Mark-Viverito defends late disclosure, questions coverage

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This morning, days after she was elected speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito released five years' worth of her tax returns that confirmed previously undisclosed rental income, among other things.

She defended releasing that information on Friday night--in conventional political practice the time to dump unflattering information--telling reporters, circularly, “The information was released as it was made available.”

Mark-Viverito had held off responding substantively to Daily News inquiries leading up to the competitive speaker vote. 

Mark-Viverito spoke to reporters Saturday morning after appearing with the Rev. Al Sharpton at the National Action Network headquarters in Harlem.

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Asked whether the information could have been released before the Council elected her speaker on Wednesday, she said, “No. It was made available when it was available.”

In addition to information on the rental income, the tax returns showed that Mark-Viverito did not make any charitable donations in 2012, and gave just over $1,000 the year before.

Asked about her low levels of charitable giving, she said, “It is what it is on the tax forms. How you want to construe that is up to you.”

Mark-Viverito left the Harlem event with some reporters trying to ask more questions about her financial disclosures.

Before the brief question-and-answer session with reporters, Mark-Viverito expressed her displeasure with the media coverage she and other Democrats received throughout the recent campaign season.

On stage at the Nation Action Network, Mark-Viverito said, “Mayor de Blasio, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer and myself as a City Council Speaker, all are affirming and are an example, right, of what the electorate has said they want, which is a new direction in the way that the city of New York is led. And despite all of the editorial content in the mainstream media that went against each and every one of us, we are standing. And that demonstrates that they are, they do not have the pulse of where it is the city wants to go.”