Winners & Losers 10/06/17
Is anyone a winner in the debate over Christopher Columbus and his proper place in New York City? Will New York taxpayers end up as bigger losers than they already are? Those are questions we couldn’t answer, but we do know who made the list of this week’s Winners & Losers.
Cynthia Brann – The acting commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction can drop that first word from her title, now that Mayor Bill de Blasio has made her the permanent replacement to Joseph Ponte. It wasn’t the course correction that a leading advocate and a top union official wanted, but sources had told City & State months ago that she is “competent, knowledgeable and seasoned” and was “already holding people accountable.” Apparently Hizzoner thought so, too.
Michael Grimm – The pugnacious politician is out of prison, and he’s looking to go from lawbreaker and back to lawmaker. Will he threaten to throw Staten Island’s current congressman, fellow Republican Dan Donovan, off a balcony? Will he pay his taxes while weighing in on tax policy? Whatever the case, this week he got a major boost when Steve Bannon took his side in this fight. If this were a movie, you could call it Grimm and Grimmer.
John Hurley – SUNY and CUNY are getting good press for offering free tuition through the Excelsior Scholarship, but Canisius College President John Hurley proves that private colleges can also do the right thing. He announced this week that his college would dramatically lower tuition for the 2018-19 school year by 23 percent. While this is an admirable change, the parents of this year’s freshmen probably wish the announcement came in time for the current term.
Christopher Marte – First, he nearly knocked New York City Councilwoman Margaret Chin out of office with unexpectedly strong support in the Democratic primary. Now he’s set to run against her again in the general election on the Independence Party line. And all it took was five write-in votes to set up a rematch following what was one of the closest City Council races in September.
Vincent Sapienza – Vincent Sapienza has worked for the New York City Department of Environment Protection for decades, which is appropriate, since that’s the kind of timeline that most of the agency’s projects are on. So running the place as acting commissioner for months before finally getting the permanent gig probably didn’t faze him. After all, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s the fifth mayor Sapienza’s worked under, and there’s a good shot he outlasts this administration, too.
Sal Albanese – In the primaries, Sal Albanese raised enough money to qualify for the New York City mayoral debates, while several other Dems were left out. Now that he’s continuing his bid on the Reform Party line, he hasn’t met the new criteria and he hasn’t been invited, which of course he’s complaining isn’t fair. Maybe the Campaign Finance Board will try to deflect criticism by deferring once again to the debate sponsors.
Stanley Brezenoff – The interim president of NYC Health + Hospitals is caught between a rock and a hard place – Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Brezenoff sent a letter to the state on Friday asking for an additional $380 million owed to the city’s public hospital system, without which they will run out of funding in two weeks. De Blasio called Cuomo’s decision to withhold the funding “not normal.” As an insult from de Blasio is a good way to get Cuomo to double down, the funding has not been received, and Brezenoff is in the crossfire.
Steve Croman – The poster boy for bad landlords in New York City finally had his past catch up with him, as he was sentenced this week to a year behind bars at Rikers Island. Croman, who was found guilty of tax and loan fraud, had also earned the enmity of tenants who were aggressively priced out of his buildings. Now Croman knows what it’s like to lose one’s sense of security, too.
Rolfe Porter – The Niagara Falls Water Board’s bid to make the falls and whirlpool into an infamous dump and flush operation stole headlines again for discharging 20 million gallons of raw sewage-infused stormwater into the world famous tourist attraction. DEC lashed out at Rolfe’s board in a statement, saying the “continued violations are wholly unacceptable.” The board responded that it has “no way of controlling for color or turbidity with respect to the overflow water during a wet weather event.” Or in layman’s terms: ¯\_(?)_/¯.
Cy Vance Jr. – Sigh … it looks like the Manhattan DA reportedly let Trump children Donny and Ivanka off a possible fraud indictment, overruling his own prosecutors after a May 16, 2012, meeting with President Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz. Vance defended the decision: “I think I made the right call.” But after recent questions from reporters, last week Vance returned a $32,000 contribution from Kasowitz. Would you call that reasonable suspicion, counselor?