By Jill Colvin
CITY HALL — City Council Speaker Christine Quinn defended herself Monday against charges that she personally benefited from her office's work and failed to pay her rent on time.
As part of a three-day exposé of alleged rule-bending and abuses of power by City Council members, the Daily News reported Sunday that the speaker was about to move into a luxury condo in Chelsea where she had allegedly "used taxpayer dollars to resolve a conflict with a neighboring building over garbage."
The paper also charged that Quinn has been sued "repeatedly" for failing to pay her rent on time.
But Quinn blasted the charges against her as "outrageous" Monday, dismissing the first charge as unfounded. Quinn said while the building where she and her partner had purchased an apartment had had "neighborhood issues" in the past, she had been working on those issues for almost four years and they were resolved 10 months before they bought the new place.
"There is no connection between what happened in this building and the neighborhood issue to an apartment I bought 10 months later," Quinn said. "Quite frankly, putting the two together is really just an outrage, inappropriate, and has no bearing to the good work of my office."
Quinn also defended her tenant record, telling reporters that she has been late on her rent a total of four times over the nearly 20 years she had lived in her building, and that each time she paid the rent along with a late fee as soon as she became aware of the error.
"I regret having made four personal bookkeeping errors that had me late for my rent four times in 20 years," she said.
She also praised the Council, saying she was "extraordinarily proud" of its members, but noted that she had "great concern" over other charges in the stories.
"I know already that some of the information was flat-out inaccurate and other parts of it were misrepresented but we will obviously follow up with any members and if there is any legitimate wrongdoing we will take action or work with the members on that," she said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg also stood by the speaker, describing himself as "a big supporter" of her. He also praised the Council, saying that it, "compared to any other legislative body that I'm familiar with, really does what's right."