NYCVB to Reiter: Pick CVB or mayoral bid

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NEW YORK -- The New York Convention and Visitors Bureau has asked its president, Fran Reiter, to step down if she continues her bid for mayor of New York in 2001.

Tim Zagat, chairman of the bureau and publisher of the Zagat restaurant guides, said the organization reached an agreement with Reiter that calls for her resignation on Sept. 30 if she "decides to continue to explore a candidacy for elective office."

Zagat said the bureau has given Reiter until Sept. 1 to make up her mind. In a telephone interview, Reiter said she had not yet decided to continue her mayoral bid, but was "leaning on continuing my exploration."

She said she had always expected to resign her bureau post once she officially declared her candidacy, which would not likely happen before the November 2000 elections.

Reiter was tapped to head the bureau in January 1998. She was a former deputy mayor for economic development in the Giuliani administration. Reiter formed a campaign exploratory committee in April and began raising money for a potential mayoral run.

According to campaign finance reports, Reiter has raised $101,555 for her potential mayoral bid, far less than her better-known rivals. Asked why Reiter was given an ultimatum, a spokesman for the bureau said board members were concerned that a possible mayoral run would distract Reiter from her job.

"The executives felt that if she was going to focus her efforts on running for mayor, an enormous amount of her time would have to go toward that," said the spokesman, who added that the executives were generally pleased with Reiter's accomplishments.

Zagat pointed out that during Reiter's 18-month tenure at the bureau, she has signed several corporate sponsors, opened visitors centers in New York and London, and almost doubled the bureau's budget from $7.5 million to more than $13 million. The bureau spokesman said that David Klasfeld, the bureau's executive vice president, would be the likely interim replacement for Reiter.

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