Nothing beats a boss who shares the wealth!
Brooklyn State Senator Kevin Parker and his staff have enjoyed luxury food, travel and jewelry with the help of thousands of dollars in donations to the ten-term incumbent fighting for his political life in the Aug. 23 Democratic primary.
As of last year, Parker has billed his campaign committee for $1,814.01 for the Hotel Royal Sonesta in New Orleans, $825 for jewelry for “staff appreciation,” and nearly $2,000 more for luxuries -Wellness products and services imposed, campaign funding records show.
“It’s so disappointing to see this at this moment when so many people are struggling to pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads,” said David Alexis, a Democratic socialist who challenges Parker in elementary school, in a statement.
Parker — who is also facing former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Kaegan Mays-Williams — did not respond to multiple requests for comment Monday.
Among the most confusing purchases in Parker’s campaign papers are three issues dated Oct. 14, Nov. 8, and Nov. 15 — for $271.41, $196.87, and $1,345.73, respectively — from the Royal Sonesta New Orleans on Bourbon Street.
The campaign said the hotel was being used for “Somos Conference Lodging” — even though the annual Democratic Junket is held 1,700 miles away in Puerto Rico.
Other big spends by Parker or his associates included $258.84 at the Cipriani outpost in Soho last August and $219.53 at Battello — a contemporary Italian eatery that overlooks the Manhattan skyline from the Jersey City waterfront advertises last September.
A December 2021 meal at Midtown’s sommelier-staffed Capital Grille alone cost $338.61, according to records.
On all three occasions, the campaign listed the swanky gatherings as “fundraisers.”
Parker also demonstrated an “employee appreciation” worth $1,966.49 through a dozen purchases of unknown wellness products from candle specialist Essence of Ase, body scrub maker ASLI Pure Natural Body Care, and the so-called Life Wellness Center in Bed-Stuy, which offers massage and acupuncture .
The lawmaker’s generosity to employees also included purchases of $825 from Kilna Ibura Jewelry, whose website highlights “one-of-a-kind sterling silver and gemstone jewelry.”
The expenses only slightly drained the campaign’s $131,940 war chest, which Parker reported 32 days before the primary. Alexis and Mays-Williams only listed $80,219 and $89,375, respectively, in their own filings.
While campaign spending on luxury items may be improper, experts say it’s hardly illegal given how lax state finance rules are compared to federal law.
“New York state’s campaign finance law and personal use of campaign funds needs to be much stricter than it has been,” Rachel Fauss of good government group Reinvent Albany told The Post.
“Nevertheless, it is bad practice for candidates for office to spend donations from individuals expecting them to run for office on things unrelated to their campaign,” she added.
Parker’s 2021 personal financial disclosure showed no source of income beyond his $110,000 annual legal salary, though he is the outright owner of a four-bedroom home on Avenue H in his Brooklyn neighborhood and co-owner of a second property in Queens.
The lavish spending may indicate a softer side to Parker, whose temper has thrown him into hot water at times during his nearly two decades in elected office.
In 2019, Parker and progressive State Senator Alessandra Biaggi fell out over an ethics complaint related to a social media post in which Parker told a GOP agent to “kill himself.”
Parker was also convicted of misdemeanor in 2010 after damaging a camera owned by a New York Post photographer outside his mother’s home.
The questionable spending now gives Parker’s political opponents a new problem to use against him ahead of the primary after criticism that he took funds from donors who have also donated to Republicans in the past.
“Senator Parker uses Republican donations to live the high life and enjoy a luxurious vacation out of state,” said Alexis, who is joined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “We can do better than that.”
https://nypost.com/2022/08/15/brooklyn-state-sen-kevin-parker-and-staff-enjoy-finer-things-on-donors-dime/ Brooklyn State Senator Kevin Parker and his staff enjoy finer things on a donor basis