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What’s in a Name? Frankly, a Pretty Big Political Favor

Two weeks ago, state Sen. Frank Padavan received extra credit—quite inappropriately—from Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein when a cluster of public schools in Bellerose, Queens, was renamed for him…

  • Bethany Foster & Andrew Stengel
May 14, 2008

Cross-posted from Daily News editorial

Two weeks ago, state Sen. Frank Padavan received extra credit—quite inappropriately—from Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein when a cluster of public schools in Bellerose, Queens, was renamed for him. Padavan was apparently instrumental in converting a state-owned psychiatric facility into the three public schools, which now make up what is called the Frank Padavan Campus.

Rather than letting this little favor slide by—as so many of these embellishments do—it’s time for the senator and those who bestowed the honor to learn a tough ethics lesson.

The state’s Public Officers Law is clear on this: Elected officials cannot receive extra compensation or any gift of more than nominal value. Placing someone’s name in a prominent place, whether it’s an actual building or a tract of land, has monetary value. That’s why many ballfields around the country are known by corporate names, like FedEx or Petco. Citibank will reportedly pay $20 million per year to call the new Mets stadium Citi Field…

Read entire editorial here.