Rep. Tom Suozzi’s candidate for lieutenant governor, Diana Reyna, owes $138,658 to the city Campaign Finance Board for “outstanding repayments of public funds,” the agency told The Post.
The former City Council member’s debts stem from her third Council campaign back in 2009 and have remained unpaid ever since.
New York City authorizes generous taxpayer-funded matching funds to candidates for city office, but the cash comes with a blizzard of strings and reporting requirements.
“Campaigns must account for all public funds received by providing documentation (invoices, contracts, payroll, etc) for expenditures that equal the amount received,” said Matt Sollars, spokesman for the NYC Campaign Finance Board, adding that Reyna’s roughly $31,000 in qualified expenditures were well short of what she received.
Long Island Democrat Suozzi tapped Reyna, a fellow Democrat who represented a swath of Brooklyn and Queens, in February as his running mate in his primary battle against incumbent Gov. Hochul, citing her toughness and experience. The pair have tried to corner moderate and centrist voters by promising to roll back bail reform and cut state income taxes.
“Diana always said that she intends on paying back whatever is owed from a previous campaign,” Melisa Diaz, a spokeswoman for Reyna said.
The arrears, however, are raising eyebrows among the state’s Democratic grandees.
“It begs the question did Tom Suozzi do a good enough job vetting her before picking her for his lieutenant governor,” state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs told The Post. “This might be seen by some as a judgment question.”
As a member of the City Council, Reyna admitted to steering discretionary funds to a senior center run by her mother-in-law. More money was sent to Striking Viking Story Pirates, a non-profit offering after-school activities co-founded by her sister-in-law.
Last month Hochul’s running mate, Lieutenant Gov. Brian Benjamin, resigned after being hit with bribery and corruption charges. This week Hochul tapped upstate Rep. Antonio Delgado to replace him.
The issue has been catnip for Suozzi, who has spent weeks using Benjamin to deride Hochul’s judgment.
“Her lack of judgment and inexperience can cost us everything if Democrats don’t wake up,” Suozzi said Thursday in a tweet.