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Real Estate Group Mailer Attacks Opponents of Central Brooklyn Candidate

By Paul DeBenedetto | August 22, 2013 5:04pm | Updated on August 23, 2013 7:54am
 The mailer, sponsored by Jobs For New York, calls them "irresponsible," "divisive" and "negligent."
A mailer from Jobs For New York, a REBNY-sponsored group, criticizes three city council candidates.
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BROOKLYN — A new mailer from a real estate group supporting City Council candidate Kirsten John Foy criticizes his opponents' personal lives and accuses them of being "irresponsible," "divisive" and "negligent."

The mailer, commissioned by an independent group called Jobs For New York, makes references to Rev. Conrad Tillard's history in the Nation of Islam, where he allegedly called white people "the blue-eyed devil," and Christianity a "dirty religion." 

It also mentions the financial histories of both District Leader Robert Cornegy and the Rev. Robert Waterman.

"Creditors have sued Robert Waterman for thousands of dollars in unpaid bills," the mailer alleges. "If he won't live up to his personal responsibilities, how can he be expected to work for Brooklyn's families on the City Council?"

The mailer goes on to allege that "New York State issued warrants and others have successfully sued Robert Cornegy for not paying his taxes and other bills. If he can't handle his own finances, he certainly can't be trusted with Brooklyn families' tax dollars."

The four candidates are running to replace term-limited Councilman Al Vann in the 36th district, which covers Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights.

Jobs For New York is an independent expenditure group headed by members of the Real Estate Board of New York, according to public records. The group is dedicated to electing candidates to the City Council who they consider to be pro-development, according to a Politicker report.

The group has already spent more than $80,000 on fliers and mailers in support of Foy, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

Foy, who is not legally allowed to consult with outside expenditure groups, criticized the mailers soon after hearing about their contents.

“Jobs for New York does not represent me or my campaign," Foy said. "As an independent expenditure, I have no responsibility, no approval, nor any consultation or participation in any of their activities or materials. I am deeply disturbed and disappointed that Jobs for New York has chosen to attack other candidates in this race and used intensely negative rhetoric in our community, and I denounce these actions."

A candidate in the neighboring 35th district, which represents Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, publicly denounced the group after criticism from her opponents. That candidate, Laurie Cumbo, also received $80,000 from the group, according to a Daily News report.

Jobs For New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Two of Foy's opponents blasted the ads on Thursday.

Waterman, who in a statement said he was "shocked and disappointed," called on Foy to denounce the ads.

Tillard, who denies using the hateful terms, has since converted to Christianity and is the head pastor at Nazarene Congregational Church.

Tillard also said the ads wouldn't do anything to change what he called their record of service.

"For 17 years I haven't even been in the Nation," Tillard said. "Robert Cornegy, Conrad Tillard and Robert Waterman are authentic leaders who have dedicated [our] lives to Central Brooklyn. Kirsten Foy is an interloper."