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Fake Christine Quinn Campaign Website Fools Foes

By Jill Colvin | March 13, 2013 3:25pm
 A fake Quinn website announcing a vote on paid sick leave appeared on Tuesday.
A fake Quinn website announcing a vote on paid sick leave appeared on Tuesday.
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NEW YORK CITY — A fake campaign website for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn claims the mayoral contender will allow a vote on controversial paid sick leave legislation after the real Christine Quinn has refused to do so for months.

The website, quinnfornewyork.org, looks almost identical to Quinn's official site, www.quinnfornewyork.com, with the same logo, photographs and content. But it includes a sham page that says, "It's Time for a Vote."

"It's time for an up-or-down vote on paid sick days," the page reads.

"Let's bring the bill to the floor of the City Council, debate it in the light of day, and vote. The public deserves transparent and democratic process.

It's what I'm fighting for. I hope you'll join me.

-Christine Quinn."

An email with the same message was also sent out via the email address "general@quinnfornewyork.org."

Quinn's campaign immediately denied the site was legit.

"This is not the campaign website. This was not a campaign email. The Speaker's position has not changed," Quinn's campaign spokesman, Mike Morey said.

The site was registered on Feb. 13, 2013 by an autonomous hosting company based in Panama named YoHost.org.

A man who identified himself as a support engineer at the site said that the company had received a call accusing the site of violating copyright regulations, but refused to disclose who was behind the site.

“We provide anonymous hosting, so our clients are not required to give us any information about who they are," he said.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has been slamming Quinn for failing to allow a vote on the legislation, which would guarantee some paid sick leave for most workers in the city.

Quinn has maintained he economy is still too fragile to introduce any measure that might hurt small businesses or stop them from hiring.

But de Blasio's spokesman, Dan Levitan, said his campaign had nothing to do with the site, and had actually believed at first the spoof was real.

"Consider us had," he said in a statement. "We thought after 3 long years of blocking paid sick days, the million New Yorkers who need them were finally going to get a break. Whoever is behind this may have an odd sense of humor, but they do have better judgment for what’s right for New Yorkers than Speaker Quinn."

The Working Families Party, which has also been pushing bill, also denied involvement, with one staffer saying that members had even begun jumping up and down, celebrating, when they saw the spoof.

"Every joke has an element of truth in it," said Deputy Director Bill Lipton in a statement.

"A vote on the paid sick days bill is long overdue," he said. "We condemn the tactic of impersonation, but we also condemn the delay of democracy for a million working New Yorkers. I hope Speaker Quinn has a change of heart, and at least allows a vote on the paid sick days bill. When the real Quinn does that, we'll be the first standing up to congratulate her."