Fox Unveils Exploratory Committee In Challenge To Cumbo

In what’s looking more like a grudge and issue oriented rematch every day, community activist Ede Fox today announced she has formed an exploratory committee for a likely run against City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) in the Sept. 12 Democratic Primary.

Fox, a longtime Prospect Heights resident, formerly served under City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito as the first Director of the Council’s Office of Economic and Community Development Division. Cumbo, according to the Gotham Gazette, got the mayor to put in a call and have her fired.

KCP questions this reporting as sources say Fox stepped down from the position working for the term-limited Mark-Viverito to concentrate on running against Cumbo.

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo

Personal grudge match aside, Cumbo’s support of large development projects such as the controversial Bedford Union Armory, as well as her getting over $3 million in city taxpayer money for the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Art (MoCADA), which she founded and ran before becoming a City Council member has some questioning her advocacy for the district she represents.

“The 35th District is one of the most diverse, vibrant communities in the city, thanks to the people who call Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights home,” said Fox. “But if we want to keep it that way, we have to fight back against the Trump administration’s extremist agenda and the unchecked gentrification destroying affordable housing in Brooklyn. We need new leadership. We can’t keep looking the other way while seniors and families are priced out of their homes. That’s why I’ll be meeting with tenants across the district, and listening to their concerns as we forge a new way forward.”

The members of the Ede Fox 2017 Exploratory Committee Include:

  • Felice Robertson, Washington Avenue Botanic Block Association (WABBA).
  • Michael CorleyMichael Corely, Union Street Block Association.
  • Curtis Harris, Executive Director, Green Earth Poets Café.
  • Lucy Koteen, Fort Greene Resident and Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn Steering Committee Member
  • Raul Rothblatt, Prospect Heights Resident and P.S. 9 parent.
Ede Fox

In the 2013 Democratic Primary, Cumbo along with female Democratic District Leader Olanike Alabi, Fox, Jelani Mashariki and Richard Hurley ran to fill the open seat left vacant when the term-limited former City Councilwoman Letitia James successfully won the Public Advocate seat.

In the hotly contested primary, the three main vote getters were Cumbo with 7, 561 votes, Alabi with 5,369 votes and Fox with 5,340 votes. Sources very close to Alabi confirmed that she will not run for the council seat in the primary, but it is fairly known in the district that there is little love lost between Cumbo and Alabi, especially as Cumbo supported Renee Colleymore last year, either overtly or covertly, to beat Alabi for the district leader seat. Alabi subsequently won decisively.

Cumbo and Fox each raised and spent about the same amount of money (the $200,000 range) in the 2013 primary, but Cumbo enjoyed huge support from the independent expenditures of Jobs For New York, which is the political action committee (PAC) arm of the Real Estate Board of New York. In the primary, Jobs For New York spent about $230,000 in campaign mailings for Cumbo and another $13,500 in negative mailings against Fox.

Since winning, Cumbo was also fined about $8,000 for accepting improper campaign funds from the anti-carriage horse group NYCLASS.

Sources say that Fox has started fundraising, including going to residents that backed Alabi in 2013. How much she reports come the next March 15th fundraising filing deadline could go a long way in determining when she will make a final decision of whether she will run.

That decision is expected in May.

Cumbo was unavailable for comment at post time.

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