Charles Barron held an impassioned press conference to refute the claims in a recent string of Daily News articles that accused the council member of improperly steering tax money toward a nonprofit organization run by a former political aide.
The articles, which ran last week, claimed that Barron and his wife, Assemblywoman Inez Barron, pumped $350,000 worth of taxpayer’s money into Man Up! Inc., run by A.T. Mitchell. The nonprofit organization helps former inmates reenter society along with other community offerings.
“The article was bogus. This is really about Mort Zuckerman, owner of the Daily News-rich white man; Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg-rich white man; and Walmart-rich white men. It’s about them opposing an outspoken Black couple from East New York,” explained Barron explicitly. “Sister Barron voted ‘No’ on the governor’s budget. I voted ‘No’ on the mayor’s budget and both of us said ‘No’ to Walmart.”
One of the reporters on the articles, Jake Pearson, was present at the press conference and Barron openly challenged his claims. Barron, calling Pearson a “puppet” for Zuckerman’s agenda to disrupt the council member’s actions, questioned why the articles were appearing now when the deal occurred three years ago. He continued to state that these “findings” were being released at a vital time when Barron is trying to stop Walmart from entering his constituency.
Articles also mentioned Barron’s support of a big developer’s plan for a shopping complex in East New York after the developer signed a “confidential” benefits agreement, pledging $3.5 million to Mitchell, Barron’s former aide and the founder of Man Up!
Mitchell denied the secrecy of the deal and assured that the community was allowed in the meeting. He stated that he hadn’t created the confidential documents, but that they were drafted by lawyers.
“Every meeting we had was under the watch of lawyers,” declared Mitchell. “People who are sworn to uphold the law.”
Nonchalantly, Barron mentioned that, if anything, the articles were likely to just muster up press and attention for Man Up!
“Not only did I fund Man Up! this year, we’re going to try and give them more money next year!” promised Barron.