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carriage driver posterMayor de Blasio, have you no romance? (c.1960 original vintage poster by Stan Galli and other antique horse-related posters are availabe from Chisholm Gallery.)Just three weeks after embattled New York City horse carriage drivers filed a lawsuit against NYCLASS, three leaders of that animal rights group—the Executive Director and two organizers—have resigned.

During his 2013 mayoral campaign, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to remove the iconic horse-drawn carriages from the city’s streets. The FBI has been investigating that campaign pledge as it relates to donations made to NYCLASS by top de Blasio supporters; donations from NYCLASS to deBlasio’s mayoral campaign; how those donations related to de Blasio’s pledge to wipe out the horse carriage industry; and threats made by NYCLASS in 2013 to de Blasio’s chief rival in the mayoral race, Christine Quinn.

In April, 2014, the New York Daily News disclosed that a political consultant for NYCLASS threatened to undermine Quinn’s campaign if she didn’t back the horse carriage ban. Quinn, who was leading de Blasio in the polls at the time, refused to back the ban.

That same April, two NYCLASS officials gave $200,000 to a PAC formed by the animal rights group’s political consultant to carry out the “Anybody But Quinn” campaign. Records show that NYCLASS gave $225,000 to the anti-Quinn campaign in the months of May and June. Records also show that two of de Blasio’s top financial supporters gave $225,000 to NYCLASS.

The “Anybody But Quinn” ad blitz attacked candidate Quinn with TV ads, robocalls, and mailings. By late June, Quinn had fallen to third place in the Democratic primary. De Blasio won the primary and later the mayoral election.

The resigning NYCLASS leaders said, according to Jennifer Fermino in the Daily News, “We’re leaving to “launch new endeavors for animal rights.”

Posted January 9, 2017

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