State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is the special guest, and suggested donations range from an $50 for a young professional to a $4,200 Capital Sponsorship ahead of next years citywide elections. But Councilman Judd Krasher is trying to pull the plug on the evening of historic fun and accusing the historical association of having a double standard when it comes to hosting political events one for incumbents and one for challengers. Krasher In an email to the mansions executive director Thursday, Krasher called for the last-minute eviction of Sheehans fundraiser citing the historical associations decision last March to revoke its permission for Democrat Dan Egan to launch his campaign for county executive there. Krasher helped manage Egans campaign against incumbent Democrat Dan McCoy and in his Thursday email wrote: I ask that you and your organization show consistency in your apparently legally-informed rationale and NOT hold this event. I look forward to your prompt attention to this matter. Please advise in your response if Ten Broeck is endorsing Kathy Sheehan and if Ten Broeck is now a political entity. Krasher, an 11th Ward Democrat who is easily the Democratic mayors most outspoken antagonist on the council, also supplied the Times Union with a March 5, 2015 email from the mansions executive director, Jillian Altenburg, rescinding the Egan campaigns permission to hold its event five days before the campaign kick-off. When we booked it, I wasnt fully aware of the nature of the event- a campaign announcement, Altenburg wrote to Egan camp. While ACHAs affiliation with Albany County is somewhat of a grey area, as a non profit we simply cant endorse candidates. We do, however, encourage all candidates, electeds and community leaders to check out our space and use it to its fullest capacity, which at this time doesnt include political events that could be viewed as endorsements. (Egans campaign launch was eventually re-located to the Hibernian Hall on Ontario Street, which owned by the Capital District Irish-American Association, also a tax-exempt nonprofit.) Federal tax law governing 501(c)3 nonprofits like the mansion forbids campaign interventions including endorsements. According to the IRS , political candidates can use nonprofit facilities so long as rival candidates are given an equivalent opportunity. Jennifer Dorsey, president of the historical associations board, said the difference between the two events is that Egan using the mansion as a backdrop for his campaign launch an event designed to attract media coverage could plausibly be interpreted as an endorsement by the organization. The Egan campaign also did not fully disclose what it intended to use the mansion for when it first contacted the historical association, Dorsey said. We werent told that it was going to be used to launch a campaign. We were frightened at the prospect that once this campaign got launched that people would associate the mansion with this particular candidate, Dorsey said.When we learned how he was using the mansion subsequently, we as a board were a little uncomfortable. We felt like there was a reason why he didnt fully disclose. Sheehans fundraiser on the other hand, is more akin to the kinds of private events the mansion is typically used for: weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, she said. Dorsey said the decision had nothing to do with the fact that Egan was challenging McCoy, and spokeswoman for Albany County said the historical association is not funded by the county. Heres the statement Dorsey sent to the Times Union: Over a year ago, the Board of Trustees of the Albany County Historical Association made a judgment regarding Mr. Egans proposed event. We have since set an amended policy regarding use of the Ten Broeck Mansion.We are a community-minded, non-profit organization and reserve the right to allow use of this cultural landmark according to fair market value. Our Board regularly reviews and updates our policies and procedures, both internally and externally, in accordance with our primary mission: To preserve and promote Albany history. Krasher called the claim that Egans campaign was not clear about its planscategorically false and said the denial was another example of how pervasive institutionalized incumbent protection is in the city of Albany and the county of Albany. To draw this distinction between a fundraiser and non-fundraiser campaign kick-off is ridiculous. Theyre both political, and the only difference is that one is raising money and the other one is not. And I think the absurdity speaks for itself in trying to draw this false distinction between the two, he said.I guarantee that if Dan Egan approached Ten Broeck last year to do a fundraiser that the result would be the same, and I suspect that if somebody runs against Kathy Sheehan and wants to to use Ten Broeck, their resquest will be denied. Fridays event runs from 6 p.m.
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