More of Sweeney’s dirty tricks

BY TRIP YANG  |  Sean Sweeney, the Soho Alliance director and Downtown Independent Democrats leader, is again misleading readers when the truth isn’t convenient.

Sweeney, a longtime opponent of the Soho Business Improvement District, last week penned a talking point in The Villager accusing Councilmember Margaret Chin and Soho BID organizers of a “lack of transparency” after the BID was passed by a City Council vote following three years of community consultation, collaboration and compromise.

There are many disingenuous statements in Sweeney’s piece — the errors might even outnumber the amount of times Sweeney’s handpicked City Council candidates failed to win office. The most dubious statement is his accusation that Councilmember Chin accepted large sums of money from Newmark Realty in her current re-election campaign. This is blatantly false. A quick search on the Campaign Finance Board site reveals an impressive 825 contributors, with an average, grassroots-level donation of $186 — yet no mention of Newmark Realty.

So why is Sweeney authoring a factually erroneous opinion piece? To borrow some of Sweeney’s own language, one explanation is that he is looking for “retribution” after his last two handpicked City Council candidates lost by wide margins to Councilmember Chin. It’s also plausible that Sweeney is simply seeking “vengeance” after learning the Campaign Finance Board is looking into allegations of serious violations by Sweeney’s political club, Downtown Independent Democrats, for campaign activities in the 2013 Democratic primary election.

D.I.D. is the “Democratic reform” club Sweeney led as president for many years, and continues to serve on the leadership of. It’s also ironically the same club that received a $15,000 donation this year from benefactor Charles Schmerler, who has also donated to Republican House Speaker John Boehner. Not to be outdone on outreach to the Republican Party, Peter Gleason, a member of the D.I.D. Executive Committee, is currently challenging Cy Vance, the incumbent Democratic Manhattan district attorney, on the Republican line. Vance, of course, was endorsed by D.I.D. this year. These are all verifiable facts — unlike Sweeney’s opinion piece.

It’s a pity all the new sanitation services of the BID won’t be able to clean up Sweeney’s dirty tricks.

–  Yang is campaign manager for Margaret Chin’s City Council re-election campaign

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56 Responses to More of Sweeney’s dirty tricks

  1. Seriously?? I can't believe the Chin campaign wrote this. Chin is the WORST COUNCIL MEMBER in all of NYC. A council member beating up on a respected reform political club? That's pathetic.

    • Sweeney is Worse

      Really????? I can't believe Sweeney even wrote that Soho BID oped. Sweeney runs the WORST DEMOCRATIC CLUB in all of NYC. A democratic club beating up on a respected NYC Councilmember? That's pathetic.

      • Is it the job of democratic clubs to discuss issues and ask questions of elected representatives. That is what DID does. DID is the ONLY transparent political club in Shelly Silver's machine-controlled Assembly District. DID is the only club downtown that has open candidate forums and open endorsement elections.

        Shame on you, Trip Yang and Margaret Chin.

        • is this another Republican DID "executive committee" member? Too bad Lower Manhattan Democrats, Village Independent Democrats, and Village Reform Democratic Club also have open candidate forums and open endorsement elections. Wait, all three of these clubs have cleaner backgrounds than DID.

          • All of the clubs you mention (VID, VRDC, and DID) endorsed Jenifer Rajkumar over Margaret Chin by large margins. And the only "Republican" is Margaret Chin, the billionaire's champion in the City Council.

          • this isn't about Chin or Rajkumar. I'm a former Gerson supporter myself. this discussion is about the role of DID, which as you know, has created many many enemies downtown, from the west side to the east side. Let's face it, the only one "respecting" DID these days are the blind zealots who annually congregate in Sweeney's loft to pat each on the back. DID doesn't have the same brand or nearly as much influence as the days of Freed, that's just a fact.

        • Grand st operative

          Hey Paul Newell, still smarting from your blowout loss to Speaker Silver 5 years ago? like I told you then, never should've challenged him.

  2. Chin is a sore winner.

  3. Real Estate Chin

    What'sa matter Margaret? Upset after getting beat up by a young woman in the last election? You had to call your billionaire real estate thug friends for help, or you would have gotten trounced!

    • Carpetbagger Jenifer

      Did you even see the results? Chin won big.….

      • Huh? Chin did NOT win big at all, but got a serious lesson served to her. Chin did terribly; she was the only incumbent in the entire city who couldn't even break 60% of the vote! Rajkumar got 41.5% of the vote, which is more than any challenger in the city and a hell of a job. (And by the way, Rajkumar is born and raised in NY and a NY attorney, so get your facts right about who exactly the "carpetbagger" was in the race).

        • Carpetbagger Jenifer

          Rajkumar spent time in Westchester county, and only moved to New York CITY 2 years ago. Most of her donors came from outside New York.

          Chin grew up in Little Italy and Chinatown, and lives in Financial District. She's lived here for over 50 years, and almost all of her donors come from NYC.

          Let's be real, Jenifer. You were and have always been a carpetbagger.

          Oh, and Chin won. Big. Other incumbents this year lost or won by fewer margins. Again, Chin won. Big.

          Even other newspapers say so.

  4. Investigate Chin

    TIp: Someone should look into Margaret Chin's campaign finance filing.

    It's quite probable Margaret Chin illegally colluded with the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). There is no way Margaret Chin didn't know how REBNY was spending for her this election. While REBNY was spending for Chin, she was having meetings in Council with them to do business in the District. REBNY's expenditures therefore could not have been independent of the Chin campaign, and Chin therefore engaged in illegal campaign finance activity and unlawful collusion.

    Someone please investigate Margaret Chin on her REBNY connection.

  5. Hey Margaret, remember when the Villager refused to endorse you last month??

    Here's what the Villager said: "Now a councilmember, [Margaret Chin] has said yes to worse deals then the ones she criticized and we are disappointed that she has not lived up to her promise. She does not deserve to be reelected."

    Seems to prove Sean Sweeney's point.

    • Better Memories

      Hey Jenifer, remember when the Villager reported that after Chin handily beat you for re-election, you would absolutely support Chin in the general election? Another promise made by Rajkumar, another promise broken.

      • What are you talking about? Rajkumar has been extremely gracious towards Chin. But from what I'm reading in this editorial, Chin has not been gracious at all. Even though Chin won, Chin isn't gracious at all. The poster above is correct: Chin is a sore winner indeed.

  6. tribeca streets

    All these cries from Sean's clubhouse lackies me laugh. i've seen them lose races for decades, and then try to maliciuously attack the the victorious candidates. the game's up sean – your grip on local downtown politicos is slipping, if there ever was a grip to begin with.

  7. HEY EVERYONE, remember when Sean and his lapdog jennifer were trying to attack chin on jobspac even though she said she doesn't condone spending?

    the hypocrisy is that DID spent over $26,000 in independent expenditures supporting jennifer and attacking chin. does that sound like hypocrisy and does that sound like hypocrisy?!!

    • Hi Trip, you're comparing Chin's $300,000+ from the real estate industry with DID's $26,000 (a lot of which promoted several other endorse candidates too besides Rajkumar)? Please focus on helping your constituents in Council District. That's your job. It is not your job to make up bogus claims once the election is over. Margaret Chin: STILL running for Council.

  8. Election's Over Trip

    Trip, rather than spending your time writing accusations against DID and Rajkumar, why don't you and CouncilMember Chin actually do things for the neighborhood and help your constituents. THE ELECTION IS OVER. STOP CRYING AND MOVE ON, MARGARET CHIN. YOU WON.

  9. Thank goodness a truthful article comes out about Sean. It's about time readers know the kind of conman he is. Not every Soho resident or activist is cowed by him. Not even close.

  10. Downtowner Who Knows

    How "reform" can a "Democratic" club be that it accepts $15,000 from a Boehner supporter while enthusiastically allowing one of its members to run as a Republican to challenge a fellow Dem? DID is a club that hasn't just lost a few races, it's lost its soul and lost its way.

  11. Chin the Republican

    The only Republican here is Margaret Chin. Chin's biggest supporters are billionaire Republicans and real estate moguls. These are the people Margaret Chin serves, and that's why Jenifer Rajkumar was able to get over 40% of the vote, an unprecedented percentage for a challenger.

    Just look at Margaret Chin's record serving billionaires: She caters to the real estate interest behind neighborhood BIDS, and supports the billionaire real estate moguls behind the South Street Seaport and NYU land grabs. These are the same people that funded her campaign. And these billionaire Republicans spent the whole campaign sending us nonsense mailers about what a progressive champion Margaret Chin is. . . All so they could keep their favorite Republican Councilmember in office.

    That's right folks. Margaret Chin is a Republican masquerading as a Democrat. Just look at the facts.

    • Um… 40% of the vote is nowadays considered unprecedented?

      Cool your horses kiddo. Didn't Chin ACTUALLY BEAT an incumbent 4 years ago as a challenger? Rajkumar, by comparison, is weak sauce.

      • Chin the Republican

        Please. Everyone knows that Chin only won by dumb luck in 2009. After 3 unsuccessful runs, Chin won on the 4th time only because she was the only Asian running and 4 white guys split the rest of the district. And the only reason Chin won re-election this time is because she is an incumbent. And if Chin didn't have the backing of loads of real estate special interest PAC money, she probably still wouldn't have won even despite her incumbency. (And by the way, when a challenger scores over 40% against an incumbent, that's no reason to celebrate. That's an indictment.)

        • Jenny, I know you tried really hard. You lost. Get over it. Go back to your fake little "save the lower east side and chinatown committee" masquerading as a political PAC while you plot out your next failed election move.

          Maybe even parachute into another District while we're at it?

      • Looking at the results, Rajkumar got more votes in 2013 (about 6,000) than Chin got in 2009 (about 4,200). Rajkumar also got a higher percentage of the vote (42%) than Chin got in 2009 (39%). It's an interesting comparison. What it shows is that Rajkumar is probably a stronger than usual challenger, and Chin is probably a weaker than usual incumbent. It could have gone either way this 2013, depending on many external circumstances (e.g. the Mayor's race and other top of the ticket races affecting downtown voters, outside PAC spending influencing the race, the extent of union involvement at the end, etc.)

  12. For the record, I'm really happy D.I.D.'s shady business has finally been revealed to the public. Want to see what a real club looks like?

    Come on over to V.I.D. We actually elect candidates. Sorry Sean.

    • Chin the Republican

      Umm, V.I.D. endorsed Jenifer Rajkumar over Margaret Chin by a large margin, as a previous poster pointed out here.

  13. Reading these comments makes me think Rajkumar never stopped campaigning. Did she beg for her former interns to all post comments on this article? Lol. Now her kingmaker SWEENEY is being assailed for running a Republican club in possible violation of campaign finance law. How sad. Westchester county must be so far away for young Jenny from the block.

  14. your point? Look at V.I.D.'s history: Glick, Duane, Hoylman.

    DID? Peter Gleason, Jenifer Rajkumar. What total jokes. DID is more like DUD.

  15. Villager who knows

    Waverly Jake:
    VID supported ALL losing candidates: John Liu, Julie Menin, Jenifer Rajkumar and let's not forget – ROTFL – Jonathan Geballe, a district leader put into place by VID party insiders and bosses last spring, and thrown out of office by the voters in the September Primary in an embarrassing and overwhelming defeat.

    All us Villagers know that VID is a joke, a shadow of its former self, that never recovered from Ed Koch's departure to VRDC back in the 1980s.

    • looks like they're bringing in the VRDC club members to comment. please, VID is the mainstream club in Greenwich Village. everyone knows that. there's tradition and a proud history.

      and how successful was VRDC in this past election? hmmmmmm?

  16. 8 yrs in district 1

    All political mailings become very annoying, very quickly. However DID was just word vomit and no basis, nor any positive track record, for the challenger. I've gotten plenty of that type of garbage from them over the years. I'm sick of it. I met Margaret and she was even more sincere and straightforward than I could have hoped for.

  17. Trip, some things should never be written, and yours here is one of those. You should know that your writing reflects poorly on Ms. Chin. She won, so act like. It is her job to take the higher road, and with this, you've brought her down to a lower level. Not good. No one cares about you; you're speaking for a councilmember, so this only taints her. Time to grow up and be the bigger person. Even if you're right, you are hurting your cause and your boss. Very unfortunate, but you can't take these things back, and neither can Ms. Chin.

    • Downtowner who nose

      so you're admitting that the facts in this article are true then? that's the first time I've seen transparency in my former club in years.

  18. Puppet Jennifer

    I applaud the writer of this story. the truth about downtown politics has been revealed – whoever DID runs in a local race is just another puppet being pulled by sean. good riddance they just keep on losing.

  19. Leave Trip alone, folks. He's a 21-year old recent college grad, desperate for a job like so many other college grads these days, and he will write anything his boss Chin tells him to write. Can you believe an incumbent could step so low after an election? She could have run the upper course, but stoops instead to play in the gutter. For shame!

    • uninvited guest

      The only problem is, Chin will feign innocence: she couldn't do anything about Trip writing this hatchet piece, just like she couldn't do anything about REBNY-backed Jobs for New York shelling out over $300,000 on her reelection campaign, and she couldn't do anything about having promised 100% affordable housing on SPURA and giving away half of it for luxury housing to her developer clients, and on NYU 2031, of course, she would have gotten a better deal for us if she could have. . . .

  20. gateway plz resident

    Thank you author! this story has been long overdue. I just wish the chin ppl had got the word out about D.I.D.'s borderline nefarious dealings months ago. jenifer rajkumar might even have lost her district leader seat then, as she should've.

    • Uninvited Guest

      Rajkumar trounced L.M.D's district leader candidates TWICE by large margins. And what makes it amazing is that the second time, she wasn't even campaigning for District Leader, just for Council! This indicates that D.I.D.'s brand still commands respect as it has since the days of Kathryn Freed.

      • Not your dad's DID

        please, Uninvited Guest, do not EVER talk about Councilwoman Freed in the same breath as Rajkumar ever again. Freed rightfully has the reputation as downtown's most impactful CM in recent memory. By the way she lowered herself with constant negative insults, Rajkumar is a cheap imitation knockoff.

        • It's a relief not to have you in DID any longer. You were divisive then and divisive now, and Freed had no respect for you and your ilk.

  21. downtown resident

    Poor LMD, being defeated soundly by DID in every election they contest, can only whine away anonymously on a comment section. Let's take a look at the video tape.
    Alan Gerson = History
    Linda Belfer = Trounced
    Avi Turkel = Slammed
    Noel Jefferson = Clobbered
    David Reck = Annihilated
    Robin Forst = Blown Away
    County Committee = Non Existent
    State Committee = Zero
    District Leaders = Say what?
    Judicial Delegates = Huh?
    Respect = Zero
    Political Influence = Zip
    Ability to engender belly laughs = Priceless
    I heard the "M" in their name stands for "Masochists", since they like to be beaten so much.

    • not that I or any villager gives a darn about LMD – since they have zip influence in the the 66th – but is this really coming from a DID member? you just got trounced BIG TIME this past election.

      Squadron = RUNOFF BLOWOUT

      rumor has it 50% of your district leaders – Scott and Grillo – are furious with your pathetic little club. I know, it must be hard these days to keep your head up at your cute little club gatherings.

  22. A bit much Margaret?

    I don't get why Council Member Margaret Chin is so angry over Sean Sweeney and D.I.D. that she'd have her campaign write this diatribe in The Villager. Seems a little silly to me.

  23. Not your dad's DID

    this story just shines another light on the state of downtown clubs – they aren't what they used to be, and certainly not what they used to be under Councilwoman Kathryn Freed. She was passionate, articulate, smart, and got things done. Downtown and DID have been missing her. Unfortunately, the current leadership of DID has run a once great club into the ground. It breaks many oldtimer hearts.

    Gerson was a good CM for the most part, but he faltered at the end with his decision on term limits. Chin has gotten things done in her first term and shows promise.

    Still, in terms of downtown's clubs, this isn't your father's DID. We miss Freed's influence, guidance, and clear eyed leadership.

  24. I for one am extremely happy the election season is almost over. The constant barrage of negative mailers, flyers, tv ads just drive normal people insane. Some of DID's mailers were unnecessarily negative – it was like they were living and breathing a smear campaign against Chin. Waiting until November 6th……. it can't get here soon enough! then we can go back to the real important issues of getting things done for the community, like making sure there're no high rises in the historic Seaport.

    • Downtown Resident

      "Some of DID's mailers were unnecessarily negative – it was like they were living and breathing a smear campaign against Chin. "
      And how would you describe the $300,000 REBNY real-estate developer, billionaires' smear campaign against Jenifer Rajkumar, which prompted all this? Do you blame the victim often?

      If you are so worried about high rises in the Seaport, you have Chin to blame for that. Her and her REBNY friends at the Hughes Corp. Yet you defend her? What's your problem?

      • Chin doesn't support high rises in the Seaport. New buildings need to go through the ULURP. So, get real. What's your problem?

        I've lived in Southbridge for 20 years – Chin has been one of the hardest working elected officials I've been around. Like I said, Sean, Jeanne, and the gang at DID are working on a perpetual swear campaign against her. I've said in the past that Jenifer is an intelligent young woman who has the potential to go places. It's just sad that her own reputation is being dragged through the mud from association with Sean/DID.

  25. Some of these comments supporting Downtown Independent Democrats are laughable. They've tried to bully local candidates and other democratic clubs for decades. Now that they're under investigation from the CFB and are under the microscope from downtowners, they're getting exactly what they deserve. Call it just desserts.

    • More venom from the Chin crew. Will it ever end?

      The CFB "investigation" was a baseless complaint sent in by notorious sore-winner, Margaret Chin, to the CFB, as vengeance for DID literature exposing the role and smear campaign perpetrated by the real-estate billionaire's REBNY PAC $300,000+ contribution to elect Chin, their lackey.
      Due to DID's educating voters to the REBNY/Chin connection, Chin was the incumbent with the lowest winning percentage in the entire city!

      Chin's complaint was so frivolous, trivial and blatantly vindictive that CFB dismissed it summarily.

      Chin and her minions should spend more time taking care of the needs of her constituents and less time seeking revenge and canoodling with NYU's Sexton, overseas mainland Chinese bankers, and the Howard Hughes Corporation at the Seaport.

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