City: Gentile broke campaign finance rules

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Councilman Vince Gentile violated city law by overspending on his re-election campaign in 2009, the Campaign Finance Board ruled on Thursday, hitting the veteran lawmaker with nearly $26,000 in fines.

The board slammed Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) for agreeing to a strict spending limit of $161,000 in his race against Bob Capano in exchange for receiving $88,550 in public matching — then spending $18,000 more than the limit, city officials claim.

“Exceeding the expenditure limit is one of the most serious violations … and undermines the purpose of the Campaign Finance Program,” the board wrote in its ruling.

Gentile was also hit with $1,025 in fines for a litany of other city campaign financing abuses, including accepting corporate contributions, over-the-limit contributions, and failure to report daily pre-election expenditures.

But Gentile’s overspending illegal contributions apparently helped: he trounced Capano in a 60-percent to 40-percent romp.

Gentile said the overspending was caused by bad math, and that he would payback the money.

“A mistake was made with a misplaced decimal point,” he said. “We presented our side before the board, respect their decision and will pay the fine.”

A campaign worker punched in the wrong numbers when adding up the cost of a 2009 fundraiser — which threw off Gentile’s campaign figures, said Robert Bishop, Gentile’s lawyer, explaining that Gentile, who earns $112,500 a year, couldn’t pay the fines right away and would have to start a new campaign account so he could hold some kind of “help me pay off my debt” fund raiser.

“We’re dealing with someone who is a civil servant; he’s not rich or wealthy,” Bishop told the board.

For his part, Capano raised $45,000, according to Campaign Finance Board officials. Fresh from his second straight campaign loss, Capano turned his back on politics and became a manager of a supermarket, but he has since been hired as district director by newly minted Rep. Bob Turner (R–Sheepshead Bay).

Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at or by calling him at (718) 260-4507. You can also follow his Tweets at @dsmacleod.
Updated 5:28 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Nathan from Coney Island says:
Seems to be lot's of money trouble around Gentile.
Family lawsuits over missing money.
More debts than any councilmember.
Earns six figures, lawyer, single.
What going on Vinnie?
Dec. 9, 2011, 1:18 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
So many of our elected officials just think they are above the Law.
Let's see : Carl Kruger, Alan Hevesi, Mr. Boyland, Mr. Seabrook, & most notably our BP Marty Markowitz.
Have I left out any others?
Please fill in the missing political BUMS.
Dec. 9, 2011, 9:59 am
Yam from Bay Ridge says:
my wife overspent on our kitchen renovation by $18,000 too.
Dec. 9, 2011, 10:35 am
judahspechal from bedstuy says:
Just another Pimp. Look at him. Probably another term limit violator. My wish is that every single person holding office ( san the President) get their walking papers. Regardless of party.
Dec. 9, 2011, 11:36 am
Bill from Bay Ridge says:
"Look at him"????

And what would we see if we "looked" at you? Class act hypocrite?
Dec. 9, 2011, 11:45 am
judahspechal from bedstuy says:
Actually Bill if you look @ me, you would say, "now that's a fine upstanding gentleman.
Dec. 9, 2011, 12:01 pm
Germ says:
This article insinuates collusion and shadiness. What I'm hearing is Gentile's sister (the treasurer) made a simple data entry mistake and put a decimal point in the wrong spot and the rest is history. Everything else was compounded because of that one costly error. Vinny is a good guy who cares about the community. He's one of the good ones. Let's give him a break.
Dec. 9, 2011, 11:01 pm
jail from time says:
Time for prison.
Dec. 11, 2011, 5:18 pm

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