Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D–Bensonhurst), who sits on the legislature’s Labor Committee and who is strongly contemplating a run for Council, sent out holiday mailers that falsely suggested they were printed by union workers — then lied about it to the media, the president of the printer’s union revealed.
Back in December, Abbate told this paper that the Christmas cards that he mailed to people living in Bay Ridge’s 43rd Council District — a seat that he is rumored to be eyeing — were made by union printers, even though a label on the mailers asserting their union origin (called a “union bug”) was so poorly printed that it appeared to be a fake.
The head of the Allied Printing Trades Council said there would be an investigation.
On Jan. 9, Abbate claimed the smudged label was simply a printing error and maintained that the mailers were produced by union labor.
“It’s a non-issue. It was union. Everything was fine. Not a story anymore,” said Abbate. “The Allied Printing Trades saw it was smudged, it was a s----- bug, but they okayed it. It’s a dead issue.”
But Abbate lied, according union head John Heffernan, who said the veteran lawmaker admitted to him the bugs were bogus.
“The scribbled one on the Christmas card — I couldn’t make that out as a legit label of any kind. I spoke with Peter Abbate, and I inspected the bugs, and he used a broker that didn’t use the Allied label. So Peter apologized for that and said he would correct it immediately, and I sent him a list of printing shops,” said Heffernan.
Abbate responded to subsequent requests for comment with an e-mailed statement that “the issue has been remedied” and that “the matter is closed.”
The assemblyman sent the print order to the Ink Shop in Gravesend, and the company was supposed to forward it to a union printer, but it apparently did not, according to Heffernan, who said that it appeared that Abbate was at least trying to use union labor.
“It wasn’t him personally, but it was the broker that handled it,” he said. “It was the broker that misguided him. [Abbate] was very apologetic, and he wanted to use the NYC Allied Printing Trades Council.”
The Ink Shop did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Abbate’s mailers have featured questionable union labels in the past, according to photos shared with this paper.
Abbate has spent more than $100,000 at the Ink Shop since 2005 — the last check he cut them was $9,260 on Oct. 31 for campaign literature, according to campaign finance records.
The Observer first reported that Abbate sent out the Christmas cards to court potential Council voters.