Take his wife, please! Marty fined $20K for Jamie’s tagalong junkets

The Brooklyn Paper
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Borough President Markowitz abused his government position by scoring three free overseas trips for his wife, a city ethics panel ruled on Monday, but the Beep defiantly denied the allegation.

The City Conflicts of Interest Board’s decision is based on a May ruling by an administrative law judge stating that Markowitz should not have allowed the governments of Turkey and the Netherlands to pay some expenses for his better half, Jamie, during trips to those countries. According to city law, the Beep can accept free business-related travel, but can’t bring a plus-one.

“[Markowitz] received the trips abroad because of his position as borough president of Brooklyn and his wife went on all three trips because of her relationship with him,” wrote Judge Kevin Casey. “By accepting travel expenses for his wife, [Markowitz] used his position as a public servant for private or personal advantage.”

Two of the three freebie excursions took place in 2009, the year that the Beep accepted more free travel than any other elected official in the city, according to financial records released by the board.

And the Beep may have misled the city about his wife being comped. He wrote to the board before an August, 2007, trip to promote Brooklyn in Turkey that he would “pay for [his wife’s] airfare, meals and incidental expenses.” The Beep did pay for his wife’s overseas flight, but the Turkish government comped her hotel, meals and flight between two Turkish cities.

Markowitz defiantly insists that he never tried to hide his spouse’s perks.

“The only way the board found out about these trips was voluntary disclosure,” he said in a statement. He also asserted that the punishment is absurd because Jamie is “the First Lady of Brooklyn.”

“I am not ashamed of what I did, and I do not think this fine is fair or even sane,” Markowitz said. “When Jamie and I were on these trips foreign officials looked at us as a team.”

Casey disagreed in his ruling.

“The respondent’s wife does not have any official role in the borough president’s office,” Casey wrote. “Even though she actively participated in some of the events abroad, her attendance was not required. … There’s simply no meaningful comparison with the First Lady of the United States.”

It is unclear why Jamie Markowitz, who works part time as a graphic designer for City Tech in Downtown, joined her husband on the trips, judging by the itineraries.

In the Netherlands, for example, Markowitz was on hand to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s journey to New York. Both Markowitzes wined and dined with local mayors, spoke at ceremonies, and minted a coin in honor of Hudson.

The couple also visited hospitals, religious centers and development projects.

Markowitz appears to be the only local official with this kind of ethnical transgression. When Council Speaker Christine Quinn got a free junket to Belfast in 2009, she brought her father along — but paid for all his expenses, the board ruled.

Markowitz can appeal his penalty to the State Supreme Court, but told the New York Post that he will “pay the g—damn fine.”

The $20,000 fine is based on the travel expenses that Jamie racked up: $3,000 for the 2007 Turkey trip, $7,000 for the 2009 Netherlands trip and $10,000 for a second trip to Turkey in 2009. The maximum penalty that the board can impose on a city official who abused his position is $30,000.

This isn’t Markowitz’s first brush with the ethics panel. In February, the board hit the Beep with a $2,000 fine for using his chief of staff as his lawyer during a personal real-estate closing.

And it’s not the first time that Jamie Markowitz was involved in a story about misappropriated perks. Two years ago, she made headlines for swiping eight placemats designed by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami and intended as parting gifts at a Brooklyn Museum gala.

Updated 5:25 pm, July 9, 2018: And earlier version of this story mentioned Manhattan. Sorry, it will never happen again!
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Reasonable discourse

J from BK says:
Time to resign, Marty.
July 26, 2011, 6:47 am
al pankin from downtown says:
Marty's right...these so called "judges" are mixed up..if it was a cop or fireman they'd award them a disability pension for tripping on the plane. it's so phoney..
July 26, 2011, 6:58 am
adamben from bedstuy says:
rules are for us little people. please let our rulers abuse us in peace.
July 26, 2011, 7:18 am
Rob from Greenpoint says:
Get rid of all the borough presidents.
It's basically a ceremonial position and a waste of money.
July 26, 2011, 7:50 am
Linda from Brooklyn says:
get him out
July 26, 2011, 8:04 am
Anne from Bay Ridge says:
Sure wish I had time off from my job to be part of Marty's team on these junkets. Marty, pay more attention to what is going on in our neighborhoods and less on foreign affairs. While you pushed sooo hard for Atlantic Yards to bring revenue to Brooklyn, many thriving parts of the county are going to rack and ruin. Have you toured 3rd Avenue Bay Ridge lately? There are more storefronts closed than open! Businesses can't sustain themselves because of greedy landlords. You are letting our area down big time. Judge Casey is right about the fine!
July 26, 2011, 8:45 am
M. Peach from Boro Hall says:
And yet Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes and Jim Walden had him sign an affidavit swearing that he had a conversation with Janette Sadik-Khan that she swears they didn't have. Gives you a lot of confidence in their motives and chances, doesn't it?

Can anyone trust a guy who's racked up two ethics violations in six months?
July 26, 2011, 8:55 am
Nobs from Bay Ridge says:
Anne, I'll bet you there are more open storefronts than closed ones on 3rd Ave. I'll even bet you there are five times as many open storefronts as closed ones. Tell you what I'll do for you, I'll bet you there are 10x more open storefronts than closed ones on 3rd Ave. (I'm not talking about the middle of the night.)
July 26, 2011, 8:55 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
BP Marty markowitz is a serial violator of the LAWS.
Goes back to the days when he First Ran against Howard Golden for BP. Fined about $ 8000 for Campaign Violations & Community Service.

Continued when he was elected BP.
Fined him $2000.00 for House Sale.
Fined him again $ 3850.00 for Campaign Violations.
Never got Sound Permits for his Seaside Concerts at Asser Levy Park for over 20 YEARS.
Now fined $ 20,000 for Ethics violations for taking the "First Lady" of Brooklyn on Junkets.

He blames everyone else for his troubles. Oh ..I forgot his wife Jamie took one of a kind Placemats from a Dinner they hosted.

He makes up his own LAWS.

I got another question :

What happens to the money that he gets $ 5.00 per seat at his Seaside Concerts?

There are over 5000 seats at these concerts, to me that's about $ 25,000.

Marty : Let's face it . It seems that you are a CROOK. Own up to it already.
July 26, 2011, 9:12 am
Ben from Brooklyn Heights says:
Marty did nothing wrong to take his wife with him on a trip and he is NOT the bad guy that all of you say he was.

Howard Golden was a great borough president and he took his wife Aileen every place.

Mrs Jamie Markowitz is an asset to Marty and represents Brooklyn.

Leave Marty alone y'all.
July 26, 2011, 9:54 am
Ace from New Utrecht says:
I hate the Marty who sold out to Ratner. However, much like Gov. Patterson getting free Yankee tickets, I really don't have a problem with Marty taking his wife along on trips that are not being paid for by taxpayers.

And, Marty, Thanks for bringing The Monkees to Coney Island! It was a great show.
July 26, 2011, 9:55 am
Ben from Greenpoint says:
we need more ribbon cutters like Marty!!!!! LOL...
July 26, 2011, 9:58 am
First Lady from Bklyn says:
Marty was specifically told BEFORE he left that if his wife came he'd have to pay for her. Yet he took her along on the taxpayer's dime anyway.

It's a stretch to say Marty did nothing wrong when he was told not to do the very thing he wound up doing.

The fine is appropriate.
July 26, 2011, 10:04 am
Michelle Obamas trips to entertain her family and friends,upsets me more. The cost of the fuel,help,hotels,food and other expenses, comes out of the taxpayers pockets. Why doesnt she charter a private jet for these trips? If Obama considers those making over 250,000 a year "rich", surely they can afford to pay for these trips themselves. What a waste of money for something that serves no purpose for our nation.
July 26, 2011, 10:05 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
@Ben from Brooklyn Heights :

If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck , it's a duck.

Marty doesn't give a —— about anybody but himself. And what about his wife taking those placemats ?

And Ben you didn't answer my questiojn as to what happens to the $ 5 Marty collects for his 5000 seats at the Seaside Concerts ?

He's a disgrace. He's a BUM.
July 26, 2011, 10:38 am
sal from coney island says:
BP Marty Markowitz is a bottom feeder.
I rest my case.
July 26, 2011, 11:55 am
kelly from park slope says:
city tech is in brooklyn, you dummies! not manhattan.
July 26, 2011, 11:56 am
Miss Schwin from fort greene says:
Perhaps Jamie should have stayed home and biked around Prospect Park West. Would have been fun and cheaper.
July 26, 2011, 12:48 pm
jeff from the bronx says:

I think the comparison to the First Lady of the United States is more apt than the comparison to the Speaker's father.
July 26, 2011, 2:34 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
"I am not ashamed of what I did."

No surprise there -- the man clearly has no shame. What a sad buffoon.
July 26, 2011, 11:01 pm
marty from brooklyn says:
time for prison
July 27, 2011, 12:33 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
In addItion , in todays NY Post , Marty, paid over $ 150,000 to defend the indefensible at the Ethics Committee hearings.

Where did he get this $ 150,000 from:

His Campaign War chest. The hard working taxpayers that give money to his campaign are FOOLS.

Who pays for your LEGAL FEES ?
July 27, 2011, 8:28 am
da editah says:
How can you deny an allegation after a judge has made a decision? It's no longer an allegation; it's a fact!
July 27, 2011, 2:12 pm
jj from Brooklyn says:
uh, da, of course you can deny "an allegation" even if a judge (or court) finds you guilty. it might be more correct to say "the finding" was denied, but if markowitz believes he's innocent he has a right to say so despite the ruling.
July 27, 2011, 4:22 pm
DMC from Brooklyn says:
Time to impeach this corrupt clown. Marty's free junkets are obviously just the tip of the iceberg.
July 28, 2011, 8:49 am
Tracy from Dyker Heights says:
This isn't the first time Marty has had problems with being ethical.

In the winter, he and his assistant Carlo Scissura were both fined because Marty used Carlo as his attorney for his house closing. Carlo is an attorney and knows the law.

Scissura has been Marty's assistant since 2008 so he must have advised him that Jaime's trip would have to be paid for out of pocket.

First Lady of Brooklyn? Has she done anything in Brooklyn in that position? I haven't heard of First Lady's of any of the other boroughs. Michelle Obama is a first lady and works in that position.

Marty could have quietly apologized. When you know better, you do better - don't lie.
July 28, 2011, 10:43 am
seen it all from downtown says:
This guy is a horror, delt with him many times,a total phoney he also went on a cruise to england on the QE 2 I did not read that in the papers ,if he is so openly corrupt ,can you imagine what goes on behind closed doors, why have the feds not investigated this guy ,? im sure when he s no longer boro president he will get a judgeship , what a joke ..and we as a society stand for it ..marty is just for Marty .
July 29, 2011, 10:42 pm
Herman the Reformer from Slope says:
Let's face it folks Marty just doesn't give a damm.

He knows as long as he keeps putting on the concerts the people will continue to vote for him.

Thank god this is the last term he can serve!
July 30, 2011, 9:32 am

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