Shame was the name of the game on Sunday, March 11 as members of the Brooklyn Teen Republican Club (BTRC) stormed the corner of 87th Street and Third Avenue, outside recently indicted Assemblymember Pamela Harris’ Ridge office, to call for her resignation amidst a laundry list of federal charges and her reported absence in Albany.
Harris, 57, who represents a swath of southwest Brooklyn from Bay Ridge to Coney Island, was indicted in early January on 11 counts including charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, making false statements and obstruction of justice in relation to a variety of alleged schemes that arose in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Harris has represented the 46th Assembly District since winning a special election in 2015, replacing former Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny, who had stepped down a few months earlier to take a job in the private sector and was subsequently indicted in connection with a sting operation targeting three Brooklyn medical clinics that investigators allege were “pill mills” which illegally prescribed opioid painkillers while also fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid for millions of dollars’ worth of unnecessary medical tests, physical therapy and psychiatric services.
Among the agencies that Harris is alleged to have defrauded are the New York City Council, the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the New York City Build it Back Program, and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Furthermore, it was reported in mid-February that the pol had not been showing up to work, but was still collecting checks.
“I think that any politician who is corrupt, and indicted of such charges with such strong evidence, should have the decency to resign,” BTRC President Batya Goldberg told this paper. “Instead, Assemblywoman Harris has chosen to stay in office and burden her constituents with an elected official who should be representing them in Albany, but instead doesn’t even come into work for weeks while getting paid. The money she is getting paid for her time in office, is probably going directly towards her legal bills. Or rather, lawyers who are trying to defend someone who has unrightfully stolen thousands of taxpayers’ dollars.”
And so, she said, her club took action.
“If a bunch of teenagers realize that someone like her should not stay in office, then surely if she has any decency or respect for her office and constituents left, she will resign,” Goldberg said, adding that, either way, she was happy with Sunday’s turnout. “We are truly showing Brooklyn that there is a voice that will always stand up against corrupt politicians, no matter what.”
The rally consisted of mostly members of the 25-person political group as well as Republican District Leader Ray Denaro of the 47th Assembly District.
“[Protesters are] not only speaking from their club, they’re speaking for the people of this district who have been so wronged by Assemblywoman Pamela Harris,” Denaro said at the rally. “It’s hard to even fathom what she did to the people of Coney Island and Bay Ridge,” neighborhoods, he said, still reeling from Superstorm Sandy, full of families who are still seeking “a sense of normalcy.”
Harris, he said, was trying to plan her next vacation.
“Our message is loud and clear Pamela Harris,” said Goldberg Sunday, contending that “enough Democrats” have stayed in office well after they were indicted. “It is time for you to resign. We will not tolerate this anymore.”
When asked to comment, an employee at Harris’s office told this paper that the office “does not” and “will not” have a comment on the rally.