As Christine Quinn's mayoral candidate stock continues to plummet, the City Council Speaker's made a few more waves this week by accepting a hefty campaign donation from a fast-food mogul and his wife, just one day before she attended a rally supporting fast-food workers. Oh, the drama! Oh, the intrigue!
Fast-food workers' fight for fairer wages and hours heated up this Thursday with walkouts at McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy's franchises, and Quinn, who says she's staunch supporter of the workers, showed up at a fast-food workers' rally that day. But on Wednesday, campaign records show she accepted a $14,850 donation from Dennis and Randi Riese; Dennis Riese is a major player in New York's fast-food restaurant scene, and his corporation owns about 75 franchise restaurants in the city including KFC, Pizza Hut, Tim Hortons and T.G.I. Friday.
Naturally, Quinn's opponents are calling foul. "One of the major reasons we are living a Tale of Two Cities after twelve years of Mayor Bloomberg is because the wealthy elite have had their way, while low and middle-income workers struggle just to keep their head above water,” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who has been skewering Quinn in the polls of late, said in a statement today. “The fact is Christine Quinn has spent her time as City Council Speaker working for her donors in big business while blocking and watering down legislation that would improve the lives of low wage workers." De Blasio also accused Quinn of consistently supporting companies like McDonalds, KFC, and Taco Bell, and a statement released by his campaign today noted Riese has faced "multiple law suits for wage theft, employment discrimination and workplace safety violations."
Quinn's campaign says the Rieses' donation, which is the maximum amount they can donate for the primary, potential runoff and general election, is not noteworthy. "Christine Quinn stands strong with fast-food workers, period,” spokesman Mike Morey said yesterday. "Her contribution from the Rieses is as irrelevant as the fact that Bill de Blasio attends an annual St. Patrick’s Day party at the Reises’ restaurant.” And the couple are no strangers to making Democratic campaign donations, having contributed to both Scott Stringer's Comptroller campaign and Anthony Weiner's mayoral campaign this year alone. Weiner was also at Thursday's worker rally, and the Daily News called him out on the Rieses' contribution but at this point we've mostly forgotten Carlos Danger is even running for mayor anymore. You know. Mostly.