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Councilwoman behind Dem Boss downfall slapped with 73G campaign tab

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The woman behind Assemblyman Jose Rivera’s downfall as Bronx Democratic county leader owes the city Campaign Finance Board some big bux.

It slapped former west Bronx Councilwoman Maria Baez last week with almost $73,000 in penalties and a bill for unspent matching funds from the 2009 race she lost to current Morris Heights Councilman Fernando Cabrera.

It also hit Yudelka Tapia, female district leader in the 86th Assembly District there, with a $107,704 bill for penalties and unspent funding from that same 2009 council race.

For Maria, who’s since slipped into obscurity, the tab was $45,200 in penalites and $27,762 in unaccounted-for matching funds from $70,100 she received.

Board spokesman Eric Friedman said the former longtime incumbent failed to respond with an accounting after mailings to her last known address, a post office box. Next, he said, could be small claims court, and possibly a lien.

Maria was Jose’s long-time right hand, especially after he took a deal to step out of the borough president’s race against Adolfo Carrion Jr. to become county leader.

A lotta partycrats soon charged Jose (through Maria) was turning the party into an all-Puerto Rican, all-the-time benefits group.

One of the final nails in the coffin came when party consigliere Stanley Schlein demanded Jose choose between him and Maria.

Stanley lost and soon joined dissident electeds who formed the Rainbow Revolution that toppled Jose and installed current leader, Assemblyman Carl Heastie.

Yudelka could now have a problem if she had any plans to jump into the 15th Council District race. With Joel Rivera term-limited out of the central Bronx seat, a number of folks have been eyeing it.

Yudelka COULD run, but without new matching funds unless she pays off $47,774 in fines and repays or accounts for $59,930 out of the original $78,828 in matching funds.

One candidate out of the red, so speak, is Andy King, who has the backing of the Dem Party in the Nov. 6 special election to fill the northeast Bronx seat of disgraced - and convicted - former Councilman Larry (The Fox) Seabrook.

King owed the board $30,000 from his last unsuccessful challenge in 2009. He’s now received $49,000 in matching funds from the CFB, based on $28,000 he’s already raised for this race, said Friedman.

SIDE NOTE: King was admitted to a local hospital with chest pains Sunday evening, missing Monday night’s debate on Gary Axelbank’s BronxTalk with five other candidates vying for Seabrook’s seat. Hope he’s out by now.

To catch the debate, go to www.bronxnet.org/tv/bronxtalk/.

SURROGATE TALE

A little behind-the-scenes look at the Bronx Surrogate’s race:

Gov. Cuomo this month named Bronx state Supreme Court Justice Darcel Clarke to the Appellate Division in Manhattan, who WAS in the running for party backing in the Bronx Surrogate’s race.

Both she and Acting Supreme Court Justice Nelida Malave-Gonzalez passed the party’s judicial screening panel (former Parkchester Assembly and now state labor commissioner Peter Rivera did NOT).

There was lotsa buzz at the time over whether the party would support an African-American or a Latino for the job.

But our source tells us that after passing the appellate division screening panel and being contacted by the governor’s people, Clarke informed the party that she was out of the running for the job as Surrogate.

Current Surrogate Lee Holzman is NOT running for reelection after becoming enmeshed in a scandal involving ex-Public Administrator Michael Lippman, currently facing trial for allegedly looting the estates of persons who died without wills.

INDEPENDENT

Assemblyman Eric Stevenson packed Maestro’s at his Oct. 18 fundraiser against Jose Padilla Jr., who’s on the Independence Party line.

Eric said Jose’s playing a word game, calling himself “the INDEPENDENT Democrat.”

Jose, whose Belmont address was redistricted out of Eric’s 79th A.D. in Morrisania, defeated him in 2006 for male district leader, then was knocked off the ballot in 2008 for both district leader and assembly in a race against former assemblyman Michael Benjamin.

Padilla, a former law enforcement officer, said he didn’t go for matching funds in this race, and is planning a last-minute fundraiser in what looks like a Stevenson steamroller on Nov. 6.

SNOOKI RUNNING

Disappointed supporters of Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, who lost to challenger Mark Gjonaj in the Sept. 13 Democratic Primary will still have a chance in the Nov. 6 general election when Snooki will be on the Working Families line. Good luck!

COP CORNER

We’re told cops are calling the Pelham Houses the Tell ‘Em Houses after loose lips helped them make a fast ID on a shooter who killed one man and wounded another there.

As for the murder this summer of 88-year-old Evelyn Shapiro, sources tell us cops are just waiting for DNA results before they move in on “a person of interest.”

BRONX BIRTHDAYS

John Gotti. (October 27, 1940 – June 10, 2002) Yes. He was born in the Bronx.

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