A Bronx lawyer has filed a complaint against Guardian Angels founder and Republican mayoral wannabe Curtis Sliwa, charging he’s violating campaign laws by promoting his candidacy on his own WABC talk radio show.
The promotion amounts to an illegal “in-kind” donation from 77 WABC Radio, which is owned by business mogul John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media company, the complaint filed with the city Campaign Finance Board by attorney Nicholas Marricco said.
“I am bringing to the Campaign Finance Board’s (CFB) attention information of a potential violation of the Charter, Act, or Rules. Specifically, Curtis A Sliwa, candidate for mayor, has extended political activities to his podcast and radio show through station AM-WABC by openly discussing his run for the mayoralty and actively promoting his campaign,” Marricco said.
Such activity is illegal because the radio station is aiding Sliwa’s candidacy in violation of “in-kind” donation limits by a corporation to a candidate, the complaint said.
“As an employee of AM-WABC, Mr. Sliwa and his campaign are receiving ‘In-Kind’ donations by being permitted to promote Mr. Sliwa’s candidacy and not reporting the same to CFB,” Maricco said.
Sliwa registered as a mayoral candidate on Feb. 17 and is seeking 8-to-1 public matching funds regulated by the CFB. The maximum donation a candidate can receive from anyone is $2,000.
The CFB told Marricco it is reviewing his complaint.
An election lawyer not affiliated with the mayoral campaigns said Sliwa’s dual role poses a legal problem because a radio company can’t give preferential airtime to a candidate.
“It’s an improper contribution from a corporation,” said the veteran campaign lawyer, who requested anonymity.
Sliwa told The Post Thursday night he may have to give up his radio show — but not until his name officially appears on the ballot, which won’t happen until the end of April for the June 22 GOP primary. Petitioning for voters’ signatures to qualify for ballot status begins next month.
“If I get the signatures to get on the ballot, then it becomes an issue. I may well have to step down from the radio show,” Sliwa said.
He said he’s discussed the legal issues with WABC executives, including owner Catsimatidis.
Sliwa also admitted he occasionally discusses his mayoral bid on his radio show, which runs from noon to 3 p.m.
Meanwhile the Brooklyn Republican Party’s executive committee endorsed Sliwa for mayor Thursday night. He garnered 35 of the 46 votes.
More than 40 candidates are running to replace term-limited Mayor de Blasio.
Among the top Democratic Party contenders include city Comptroller Scott Stringer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, former de Blasio chief legal counsel Maya Wiley, former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, former federal Housing Secretary and President Obama budget director Shaun Donovan, ex-Citigroup executive Ray McGuire, ex-city Veterans Affairs Director Loree Sutton and not-for-profit social services director Diana Morales.