Winners & Losers 6/30/17
It feels wrong to denigrate the dead, but we have to note the poor, late guv whose name was unceremoniously shorn off the Governor Malcolm Wilson–Tappan Zee Bridge by legislators who were trying to Tappan to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ego by naming the new Hudson-spanning bridge after his late father, Gov. Mario Cuomo. But have no fear, Tappan Zee loyalists – an official name is often just a formality. Just ask Koch, Carey or RFK.
Carmen Fariña – It turns out that the New York City schools chancellor gets to keep her job after all – at least for the next two years. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fariña insisted that extending mayoral control is absolutely critical to New York City’s schools and its 1.1 million students, and on Thursday they got their wish – for twice as long as the last extension, and without even having to allow for any more of those pesky charter schools.
Jeff Gural – There were no deals on ethics reforms, greater oversight of the state's procurement process, or making it easier for child sexual assault victims to sue their attackers, but the state Legislature DID scrape together $2 million to prop up a small upstate casino owned by Gural. After protesting loudly about the casino siting process, getting the state to reopen bidding and then winning a license for full-fledged gambling at another casino last year, the businessman is earning a reputation for getting things done in Albany – at least for himself.
Nicole Malliotakis – On Wednesday, Republican Paul Massey dropped out of the New York City mayor’s race, leaving Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis as the GOP’s last, best hope of toppling Bill de Blasio. With the possibility of a contentious primary out of the way, the Staten Islander is in a prime position to galvanize GOP support around her campaign. The mayor has been officially put on notice.
Rob Ortt – The Republican state senator's felony corruption charges were dismissed since there was “no valid line of reasoning … which could lead to a rational grand jury” to indict him, the judge ruled. The charges included boosting his pay through a no-show job for his wife, Meghan Ortt, a graphic designer. Some say that the accusations were a political power play by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman – including Ortt, who called the prosecutor ”a power hungry, political opportunist.”
Lynne Patton – After the Daily News first reported that Patton, an event planner and Trump family friend, was named to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Region II, officials denied it. But Patton was indeed appointed by President Donald Trump late last week despite the naysayers – and a complete lack of experience or qualifications in dealing with housing issues. Whether it’s a win for New York remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a promotion for the woman perhaps known best for planning Eric Trump’s wedding.
Bill de Blasio & Andrew Cuomo – “For me it would be, generally speaking, important to be there,” said Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio back in 2013, tweaking Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s absence at the site of a Bronx Metro-North derailment. But after 39 of his constituents were injured in an A train derailment Tuesday, de Blasio never showed up. A missed opportunity to upstage Cuomo who, despite controlling the MTA, also declined to show up in a hard hat.
Chris Collins – As the largest shareholder in the Australian company Innate Immunotherapeutics, Chris Collins lost $17 million when the firm’s stock value plummeted after an unsuccessful clinical trial this week. Collins, who is currently under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics for possible insider trading, was already under scrutiny for his relationship to the company, as he recommended fellow lawmakers invest in the company. After taking a hit to his reputation, now his wallet has taken a hit.
Joe Lhota – Joe Lhota admitted in an interview that he was hesitant to return as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and it’s not hard to see why. Just when he was starting the job, a subway derailment in Harlem injured 39 people and caused severe delays. The accident, which the MTA said was caused by human error, only adds to the saga that has revolved around the MTA for months now.
Paul Massey – Republican Paul Massey has dropped out of the New York City mayoral race. Massey, a real estate executive, cited the “extraordinary” cost of running as the reason for his sudden withdrawal. The move comes as a surprise considering Massey had participated in a mayoral forum only hours before the announcement and has far outraised opponent Nicole Malliotakis and already spent over $5 million on the campaign.
John Venditto – Talk about a double whammy. The former Oyster Bay supervisor, who was indicted in late 2016 for federal corruption charges, is now being accused of state-level crimes, including alleged bribery and corruption in the town government. Surrendering to the 40-count indictment are seven others, including officials in the Oyster Bay government and the owners of a paving company, Elia and Marisa Lizza.