NYC comptroller, other pols score free $20K Denmark trip from Cornell institute

composite image left of pols touring sustainable housing in denmark; Brad Lander and other pols pose in front of bikes
A group of progressive NYC pols -- led by Comptroller Brad Lander - went on a week-long junket to Denmark paid for by a Cornell University institute pushing clean energy initiatives to create new jobs and construction projects.
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A Cornell University institute pushing clean energy picked up the $20,000-plus tab for a group of progressive NYC pols — led by Comptroller Brad Lander — on a week-long junket to Denmark, where they gushed over lefty causes like car-free infrastructure and heavily-subsidized “social housing” programs.

The Climate Jobs Institute at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations — whose mission is drumming up green jobs — shelled out about $2,500 per person for Lander and seven Democratic city councilwomen to attend the expenses-paid trip from April 27 through Saturday, according to Lander’s office.

A group of progressive NYC pols — led by Comptroller Brad Lander (far right) – went on a week-long junket to Denmark paid for by a Cornell University entity pushing clean energy initiatives. Also pictured here outside Copenhagen City Hall’s parking lot — which is flooded with bikes — is NYC principals’ union boss Henry Rubio and Councilwoman Diana Ayala (D-Manhattan/Bronx). X @NYCComptroller
Councilwoman Diana Ayala (D-Manhattan/Bronx) reads up on Denmark’s environmentally friendly but heavily subsidized “social housing” programs. X @NYCComptroller
Councilwoman Diana Ayala (D-Manhattan/Bronx) reads up on Denmark’s environmentally friendly but heavily subsidized “social housing” programs. X @NYCComptroller

Some critics questioned whether the Institute picked up the elected officials’ tab to help lock in political support for future clean-energy projects.

“Something is rotten in Denmark,” fumed Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Queens). “To me, this seems like indirect lobbying from the Climate Jobs Institute to push their car-free agenda on New York’s politicians.”

Doug Kellogg, director of the conservative anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform State Projects, said he believes New Yorkers might pay for the trip in the long run.

“New York taxpayers should be white-hot angry their elected officials are enjoying European junkets to consort with left-wing activists and union bosses” to determine how “they can all profit from radical climate policies that crush families and businesses under energy bills 40% higher than the national average,” he said.

During the 4,000-mile jaunt, the pols toured “sustainable housing” sites and a “waste-to-energy” heating plant, sources said. They also met with local officials to discuss wind power and Denmark’s efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Members of the NYC Council toured “sustainable housing” sites. X @NYCComptroller
Members of the NYC Council toured “sustainable housing” sites. X @NYCComptroller

The pols posed for plenty of photos, including some Lander posted on X Monday where he, council members Tiffany Caban (D-Queens) and Diana Ayala (D-Manhattan/Bronx), and NYC principals’ union boss Henry Rubio were all smiles while surrounded by bicycles outside Copenhagen City Hall.

“Something’s different about the Copenhagen City Hall parking lot. Can’t quite put my finger on what it is,” quipped the car-hating Lander.

Brooklyn Councilwomen Sandy Nurse and Alexa Aviles, Queens Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers, Staten Island Councilwoman Kamillah Hanks, Manhattan Councilwoman Carmen de La Rosa, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators union executives and Big Apple labor leaders were also on the trip.

The Institute hosted a similar trip to Denmark last year featuring an “education delegation” of 30 guests, including state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and 10 other state legislators.

Councilwomen Diana Ayala (D-Manhattan/Bronx) and Tiffany Caban (D-Queens) and Comptroller Brad Lander posing bicycles. X @NYCComptroller
Councilwomen Diana Ayala (D-Manhattan/Bronx) and Tiffany Caban (D-Queens) and Comptroller Brad Lander posing bicycles. X @NYCComptroller

A spokesman for Cornell’s Climate Jobs Institute refused to comment.

Lander’s office defended the trip, insisting it included meetings on a variety of topics he deals with as comptroller, such municipal pension funds and setting the prevailing wage on public work projects.