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Quinn Takes Thompson to Task Over Latest Comptroller Controversy

 Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson.
Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson.
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DNAinfo/Colby Hamilton

NEW YORK CITY — City Council Speaker Christine Quinn sharply criticized her Democratic mayoral rival, former comptroller Bill Thompson, on Tuesday over reports that a failed plan to invest the city’s pension fund dollars in North Ireland while Thompson was comptroller directly enriched one of Thompson's close friends and campaign donors.

“I think it’s yet another example of things in the comptroller’s office falling through the cracks, not being appropriately taken care of, when Bill Thompson was in the comptroller’s office,” Quinn said during a press conference in city hall.

Quinn said that the Ireland plan — which was originally reported by the Village Voice in 2009 — was just the latest questionable act under then-Comptroller Bill Thompson.

Quinn also pointed to recent reports critical of Thompson’s role in the CityTime debacle that ended up costing the city hundreds of millions of dollars. Thompson has been criticized for failing to audit the payroll system modernization plan as comptroller, even as costs continued to balloon.

“We now have more than one example of taxpayer money being lost while Comptroller Thompson was the comptroller, and it really a the question of what was going on in that office, and who was and was not in charged,” Quinn said.

Thompson later responded to Quinn’s criticism, saying he was proud of his tenure as city comptroller, before bringing up Quinn’s own financial controversy: Her role in aiding councilmembers’ inappropriate use of member items after becoming speaker.

“As Comptroller, I led efforts to increase the city pension funds by $20 billion,” Thompson said in a statement. “While I was doing that, Chris Quinn was using a corrupt slush fund to park taxpayer dollars in phony charities to buy political support and running the City Council budget in a way that rewarded her friends and punished those who disagreed with her.”