Winners & Losers 8/12/16
It’s been tough deciding how to rate some notable New Yorkers this week. Sure, climbing Trump Tower with suction cups will get you arrested, but the view must have been great. And while demanding special treatment from a faceless Twitter account isn’t a good look, the New York City Council speaker hit a nerve felt by many who have complained to the city. In the end, we left both off the Winners & Losers list, but the rest should be a quite clear.
Leo Denault – The Entergy CEO’s battles with the Cuomo administration over Indian Point may still be a sticking point, but this week Denault celebrated the tentative sale of his company’s FitzPatrick nuclear power plant to Exelon and praised the governor for his role in the deal. The sale is expected to prevent a shutdown of the reactor, maintain about 600 jobs and allow Entergy to avoid the unenviable task of paying for the disposal of the spent nuclear fuel when the reactor is eventually decommissioned.
Simcha Felder – Borough Park’s opportunistic state senator gets to run on the Democratic, Republican AND Conservative Party lines this November, which will allow him to continue to keep his cards close to the chest until after control of the state Senate is determined. And that ensures that Felder gets to end up on the winning side regardless of the outcome.
Stephen L. Green – Now that Midtown TDR Ventures, the owner of Grand Central Terminal, has dropped its lawsuit against SL Green Realty Corporation over air rights violations, the last hurdle has been removed for construction to commence on the 1,401-foot-tall skyscraper across the street that will be known as 1 Vanderbilt. That’s a win for Stephen L. Green, the founder and chairman – and Mayor Bill de Blasio has to be happy too, since the development will include $220 million in transportation improvements to the area.
Tony Nicely – The Geico chief executive joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo in celebrating $4 million in funding from the state to put towards a $15 million expansion of the insurance company’s Western New York operation. In exchange, the company has promised to create 600 new jobs at its new suburban Buffalo offices. The company also arranged for the governor to meet the Geico Gecko. Rumor has it he was disappointed the Caveman wasn’t available.
Dean & Adam Skelos – This father-son pair hasn’t receive much good news lately. After the former state Senate majority leader and his son were sentenced to five-and-a-half and six years in prison, respectively, they got a reprieve this week when a judge approved their request to remain free while they appeal their cases. Looks like they get to enjoy a few more home-cooked meals before the prospect of prison food.
Eric Adams – You know you’ve made it in New York politics when you’re being probed by federal investigators. According to the Post, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has joined other high-profile New York pols in attracting the feds’ attention for his fundraising activities. Investigators are reportedly examining whether those who donated to Adams’ nonprofit, One Brooklyn Fund Inc., received favorable treatment. The beep’s spokesman pointed out that the nonprofit was probed before – and the investigation didn’t lead to any enforcement action.
Chris Christie – New Jersey’s governor seemed to have put the Bridgegate scandal behind him, even as former associates face legal problems stemming from the Port Authority’s controversial lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. But this week, a contemporaneous text message exchange revealed that one of his own staffers thought he was lying about what his administration known about the plot and when. Maybe Donald Trump will take to calling his new BFF “Lyin’ Chris.”
Logan Green & Travis Kalanick – A lot of people believe that throwing money at a problem is the only way to get things done in Albany. That wasn’t the case for these two ridesharing CEOs. Uber and Lyft spent nearly $1 million this year to lobby for legislation that would have allowed them to expand to upstate New York, but the bill stalled. So here’s to another year of Albany’s notoriously unreliable taxis.
Terry MacRae – MacRae’s Hornblower ferry company has sailed into rough waters, with the city Department of Investigation probing whether the company hired questionable companies that use aggressive and deceptive ticket-selling tactics. Mayor Bill de Blasio threw out a lifeline, coming to the defense of the company charged with implementing his citywide ferry expansion plan. But for MacRae, the probe is nothing to blow his horn about.
Howard Zucker – Blame the market, but it’s no fun dumping Friday afternoon news that the individual payers in the state health insurance exchange are going to see an average 17 percent price increase next year. New York’s medical marijuana merchants aren’t doing so well either, hamstrung by the state’s strict regulations. At least Zucker’s Department of Health is kind to the dead — last year the state made Medicaid payments to 1,290 dearly departed New Yorkers.