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Funds Pile Up for Council Hopefuls

The latest campaign funding for the crowded field running to replace City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) showed Bayside’s Austin Shafran, former government spokesman for the Empire State Development authority, in the lead with Whitestone attorney Paul Vallone not far behind.

City Campaign Finance Board records said Shafran’s campaign collected $87,217, while Vallone reported $73,470 in his coffers.

Earlier this month, Shafran’s campaign said city labor unions, including the Working Families Party, Central Labor Council and Hotel Trades Council, voted to endorse him. His campaign has also received widespread support from other labor unions in the city, such as Teamsters Joint Council 16 and 1199 SEIU.

Vallone also announced an endorsement this week from the Detective’s Endowment Association and the New York City Fire Marshals Benevolent Association. Records showed Vallone started raising money for the run back in October — second earliest only to former state Assemblyman John Duane, who started fund-raising in April 2012.

Duane had the third-most in campaign funds with $44,420 in contributions as of the latest filing.

The Douglaston attorney announced he would enter the race late last month, but has been raising money since March, records showed.

Flushing activist and urban planning consultant Paul Graziano raised $19,493 in his bid for the seat, records showed. Graziano, who started collecting funds for his run in March, has been an opponent of overdevelopment in Queens and received support from borough architects of the same mindset, such as Douglaston designer Kevin Wolfe.

Former Halloran Chief of Staff Chrissy Voskerichian raised $11,060 in about a month, campaign finance documents said. She abruptly left her position in Halloran’s office soon after the embattled incumbent was arrested on federal charges of bribery and corruption in early April.

Earlier this month, Halloran announced he would not seek re-election so he could instead devote time to clearing his controversial reputation. A federal grand jury indicted the Whitestone councilman on charges that he was helping funnel taxpayer money to GOP leaders in order to help state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) run in the upcoming mayoral race as a Republican.

But not all of Voskerichian’s campaign contributions were made public after her resignation from her boss’ office and later announcement to run.

Records showed Voskerichian collected one $100 donation from Flushing consultant Ignatius J. Evans, of the Southern Star Shipping Co. It was the only contribution her records showed came before her resignation from Halloran’s office.

Republican-backed Dennis Saffran was the only candidate of his party to file for the seat, records showed. The Queens GOP announced the party would back Saffran late last month after Halloran’s arrest, saying he was the best candidate they could field for the ticket.

Saffran’s campaign has yet to report any funding. Meanwhile, other rumored candidates Rudy S. Giuliani, chief of staff to Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and a cousin of the former mayor, and Kevin Kim, who Halloran had defeated back in 2009, did not file any campaign finance records.

See Article @ Times Ledger