

Bloomberg Suit: Liu Rejects Contracts for Show