Family of Slain Council Member Calls on Yassky To Drop Out of Race

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The New York Sun

Days after standing on the steps of City Hall and endorsing City Council Member David Yassky in his bid for Congress, the mother and brother of a slain council member, James Davis, returned to those steps to withdraw that endorsement and to call on Mr. Yassky to drop out of the race.

Thelma Davis and her other son, Geoffrey, said Mr. Yassky left about 200 senior citizens stranded in the rain July 21, when he failed to get enough buses to transport them to City Hall for a memorial service in honor of her son, James, who was killed by a gunman in the council chambers July 23, 2003.

“This is not only a horrible act against the seniors, but against society,” Ms. Davis said yesterday, holding a picture of her late son. Ms. Davis said she wants Mr. Yassky to apologize publicly and pay $20,000 to four senior centers left without transportation that day.

By that time, campaign fliers touting the endorsement — showing Ms. Davis solemnly looking at a sepia-colored photograph of her slain son — had already been mailed to voters.

Also running to replace Rep. Major Owens of Brooklyn, who is retiring from Congress after 24 years, are another City Council member, Yvette Clarke; a state senator, Carl Andrews, and Mr. Owens’s son, Christopher.

In response to the withdrawn endorsement, an invoice Geoffrey Davis submitted to Mr. Yassky’s campaign — showing Mr. Davis hoped to be paid $50,000 for campaign work — was released to reporters.

Mr. Davis said he has been helping the campaign since last July, with the expectation of getting paid at some point.

“When he reneged with the bus company, and made my mother that upset, I sat with him,” Mr. Davis said, recalling a meeting he and an associate had with Mr. Yassky and his campaign manager at a famed Brooklyn eatery, Junior’s. The meeting took place the Monday after the memorial service, he said.

“From this point on, it is totally, strictly business,” Mr. Davis said.

Mr. Davis, who is unemployed, said he discussed the year’s worth of campaign work he did, and the field operation he planned to do in the crucial final weeks of the campaign.

“I said, ‘You got an hour to think about it,’ ” Mr. Davis told The New York Sun.

The following day, Mr. Davis submitted his invoice, which included $10,000 in administrative charges that Mr. Davis told the Sun he said was “my fee.” An additional $2,000 for a campaign office and petty cash were also listed.

The invoice requested that weekly payments of $10,000 be made starting July 28, according to Mr. Yassky’s campaign manager, Gregory Joseph. He said the campaign kept the letter and never bothered to call Mr. Davis to turn him down. Mr. Joseph declined to discuss the invoice any further. A campaign spokesman, Evan Thies, also declined to comment.

After the meeting at Junior’s Restaurant, Mr. Davis said his mother withdrew her endorsement, because of the stranded seniors. That is when Mr. Davis said he withdrew his business offer.

“Once my mother says it’s over, everything is off the table,” Mr. Davis said.


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