Squadron’s consultant is terminated, donates to his public-advocate rivals

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Consultant Cindy Darrison, who until several days ago was working for State Senator Daniel Squadron, has donated to Squadron's rivals in the public advocate's race after he fired her from his campaign.

According to Darrison, Squadron delivered the news to her in a phone call while she sat shiva for her father.

Darrison wrote two emails venting her frustration with the Democratic lawmaker, which were forwarded to me.

In an email to Squadron, Darrison said she considered taking him to court before deciding not to, fearing that, "you and your very smart team of advisers and new consultants would use the taxpayer-funded court system to stall, stall, stall."

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Finger-pointing between consultants and clients who part ways is common, but lengthy emails airing the grievance isn't.

UPDATE:A Squadron spokesman said in a statement "Our policy is not to comment on internal campaign decisions. We wish Cindy well."

Here are the emails.

 

From: Cindy Darrison

Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2013 12:10 PM

To: [Reshma Saujani]; [Letitia James]

Cc: Doug Forand; Kimberly Peeler-Allen

Subject: I have just contributed $175 to each of your campaigns

 

Dear Reshma and Tish,

I have just contributed $175 to each of your campaigns via your respective websites. I know this will come as a surprise to you since Daniel Squadron has been my client for over two years and my firm and I have been working on his still-to-be-declared NYC Public Advocate campaign.

Very sadly, my father passed away on February 22nd in Los Angeles after fighting cancer with every last ounce of his strength. The funeral and burial were on the 23rd and we commenced sitting shiva, the Jewish seven day observance of intense mourning (during which the mourner is not allowed to do any form of work). On Tuesday, February 26th, Daniel Squadron called me on my cell phone, said a few words of condolence, and then told me that he was “moving on” as of February 28th – he was terminating our consulting relationship with just two days notice notwithstanding his 2011 signing of a consulting agreement that runs through January 2014. I told him that I could not do any work during the shiva and that the seven-day period would end on Thursday, February 28th. I have not heard from him since – but he has already set up a campaign office one floor below my office, his outside consultants have effectuated a transition, and he has enticed two people who were on my payroll to join him.

Some may say that I am contributing to you as a form of “sour grapes” or revenge. Instead, I am contributing to you to send a message that elected officials and candidates for office should act in an honorable way, with integrity and ethics – and should not treat individuals or entities in a callous manner. I am a single mother running a small business – formerly with five employees and now with three employees. I may be late on some of my bills some of the time – but I have never missed a payroll and I pay for very generous health, dental, vision and life insurance benefits for my employees (because I believe it’s the right thing to do).

When I sign an agreement with someone, my word is good. We work hard for our clients and we produce results. For example, in the recent Queensspecial election, we did the CFB compliance work and our client qualified for 100% of the matching funds for which he was eligible. In my twenty-four years in politics, I have raised over $105 million for political candidates and committees. I do all this not just to earn money but because I believe that good elected officials can make a difference in society. Given the role of money in politics, it is imperative that we help good people raise the money it takes to get elected. Communicating this belief is one of the factors that makes me a successful fundraiser.

For all of these reasons, I can no longer support Daniel Squadron. My experience with Daniel has made me even more cynical about candidates for elected office – and that saddens me. I am contributing to each of you in the hope that you can make the case to the voters as to why you are best qualified to be a true advocate for the people of New York.

Good luck with your campaigns.

Best,

Cindy

 

===== =====

 

From: "Cindy Darrison"

Date: March 2, 2013 11:12:15 PM EST

To: "Daniel Squadron"

Cc: "Anne Squadron", "Stephanie Rodgers", "Jennifer Galvin", "Samuel Adler", "Adam Schafenberg", "Francheska Rodriguez"

Subject: Termination of the Darrison Barrett-Squadron For New York consulting agreement

 

Daniel,

In a consulting agreement dated January 18, 2011 and signed on January 20, 2011, you agreed to a consulting relationship that would end on January 31, 2014, unless earlier terminated for one of the following reasons:

1) Upon 90 days notice if the Client discontinues campaigning for re-election to the NYS Senate, for election to citywide office or election to another elected office in the same time period;

2) On October 31, 2012 if the Client loses the Primary Election;

3) On January 31, 2013 if the Client is running for re-election to the NYS Senate but is not running for election in the 2013 citywide elections;

4) For the Consultant’s willful and material breach of this Agreement;

5) Or by mutual agreement of both parties.

Accordingly, your call on February 26, 2013 telling me that you were terminating the consulting agreement effective February 28, 2013 was a breach of the agreement.

1) You are running for election,

2) You did not lose the NYS Primary Election in 2012,

3) You are running for election in the 2013 citywide elections,

4) We (the consultant) did not breach the Agreement (in any willful, material or any other manner) and

5) We did not otherwise agree to end the consulting agreement prior to 1/3/14.

While you and I have been discussing a rewritten consulting agreement, primarily to reflect the increase in the amount of money you paid my firm as a result of our putting Jennifer Galvin on the DBA payroll at your request, no revised consulting agreement was signed (as you kept requesting changes), the January 2011 consulting agreement remains in effect and your campaign is liable for agreed-upon fees until that time.

I could take you to court for payment of the remainder of the fees due under the consulting agreement. But, I am sure that you and your very smart team of advisers and new consultants would use the taxpayer-funded court system to stall, stall, stall.

Quite frankly, I find it reprehensible that you called me on February 26th while I was sitting shiva for my father to give me two days notice that you were ending the consulting agreement as of February 28th. You did not offer any explanation – you just said that you were “moving on.” I told you that, in accordance with Jewish law, I could not discuss business while in the seven day mourning period and explained that I could speak with you about it on Thursday, February 28th when I finished sitting shiva for my father. You have not called.

It is clear to me that you had planned this course of action out prior to February 26th – as evidenced by your new space, the immediate movement on the part of your consultants to arrange a transition, and your offer to my two employees to switch them to your payroll at the same salary level with, at least for Stephanie Rodgers, the same health, dental, vision and life insurance benefits (assuming you really do match the benefits I give my employees) – along with job security.

I’m not going to sue you – nor even suggest that you pay some amount of severance that would serve as a more appropriate notice. You probably wouldn’t do so anyway – the main theme of your complaints over the past year or so is that you could run a campaign fundraising and compliance operation for less money than you had agreed to pay Darrison Barrett & Associates.

Instead I’m going to move on. But, I must tell you that I am very, very disappointed with the lack of character and ethics that you have shown . You clearly do not stand by your signature on signed agreements. An agreement with you is meaningless. You have no sensitivity for religious mourning observance. You have no appreciation for the campaign funds my firm and I have raised for you over the past 2+ years nor the database and compliance work we have done for you. And, nor do you have respect for small businesses such as mine. This is a somewhat common practice among elected officials – as evidenced by experiences I have had with a couple of other elected officials and as also experienced by other campaign consultants and lawyers. But, I truly thought you were different. I’m sure it’s not personal to me – you are just one more politician who talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk.

As I have repeatedly said to you, small businesses such as my firm (with five employees – for whom I have never missed a payroll or an insurance benefit payment) are the backbone of this city. Small businesses are huge employers of New York City residents. The Citizens Budget Commission estimates that the more than 200,000 small business firms in New York City account for fully 2/3 of the city’s private sector jobs – and your actions this past week have shown your blatant lack of respect for my small business. I would suggest to you that it is simply unacceptable to assume it is okay to run roughshod over a small business or any other individual or entity.

Accordingly, I am hereby agreeing to terminate our consulting agreement, effective February 28, 2013. We will turn over to you the compliance work we have done for you through February 28, 2013. It will be inventoried so that you cannot claim that we have withheld any information or work required for preparation of NYC Campaign Finance Board reports. It should be noted that the compliance work we did for another client resulted in that campaign qualifying for 100% of the matching funds for which they were eligible. We will also turn over Stephanie Rodger’s and Jennifer Galvin’s work files that pertain to your campaign. And, we will forward emails, phone messages and mail received in my office for you – not because we are required to do so but because I think it’s the right thing to do.

Again, Daniel, your actions are an incredible disappointment to me.

Cynthia R. Darrison

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