Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz has been fined $20,000 by the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, CBS News reports, for improperly expensing his wife's travel with him on official visits to Europe.
In its ruling, the board said the two trips to Turkey and one to the Netherlands were legitimate city business for Markowitz and there was no problem with his accepting the free trips. But the board found that since the city wouldn't have paid for Markowitz's wife [Jamie Snow] to accompany him, he shouldn't have accepted travel expenses for her.
According to the Board, Markowitz allowed the governments of Turkey and Netherlands to give Snow, who is not a city employee, free flights, meals and other incidental expenses, according to the Brooklyn Paper.
The Paper also reports that the $20,000 fine "is based on the travel expenses that Jamie Snow [Markowitz's wife] 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."
Markowitz is flabbergasted by the fine, according to The New York Daily News. "Some people get in trouble when they don't take their wives," he said, "I'm getting in trouble because I took my wife."
Markowitz also thinks that the Board doesn't quite appreciate the Brooklyn borough president's stature overseas.
"I'm not a dummy. I understand what a conflict is...I didn't abuse my position. What they're saying is they don't recognize my role (in promoting the city and Brooklyn) beyond the borders of Brooklyn," he said, according to The New York Post. "They don't believe my wife has any role and they're wrong. You go to Europe, other countries, being borough president Brooklyn is a big thing there."
He told the Post that he'll pay the "goddamn" $20,000 fine.
This is not the first time the Brooklyn couple has been in hot water for misappropriating gifts and expenses.
In 2008 Mrs. Snow swiped eight autographed Takashi Murakami souvenir place-mats from a benefit at the Brooklyn Museum, and when attendees of the gala asked for the place-mats back, Snow quipped "You guys really should have acted faster. This is Brooklyn!"