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EXCLUSIVE: Beep Adams: Free concert series not so free, because sponsors fear non-profits amid citywide corruption probes

Cold feet: Fewer sponsors gave to Coney Island's once-free concert series, because they worry about investigations into city-affiliated non-profits, Borough President Adams said.

It’s a case of no pay, no play.

Coney Island’s once-free Seaside Concert Series will now cost you — because private sponsors are scared to give money to non-profits amid ongoing government corruption probes, Borough President Adams said.

“When we call up these corporate entities and say, ‘Listen, we want these free concerts for the residents of Coney Island and Flatbush,’ they have already read stories and say, ‘We don’t want to donate to those anymore,’ ” Borough President Adams told this paper.

For more than 30 years, the non-profit Seaside Summer Concert Series Inc. has brought about a half-dozen free shows a season to the People’s Playground. But this time, only three will be gratis — and three others will cost upwards of $25. The 5,000-seat venue will give away 1,000 free tickets for each of the three paid shows, but anyone hoping to snag a pass will have to line up on the Boardwalk at noon two days before the concerts — often on weekdays.

Adams’s admission comes as investigators probe Mayor DeBlasio’s now-defunct Campaign for One New York, which took sizable donations from groups that do business with the city and which are not subject to campaign finance laws. Donors who are under scrutiny for giving to DeBlasio’s fund also kicked cash to Adams’s non-profit One Brooklyn Fund, according to the Post. The Beep uses the fund for public programs — DeBlasio’s was used for lobbying, the Post report notes.

Adams blamed overzealous good-government groups for creating a chilling affect among sponsors, but one watchdog said we wouldn’t be in this mess without pay-to-play-politics.

“It has nothing to do with good-government groups,” said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union. “It has to do with these non-profits being linked to elected officials making decisions that affect business interest of contributors.”

But sponsors’ hesitation has hurt Adams’s ability to host meaningful programming, he said.

“We use this money for anti-violence programs and financial literacy, but there has been a major pull-away,” he said.

Marty Markowitz created the 36-years-and-running concert series and was a staunch fund-raiser as state senator and borough president. Adams has kicked in some money this year, but prefers to use his discretionary budget elsewhere and leave the concerts’ fund-raising up to the non-profit that runs it, he said.

“I’m the host, and we use part of our discretionary money to help, but I’m not gonna take all of my discretionary money that I need to use for other important entities and put it into that concert,” he said, adding that he has also funded other concerts across Brooklyn, including a series at Kingsborough Community College this summer.

The first Seaside Summer Concert is the Beach Boys — a paid concert with 1,000 free tickets — on July 4. Anyone hoping to score a complimentary pass must go to the amphitheater’s box office [2113 W. 21st St. at the Boardwalk] at noon on July 2.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.

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