City Council Speaker Corey Johnson punished a nonprofit that had protested against his recently passed budget by cutting $2.25 million in city funding for its new headquarters, the group alleges.
The organization, VOCAL-NY, supported the “Occupy City Hall” protests over this year’s city budget, saying it didn’t go far enough to defund the NYPD.
As part of the $88 billion budget that the Council and Mayor de Blasio ultimately passed, the group lost funding the city had previously allocated for new Brooklyn digs for the nonprofit.
“Angered at our role in supporting the launch of the encampment at City Hall to defund the NYPD and reinvest in housing, services and care, Speaker Johnson engaged in overt political retaliation,” VOCAL-NY said in a Tuesday statement.
“While our organization is used to political threats and intimidation by those in power, there can be no place in New York City’s politics for this kind of attack on our First Amendment rights to speak truth to power,” the statement continued. “Just as we fight the impunity given to the NYPD for their abuses and harms, we will fight powerful politicians who want to take critical resources from our communities out of spite.”
Asked about the matter at a Tuesday press conference, Johnson erupted in coughing and chugged some water as he denied the allegation.
“It was my understanding that their … project fell through,” the speaker said. “This had nothing to do with them leading any protests and I look forward to working with them.”
The funding cut was first reported by Politico.
It wasn’t the first time a pol allegedly used the budget to punish a nonprofit that drew his wrath.
The New York Immigration Coalition lost nearly $1 million in Council funding for its “Key to the City” program because some of its staffers had angered Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn), the group alleged.
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