Winners & Losers 4/14/17
The Yankees home opener came and went on Monday and Mayor Bill de Blasio was nowhere to be seen. A noted Red Sox fan scared to show his face? No, our Fearless Boy Mayor was facing down an even scarier bull: Staten Islanders. Courage is necessary in politics, so read on to see who stood up this week and who ducked out.
Bernadette Crowley, Margaret Crowley & Gregory Gina – Once again, there’s crowing about Queens Democratic Party boss Joe Crowley’s family being treated like royalty at the borough courthouse. Margaret Crowley, Joe’s cousin, left her post at the Supreme Court in 2015. And with anti-nepotism restrictions no longer restricting them, Margaret, her sister Bernadette and her brother-in-law Gregory Gina have been picking up lucrative appointments from judges.
Mario Cilento – Organized labor may not have an ally in Donald Trump, but unions do have a friend in Gov. Andrew Cuomo. One of the little-noticed goodies in the state budget was a measure that makes union dues fully tax deductible. The $35 million program will amount to only about $67 in average savings, but state AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento was happy for the help.
Andrew Cuomo – When he announced his free tuition proposal for students at CUNY and SUNY, Bernie Sanders stood alongside him. Now that the proposal has gone through, Hillary Clinton joined him at a ceremonial bill signing. To keep the parade of past presidential contenders going, will Martin O’Malley to show up to celebrate the first student to benefit from the new scholarship program?
Jeff Kirby – The governor has a history of vetoing a measure long been sought by farmers: a tax incentive for donating produce to New York food banks. Kirby, the executive director of the New York Farm Bureau, had pushed for the tax credit, which is capped at $5,000 a year – and it had apparently grown on Cuomo, who supported it this year. Of course, the most important beneficiaries are the hungry and needy.
Patrick Lynch – The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association's president has been uncharacteristically quiet this budget season, and for good reason. The state budget deal approved newer, higher disability benefits for rookie cops, formally ending a longstanding feud between City Hall and Lynch, who had spent months describing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s disability benefits proposal as an “insult.”
Alec Brook-Krasny – After resigning from the Assembly in 2015, Brook-Krasny made a quick transition from lawmaker to alleged lawbreaker. The South Brooklynite was indicted Friday with a dozen others for his connection to a Brooklyn “pill mill” that wrote bogus prescriptions and flooded opioids into the market. How rich, from a man who accused other legislators of lawbreaking as he walked out on his constituents for the private sector.
Arturo Di Modica – The sculptor of the famous Wall Street “Charging Bull” is upset over the “Fearless Girl” statue that is creating a sensation by confronting his creation – or “attacking” it, to use Di Modica’s words. However, finding fault in art that empowers women doesn’t speak well to his artistic outlook. Just ask the tourists who have visited her.
Kevin Parker – Politicians are supposed to lead in example when it comes to following the law. This Brooklyn state senator has his own view. Parker owes $50,000 in property taxes and water bills, which he defended by saying he had inherited the debts and was paying them off. The state senator’s other response? “I need a raise.”
Joe Ricketts – The billionaire TD Ameritrade founder appears to have bankrolled DNAinfo on a whim, but the now-joint venture with Gothamist has taken an interesting turn. A company exec tried to dissuade staffers from unionizing by suggesting it could be the “final straw” that forces the news sites to close. But the employees “overwhelmingly” signed cards agreeing to be represented by the Writers Guild of America East.
Howard Zucker – Is the state Department of Health trying to duck a court order? A Brooklyn federal judge accused Zucker’s department of conspiring with troubled for-profit group home operators to keep mentally ill New Yorkers in their care. The DOH and state Attorney General’s office denied any sort of a conspiracy, but the decade-old case about substandard care for the state’s most vulnerable already looks pretty messy.