New York City Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman said Thursday that a city report on a controversial campaign loan she received in 1992 "is not the whole truth," and it would be unfair to release the findings before a city panel can review the matter.
The city Department of Investigation on Friday concluded its investigation into conflict of interest charges surrounding a $450,000 loan made by Fleet Bank to Holtzman's failed U.S. Senate campaign and her office's recommendation of Fleet Securities as a co-manager of city bonds.
In a debate held at the City University of New York Graduate Center in Manhattan, Holtzman said she would not agree to make public the DOI findings, reversing earlier statements that she favored full disclosure of the matter.
Holtzman's statements came after days of waffling on the subject. Since Wednesday, Holtzman press officials would not answer questions about the release of the DOI findings. Under city charter rules, the comptroller must agree to release the findings before they can be made public.
"If [the report] is released before the Conflicts of Interest Board has a chance to rule, then my two opponents will sit in judgment as opposed to the Conflicts of Interest Board," Holtzman said. "That's not fair to the public and that's not fair to me."
Holtzman faces former Deputy Mayor Herman Badillo and state Assemblyman Alan Hevest tomorrow in the Democratic primary for city comptroller. She has led in most recent polls, and it is unclear what damage, if any, the loan controversy will do to her re-election bid.
Press officials representing Holtzman did not return telephone calls on Friday. But speculation swirled that the contents of the report would hurt Holtzman.
The DOI launched its investigation in May, at the request of the city's Conflicts of Interest Board. Because the board initiated the investigation, Holtzman is permitted under the city charter to keep its findings private.
Both the DOI and the board have agreed to release the study if Holtzman gives her authorization.