Months after the Democratic primary was settled with Bill de Blasio the winner, new questions are being asked about whether lobbying on the key issue of horses drawn carriages was legal. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
During the mayoral race, NYCisNot4Sale's ad helped sink Christine Quinn's bid for mayor. Behind the scenes was perhaps a nastier campaign to get candidates to back a key issue of those who paid for the spot: Getting rid of horse carriages.
Multiple sources tell NY1 that several agencies, including the FBI, are investigating. The question is whether this was normal city politics of pushing an issue or something illegal.
The political operative behind the spot says it's definitely the former.
"It's pretty standard operating procedure for politics - the rough and tumble of New York City politics," said Scott Levenson, a political consultant.
Levenson is president and founder of the Advance Group. Last campaign season, he led two overlapping campaigns - to elect a mayor who wanted to ban horse carriages and to defeat Christine Quinn who opposed the ban.
Word swirling of investigations, Levenson has declined comment before.
"I will tell you quite frankly we have had no contact with any federal authority, or any investigative agency, about our work defeating Christine Quinn," Levenson said.
The FBI declines comment.
The anti-carriage group Levenson helped also says it has no knowledge of the investigation, reportedly ditto Mayor de Blasio who benefited the most from the attacks. It helped him win the primary, and then the election.
As for Levenson, he is billing this as a case of sour grapes.
"And if people don't like the results, we can't help that," he said.
Additionally, Levenson says, the Daily News, which first reported the FBI probe, is pushing anything that undermines the bid to ban carriages.
"If they're on a jihad, you have to ask them what their motivation is," Levenson said.
At the same time, polls show New Yorkers want the carriages to stay. Levenson says carriage opponents need to do more and he counts himself in that group.
"And I think the accident that happened this week is another example of why this is just not the right industry in our city," Levenson said.