NEW YORK—City Comptroller John Liu officially announced his candidacy for mayor on Sunday, beginning at the steps of City Hall before taking reporters and supporters on a 15-event, five-borough tour.
During Liu’s short speech at City Hall, he spoke of representing 100 percent of the people, according to the Observer. His speech made no mention of his legal woes, which have plagued him since the FBI opened an investigation into his campaign in 2009.
The press, however, were not willing to overlook his troubles, with nearly every question pertaining to the impending trial of Liu’s former campaign treasurer Jia “Jenny” Hou, and campaign fundraiser Xingwu “Oliver” Pan, according to multiple media outlets.
Liu’s campaign lost ground during the last 2-month filing period—raising just $105,775 and spending $93,869, leaving his net money raised at just $11,906, according to campaign finance records.
In comparison, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn raised $487,480 and spent $228,571, netting just less than $260,000. Former MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota raised the most of all candidates with $731,601, spending just $74,172, and netting $657,429.
Liu’s Campaign Finance Issues
In November 2011, Oliver Pan was busted in an FBI sting in which he allegedly accepted a $16,000 donation from an undercover agent—which far exceeds the limit of $4,950.
The trial was set to begin early February this year, however, just days prior, Pan was put in a mental institution and deemed unfit for trial. The trial was postponed until April 15.
At a recent mayoral forum, Liu challenged the FBI to “put up or shut up” in regards to the investigation. The FBI investigation is still open.
During his speech on Sunday, Liu again said his mother worked in a sweatshop, according to the New York Observer. The claims were proven inaccurate in 2009.
“My parents kept their part of the promise, my dad taking a job far beneath what he had had in Taiwan and my mom spending years in a sweatshop many days that I had to join her in,” Liu said, according to the Observer.
Liu made the same claims in 2009 while running for Comptroller, however his own mother disputed the claims. “I never go to the factory,” Liu’s mother, Jamy Liu, 69, told the Daily News in an August 2009 article. “I just go there and pick up some material and bring home because I had to take care of my kids.”
The interview was arranged by Liu, and according to the article, he became visibly frustrated when his mother began to speak of working from home. Liu said his mother was ashamed of working in the factory and that was why she had said she worked from home.
Liu’s campaign provided the reporter with two more names who could verify Jamy Liu indeed worked at the factory. Nancy Kuo, 68, who worked with Jamy Liu in Long Island City said, “She cannot stay [in the factory] because she has the children,” according to the Daily News article. The other woman, Jui Zheng, 74, said she did work at the factory, however could provide no details of when, where, or for how long.
Liu, a democrat, is up against former City Council member Sal Albanese, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson.
The Republican candidates include grocery store billionaire John Catsimatidis, former MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, and head of the DOE fund, George McDonald.
The primaries are tentatively scheduled for September; however, there has been talk of moving them to June to avoid complications anticipated by a run-off.