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Questions about union and NYCLASS donations in mayoral campaign

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The New York City Campaign Finance Board records reveal that during the race for mayor, the UNITE HERE! union donated $175,000 to NYCLASS, the animal rights activist group bent on removing horse drawn carriages from city streets.

The records also show that two days later NYCLASS donated the exact same amount -- $175,000 -- to NYCN4S (NYC Is Not for Sale), an organization set up to derail the campaign of Christine Quinn.

Quinn had been the Democratic front runner up to that point. But Quinn supported the horse carriage industry, angering NYCLASS founder Steven Nislick who then launched a campaign that helped derail Quinn's candidacy.

Adding to this, before the UNITE HERE! donation, the union was headed by John Wilhelm, Bill de Blasio's cousin, who donated to the future mayor's campaign. If those are connected, that would be illegal, according to Dick Dadey of Citizens Union, if there was an effort between a top fund raiser for the de Blasio campaign and an independent spender trying to defeat another candidate.

A public relations spokesman for NYCLASS said: "NYCLASS has done nothing wrong."

UNITE HERE! did not respond to our questions.

We could not reach John Wilhelm, but he reportedly told the Daily News that he was no longer a union official when the donations were made.

What does the mayor have to say about these allegations of at the least devious donations? His chief spokesman texted: "Mayor has said he has no knowledge or information about these donations."

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