May 16, By Jason Cohen
A group of nearly 30 protesters turned out to march on state senator Jose Peralta’s (D- Jackson Heights) office Saturday to protest his alliance with the Independent Democratic Conference.
The march, which started at the post office on 37th Ave., took place just days after The New York Times wrote an expose alleging that Peralta received thousands of dollars in additional pay through his IDC affiliation that he was not entitled to.
Peralta joined the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) in January, which is a group of eight members of the New York State Senate who were elected as Democrats who have joined forces with the Republicans to form a majority coalition.
Honor Moshe, a Jackson Heights resident and participant, said the point of the march was to display their displeasure at Peralta joining the IDC and to demand that he host another town hall meeting to explain his decision. She said people are also upset about the allegations laid out by The New York Times, which indicated he received a stipend that he may not have been entitled to.
According to The New York Times, Peralta and two of his colleagues allegedly received stipends typically reserved for state senators who actually chair committees. Paperwork was submitted by the Republicans claiming Peralta and his colleagues were the actual chairs, when in fact they were vice chairs.
Per an agreement with the Republicans, these stipends that should have gone to Republican chairs were passed on to IDC members, reported The New York Times.
Peralta, the Vice Chair of Energy and Telecommunications, received $9,375, the amount that should have gone to the Republican chair, reported The New York Times.
The IDC and Peralta refute any claims of wrongdoing.
“There are no allegations against Senator Peralta who is not involved in the filing of allowances, which is spelled out in statute. These allowances are certified and paid out by the state comptroller,” Candice Giove, an IDC spokeswoman said.
Peralta also said that he took a pay cut when he joined the IDC.
“As part of the mainline Democrats, I was receiving a stipend of $14,500 as Minority Whip, and now I receive a stipend of $12,500 as the Vice Chair of Energy and Telecommunications,” Peralta said in a statement. “Plainly, I took a pay cut when I joined the Independent Democratic Conference.”
The rally was organized by No IDC NY and the New Visions Democratic Club — which kicked Peralta out as a member after he joined the IDC.
Susan Kang, a Jackson Heights resident and member of No IDC, expressed her frustrations with Peralta.
“The recent reports that Senator Peralta and other members of the IDC have been receiving improper payments from New York State, based on false paperwork submitted to the Comptroller’s office, only reaffirms that the IDC is at the heart of the rot in Albany.”