Lefty mayoral longshot Dianne Morales once paid a bribe to a corrupt Department of Environmental Protection employee to nix a $12,000 sewer bill and then lied to investigators about it, a damning new memo reveals.
Morales was among nine New Yorkers who crooked water inspector Herbie Barnwell hit up, promising to fix bills and meters in exchange for illegal payments.
Three people — including the Gracie Mansion hopeful — shelled out the cash, investigators determined in their 2003 probe.
Morales was a Department of Education consultant in October 2002 when she paid the bribe. She became a full-time top employee of the DOE in March 2003, about the same time she was quizzed by investigators over the scheme, according to records.
“An investigation conducted by this office has substantiated that Dianne Morales, Chief of Planning and Operations in the Office of Youth Development and School Community Services, participated in a bribery payment to a New York City Water Inspector who came to her home,” the public school system’s then-Special Commissioner for Investigation, Richard Condon, wrote in a letter to then-Chancellor Joel Klein in June 2004.
“Further, Morales lied to investigators from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection Office of the Inspector General (‘DEP OIG’) when questioned regarding this incident,” he added.
Condon’s memo states that Morales offered investigators three different versions of events during her interviews, and concluded that she should be sacked from her position at the DOE.
He added that “this matter be considered should she ever reapply for any type of employment with the Department.”
Morales left the DOE the month before the memo was sent, but denied in a statement that her departure was linked to the probe’s findings.
“There has been speculation that my decision to leave the DOE in the spring of 2004 was related to this investigation,” Morales wrote in a posting on Twitter. “For the record, I made that determination completely independently to pursue a different opportunity.”
“My story is all too familiar to poor people, single mothers, Black and Brown people and immigrants,” she added in another Twitter. “My run for Mayor is informed by unjust practices even I was not immune to. That’s why I’m fighting for those the system tries to shame.”
Meanwhile, investigators referred Barnwell, the water inspector, to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office for prosecution.
He was convicted of official misconduct in April 2006, sentenced to three years probation and died in 2017, according to investigative news outlet The City, which first revealed the existence of the probe and letter .
Morales’ campaign has focused on garnering energy and support from progressive and socialist activists in the Democratic mayoral primary.
However, despite winning their support, Morales remains stuck in the polls in the mid-single digits.
The June 22 contest is not only the city’s first June mayoral primary in living memory, it’s also the first major election to use the Big Apple’s new ranked-choice voting system.
That means New Yorkers will be able to select their preference of up to five candidates running for mayor and other positions in city government — and the ballots will be tallied by first, second, third, fourth and fifth choice, eliminating the need for a runoff.
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