Winners & Losers 6/9/17
What a difference a week can make. Last Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito were all smiles, thanks to a budget handshake agreement – the earliest since 1992! But in recent days, the two allies have been at odds, squabbling over funding to defend immigrants and what exactly Oscar López Rivera will be doing at Sunday's National Puerto Rican Day Parade. We’re not sure who’s winning that internecine dispute, so let’s turn to this week’s Winners & Losers.
Tony Avella – The state Court of Appeals this week effectively killed the New York Mets mega mall, a project long opposed by the Queens state senator, who thought building the multiuse development in the Citi Field parking lot was akin to theft of public land. And as a bonus for the noted machete hater, the state Senate passed a bill banning the sale of the heavy blades to minors.
Rudy Giuliani – Gold, nuclear weapons, international political intrigue? Sounds like a Tom Clancy novel, but to Giuliani, it’s just another day in the office. The ex-mayor has recently been cleared by a federal judge to represent Turkish businessman and gold trader Reza Zarrab, who’s currently being held on charges related to an alleged scheme to bypass U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.
James O’Neill – New York's finest continues to live up to their name as the NYPD commissioner announced that major crimes decreased by 7.6 percent over the past 12 months. Topping last month's record-breaking stats, New York City has become one of the safest major cities in the nation. As de Blasio proudly stated, O’Neill and his department “truly set the gold standard in crime fighting for police departments around the country.”
Amy Peterson – New York City’s Build it Back director has been on our list before, but this may be the first time she has landed on the winners' side. Peterson’s program has built back almost three-quarters of the homes destroyed by Superstorm Sandy and is making progress despite some homeowners dropping out. Of course, it’s taken some time for the Build it Back program to build momentum.
Andrew Zaro – Anybody can get U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer to show up at a commencement, but getting the governor takes some connections. For those wondering why Gov. Andrew Cuomo chose a small, Upper West Side private school attended by Barron Trump for a private speech, the answer just might be its chairman of the board: financier Zaro, whose family has donated about $100,000 to Cuomo since 2010.
Bo Dietl – It doesn’t matter anymore that the P.I. without a political party can't even vote for himself in the New York City mayoral primary since he has officially been denied a spot on the Republican ballot, so can you blame the Reform Party for not endorsing him? But blame, Dietl did, texting Reform Party head Frank Morano, “F--k you, pussy.” Dietl, who also consults for a company under federal investigation for stock fraud, is now so thirsty for good publicity that he apparently had his own fans pinch hit for the press.
Steven Croman – The widely reviled New York City landlord has been described as “predatory,” a “fraudster,” and the “Bernie Madoff of landlords.” This week, after pleading guilty to several felony charges involving financial fraud, he can add “convicted felon” to the list. His tenants finally got the closure they deserved, as Croman will serve a year at Rikers and has to cough up $5 million in the settlement with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Carmen Fariña – Despite its incredible diversity, New York City continues to struggle integrating its public schools. Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña has deemed it a major priority. On Tuesday, however, her long-awaited plan to address this issue landed “with a whimper” and was derided as “a tepid, belated effort.” Some observers were more upbeat, but there’s a sense that Fariña simply didn’t do her homework.
John Faso – Many Republican lawmakers are balancing their support for President Donald Trump in Washington with protecting themeselves at home. The first-term Faso already faced a balancing act in the 19th Congressional District, but now everybody’s piling on, from Cuomo to a growing crowd of opponents lining up to challenge him. And it doesn’t help that he’s also the type of man who repeatedly interrupts women.
Evgeny Freidman – The “Taxi King” is striving in vain to defend his imperilled realm. Uber, Freidman’s mortal foe, has conquered New York City and is advancing beyond the five boroughs. He has been assailed by slings and arrows on all sides. Freidman's latest misfortune is a charge of thievery, which could finally topple Freidman from his throne.