From The New York Daily News:
Conflict-of-interest issues grow for President Obama's new urban czar Adolfo Carrion
BY Greg B. Smith
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
President Obama's new urban czar, Adolfo Carrión, admitted Tuesday he has not paid an architect who designed a renovation of his Bronx home two years ago.
Updated Wednesday, March 11th 2009, 9:15 AM
That presents conflict-of-interest issues because at the time the architect was a key player in a Bronx development that needed approval from Carrión, then the Bronx borough president.
In a statement to the Daily News, Carrión admitted he hadn't paid architect Hugo Subotovsky to design a porch and balcony for his City Island home.
The renovation occurred more than two years ago. The last document filed with the city Buildings Department is dated Feb. 2, 2007. The work permit on the job expired that same month.
Most documents stamped by Subotovsky on Carrión's house renovation date even further back, to October and November 2006, including a blueprint for the extensive work done on the front of Carrión's house.
In his e-mailed response to The News, Carrión claimed the architect spent 51.5 hours on the renovation for a total bill of $3,627.50, "based on their usual rates." That works out to about $71 per hour.
Carrión claimed he hadn't yet paid the bill on the two-year-old project because a "final survey" is not yet filed and approved.
"As is his practice for projects of this kind, the architect will present his bill and be paid after the final survey is filed and approved, when his work is complete. I anticipate the survey will be completed, filed and approved shortly, at which time the bill will be presented and paid in full."
Subotovsky did not return calls seeking comment. Carrión's response came five days after The News asked him for proof he paid the architect.
If it's determined the architect performed the work free, the work could be considered an unreported gift that could put Carrión on the wrong side of the law.
The White House again declined to comment Tuesday on Carrión's admission that he has yet to pay the architect or any other aspect of Carrión's unfolding problem.
Carrión started his job as director of the White House Office on Urban Policy on March 2.
In January 2007, at the same time Subotovsky was working on Carrión's house, a project he had designed called Boricua Village was submitted to Carrión's office.
The project, which includes nearly 700 units of affordable housing and a 14-story tower for Boricua College, needed Carrión's recommendation to go forward.
Two months later, in March 2007, Carrión recommended the project for approval to the City Planning Commission, which signed off on the project that May.
Now THIS is the fault of the VETTING TEAM. Please don't tell me that this is the first they've heard of this. I find that hard to believe. But, NOW THEY KNOW. And, The White House needs to take action.