BROOKLYN — A defiant John Liu refused to pull the plug on his 2013 mayoral bid, one day after a close aide was arrested on allegations of campaign finance fraud.
Surrounded by reporters at Medgar Evers College, the city comptroller and prospective mayoral candidate said the allegations were not enough to make him surrender his campaign.
"All options are on the table. We’re moving forward," he said.
On Tuesday night, Liu had left open the possibility of shutting down the campaign, after 25-year-old Jia "Jenny" Hou was arrested on charges she helped funnel large, illegal contributions into Liu’s coffers using straw donors who were later reimbursed.
Hou, who had previously volunteered on Liu's 2009 race, is also accused of coaching volunteers in techniques to evade watchdogs, like forging straw donors’ signatures.
While many pundits believe Liu's 2013 Gracie Mansion dreams are dashed, Liu appeared more confident Wednesday.
He again refused to answer questions about whether he was aware of the alleged fraud, but he downplayed his role in the campaign and said its day-to-day operations were run by staffers.
Asked whether Hou, who faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted, was taking the fall for the campaign, Liu insisted that isn't the case.
"Jenny is a very capable individual, somebody who’s very hardworking that I've come to know and depend upon and no one’s hanging out anybody to dry," he said.
Hou's arrest came less than two weeks after one of Liu's top fundraisers, Oliver Pan, was indicted for alleged financial misdeeds.
He also insisted that he has no plans to abandon ship as the city's top fiscal watchdog, despite the continuing investigation into his campaign.
"We have examined the events of yesterday and what’s transpired and what it all means, and I continue to be vigorously pursuing the responsibilities of my office, auditing city agencies, cutting wasteful spending, investing our pension assets and making sure that we’re accessing the bond markets appropriately," Liu said.