City worker fined for running CPA biz out of comptroller’s office
City workers get caught all the time doing private work at their government jobs, but an accountant in the Comptroller’s Office broke all records Thursday when she admitted running a CPA business from her desk for nearly 16 years.
Mary Chien, who works in the comptroller’s Bureau of Asset Management, said she prepared 200 documents for private clients from 1998 to 2014 on her city computer during work hours.
She agreed to pay a fine of nearly $14,000 in a settlement with the Conflicts of Interest Board.
Chien not only worked on tax returns, but confessed to writing letters on behalf of clients to the other government agencies, including the IRS and the state Department of Taxation, using her city e-mail address.
She was fined the equivalent of 45 days of work, or $13,891, and will be allowed to keep her job.
Chien, who joined the city in 1979, did not return calls seeking comment.
Another employee in the Comptroller’s Office was busted for a similar offense, running his eBay business when he should have been tending to the city’s business.
Richard Avellino agreed to pay $388, the equivalent of two days’ pay, for using a city computer during work hours to update his sales records and e-mail them to his personal account.
A trainee in the Bureau of Audits, Avellino admitted to updating his eBay sales ledger on eight different occasions from November 2013 through June 2014.
Avellino, who also got to keep his job, did not return a call for comment.
In another settlement with the ethics panel, a high-school principal agreed to pay a $2,400 fine for ordering three staffers to work as his personal assistants.
The designated gofers performed errands for Max Jean Paul, principal of the Brooklyn Bridge Academy in Canarsie, that included depositing his personal checks, picking up clothes from the cleaners, shopping for liquor and groceries, and making breakfast and lunch deliveries.
Paul was apparently trying to save a few bucks where he could because some of the shopping trips were to a “wholesale club.”
He has been employed by the Department of Education since 2000.
The board also collected a $1,600 fine from a Bronx teacher who admitted making photocopies of official parking placards.
Kim Judin, a teacher at PS 86, said she won a lottery at her school in November 2012 for one of a limited number of parking placards.
She said she gave it up in March 2013 so another teacher could use it, but then made unauthorized copies for her private vehicle.