Thompson on CityTime: ‘I wish I had done more’
Democratic mayoral candidate and former comptroller Bill Thompson said he and other lawmakers should have been more active in monitoring the CityTime project, as costs skyrocketed and contractors were later found to have defrauded the city.
Thompson, who served as comptroller from 2001 to 2009, was in Washington Heights to receive the endorsement of three lawmakers, where he was asked by reporters about his role in the scandal, which was the subject of a critical front-page story in the Daily News this morning.
The story said Thompson ignored several red flags from subordinates, and that the program was not subjected to a complete audit until 2010, after the current comptroller, John Liu, had succeeded Thompson.
At the press conference, Thompson initially said he was given "assurances" from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration that the program was being monitored. Later, Thompson admitted, "I wish I had done more."
"I continued to raise concerns at the highest levels of city government, in City Hall, definitely with the budget director, Mark Page, who is responsible for this," Thompson said, adding that he was given "assurances that they were following up, that they were working."
Thompson also said he "pushed this administration," and was "given assurances that work was being done, that oversight was being provided, that they were on top of this project."
Thompson suggested other elected officials also bore some responsibility, including the City Council and its speaker, Chrstine Quinn.
"In retrospect, obviously, it is something I wish I had paid even more attention to, but I think it's a question for the city administration should have paid more attention, all government officials — the city administration, both in the mayor and the budget director, the City Council and City Council speaker, as well as my office."
Grace Rauh of NY1 asked Thompson if he regretted not auditing CityTime.
"In retrospect, whether it was an audit or additional attention being paid, I wish I had done more."
The lawmakers who endorsed Thompson at the event were State Senator Adriano Espaillat, City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and Assemblywoman Gabriella Rosa. Last year, Espaillat ran a strong primary campaign against Rep. Charlie Rangel, who has endorsed Thompson. Leaving the event, Thompson said it was too early to talk about next year's congressional races.