Flatbush Council candidate embellishes resume, raises campaign-finance red flags

Kenya Handy-Hilliard.
Kenya Handy-Hilliard 2021

Flatbush City Council candidate Kenya Handy-Hilliard exaggerated her resume on a mailer sent out to residents of the 40th Council District, Brooklyn Paper has learned. 

The flyers — which arrived in locals’ mailboxes this month and urged voters to support Handy-Hilliard in the June 22 Democratic primary election — touted the candidate’s years of experience in national and local government, including working in the offices of Rep. Yvette Clarke, Rep. Charles Rangel, the city Comptroller’s office, and the Department of Investigation. 

At the top of one mailer, Handy-Hilliard boasts of her time working as Clarke’s senior advisor.

“As a former senior advisor to Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Kenya Handy-Hilliard knows how to tackle the tough issues facing our community,” the mailer reads. 

Handy-Hilliard’s LinkedIn page, however, lists her position in Clarke’s office as a “legislative assistant” — a notably less senior role in political offices. 

Clarke spokesperson Remmington Belford also confirmed that Handy-Hilliard worked in the office between 2009 and 2014 as a legislative assistant, never as a senior advisor. 

A flyer touts Handy-Hilliard’s experience as a ‘senior advisor’ — a job she never had.Provided

The representative did, however, endorse her former legislative assistant in the competitive primary to replace Councilmember Mathieu Eugene, who has held the district for over 13 years.

Handy-Hilliard is also supported by the Progressive Democratic Political Association of Central Brooklyn, which Clarke runs along with her mother, former Councilmember Una Clarke. 

Campaign finance disclosures show that the Handy-Hilliard campaign is paying $1,000 a month to rent office space from the political club — a steeply discounted rate compared to standard office rental prices in New York City, which is roughly $80 per square foot. 

New York campaign finance law states that any service offered to a political campaign at a discount — such as office space — is considered a campaign contribution and must follow the rules as such. 

The city’s campaign finance handbook states that the amount attributed to in-kind contributions is determined by the price paid, and is subject to contribution limits.

Handy-Hilliard’s campaign is operating under Option A of campaign finance thresholds — capping contributions at $1,000, meaning the $4,000 in discounted rent paid to the Progressive Democratic Club could raise red flags. 

“The value of an in-kind contribution may not exceed the contribution limit,” reads the city Campaign Finance Board handbook. 

Handy-Hilliard’s campaign did not respond to multiple messages seeking comment.