Desiree Peterkin Bell, the former City Representative who was the subject of a scathing report from the City Controller earlier this week, intends to sue the man behind the searing words.
"My client is going to sue Mr. Butkovitz for defamation," attorney Joe H. Tucker Jr. said Thursday evening. Peterkin Bell deferred all questions to Tucker.
Tucker said that while, in their view, the entire press conference held Tuesday on the matter was defamatory, the lawsuit will focus on Butkovitz's comments that Peterkin Bell used a portion of the city-run marathon money as a slush fund.
"How dare he?" Tucker said Thursday. "I dare him to show where she personally benefitted from this."
The Controller's report, released Tuesday, said more than $380,000 in from the city's marathon revenues, which the Mayor's Fund manages, was used in part for unapproved grants, a trip to Rome by Mayor Nutter and his staff, and an open-bar reception last year. Butkovitz said that the spending was done solely by or by the orders of Peterkin Bell with no oversight by the fund's board of directors, effectively circumventing the board's policies and control checks.
Peterkin Bell and Nutter have vehemently denied the accusations, saying that all expenses were approved by the fund's executive director Ashley Del Bianco. The pair have also complained that the controller did not interview them on the matter or ask for explanations before completing his report.
Tucker said he plans to file the defamation lawsuit next week.
Told of the new development, Bill Rubin, first deputy city controller, said: "In the course of doing our work, from time to time, people bring legal action against us." He cited that of the last two incidents, one case was dismissed and the other was James R. Davis who was indicted by the federal government.
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