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Just before 2 p.m. today, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn released a statement that she had accepted the resignation of City Council Member Miguel Martinez, effective today.
"This is a sad day for the City Council, for the 10th Council district and for the City of New York," Quinn said in the statement. "The Council and I take this matter very seriously and we will continue to be fully cooperative with authorities."
Martinez tendered his resignation today for what sources say is a deal with federal prosecutors to avoid jail time for financial wrong doing. No details about what that might be have been publicly released. Martinez' role in the Council's so called "Slush Fund Scandal" from 2008 included earmarking over $400,000 to a local nonprofit he was closely connected with.
With the resignation, attention turns to what is to become of Martinez' petitions to run for City Council, which sources say he handed in Mon., July 13. A committee of vacancy has been formed to determine what to do with the signatures: decline them or declare a substitute candidate.
Sources say that the committee has assigned Martinez' petitions for the district leader race to Rafael Escaño, a member of Martinez' political club, Democrats in the Heights, and a local representative of City Comptroller William Thompson.
No word yet on what's to become of Martinez' petitions to run for a third City Council term.
Martinez was considered the front-runner in what was a nine-person race that includes a formerly staunch ally, Manny Velazquez who chairs Community Board 12, and long-time opponent, Ydanis Rodriguez, who lost races to Martinez in 2001 and 2003. Also on September's primary ballot is Ruben Dario Vargas, Martinez' lone Democratic challenger in 2005.
Rodriguez called a 2 p.m. rally on the steps of City Hall to turn in his 5,000 petition signatures. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer was reportedly also going to attend.
The Manhattan Times is the bilingual newspaper of Washington Heights and Inwood.