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Catsimatidis, Lhota Trade Charges On Campaign Trail

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The two leading GOP candidates were trading charges Friday, with each referencing corruption scandals that have rocked the city's political world. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

John Catsimatidis has an idea why the City Council's four Republicans want him to lose the primary to Joseph Lhota, but he said there's a problem.

"I'm not sure I am allowed to talk about it," he said.

So the mayoral hopeful instead offered a vague rationale why the quartet is backing Lhota instead. It has something to do with an investigation, he said.

"There was certain situations going on where there were threats made on people losing their city jobs if they didn't do certain things certain ways," Catsimatidis said. "You ever heard about that?"

Aides said it refers to recent maneuvers at the Board of Elections, where the councilmen replaced commissioners with their own choices after Queens leaders missed a deadline.

There's been no word of charges against the councilmen, leaving the council's Republican leader, James Oddo, among many scratching their heads.

"I have no idea what he's talking about," Oddo said. "Frankly, I don't care who endorses whom in the mayor's race. I don't care."

Told what Catsimatidis said, Councilman Eric Ulrich was blunter.

"I don't know what is more absurd, that statement, or John Catsimatidis actually getting elected mayor," Ulrich said in a statement.

Ulrich has been feuding with the Queens GOP leader, who backs Catsimatidis.

As for Lhota?

"It's an outrageous statement by John," he said. "There is no investigation whatsoever of the four members of the City Council who endorsed me."

That's not entirely true. City Councilman Dan Halloran is facing federal corruption charges, along with a former Catsimatidis aide.

On the Democratic side, former City Comptroller William Thompson unveiled a plan to change the New York City Housing Authority, which he's been criticizing recently.

He promised to not only fire Chairman John Rhea, but also end NYCHA's $100 million annual payment to the NYPD.

"NYCHA's gross incompetence and mismanagement have left vulnerable families to fend for themselves," Thompson said.

Thompson also wants unused space on housing authority property left for middle-income and affordable housing, rather than luxury housing.

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