Comptroller John Liu -- the first Asian-American to hold citywide office -- voted against a $300,000 plan yesterday to assist immigrant entrepreneurs.
Aides to Mayor Bloomberg, who proposed the idea of asking nonprofits to recommend ways of engaging immigrants starting their own businesses, were bewildered by Liu's negative vote at the Industrial Development Agency.
"Either he doesn't understand what's going on, or he's twisting it," said one administration source.
The IDA passed the plan despite Liu's opposition.
Liu, who emigrated from Taiwan as a child, said he couldn't approve the plan because it was a one-time program that didn't go far enough to help immigrants long term.
"I oppose this effort because it is shortsighted and a potential waste of money," said Liu.
One-third of the cost, $100,000, is being picked up by Deutsche Bank.
Andrew Friedman, a spokesman for the grass-roots organization Make the Road by Walking, said his group encouraged the city to conduct the pilot program.
"Our sense is it's a positive thing," Friedman said.
"Today, with 12,600 dues-paying members, MRNY is a unique amalgam of worker center, legal clinic, citizenship school, mutual aid society, policy shop, protest factory and church. Its four offices in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island are an egalitarian oasis for members, who gather there for conversation and classes..."