Winners & Losers 9/1/17
There’s a certain style that we call “politician storm chic.” De Blasio’s gotten into it with a personalized Department of Sanitation jacket, but the real Storm King of New York is Andrew Cuomo, who rocks oversized polos in the summer and jackets in the fall. But even he was upstaged this week by FLOTUS Melania, who jetted off to Hurricane Harvey in heels. Think we’re joking about a serious topic? We’ll see who’s laughing when the famously competitive Cuomo tries to tow a car in blue and yellow three-inch heels.
Adrienne Adams & Peter Koo – Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not yet deigned to offer his support for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in the Democratic primary, but he is making time for a few select City Council candidates. The governor bestowed his endorsement upon Adams, who is running to replace the disgraced Ruben Wills in the 28th City Council District, and Koo, who is being challenged in the primary for the 20th District.
David Dinkins – The former mayor’s gift to New York City keeps on giving, as the U.S. Open just set a new opening day attendance record. Despite cries from his baseball-loving successor Rudy Giuliani, Dinkins negotiated a long-term lease in the waning days of his mayoralty to keep the event in Queens. No matter who wins on the court, the city is rolling in the green, with an economic impact of almost $1 billion.
Rafael Espinal – They were all popular enough to earn votes, but you've got to admit that most New York City Council members weren't sitting at the cool lunch table in high school – they were too busy at debate club, or Model U.N. So hopefully Espinal's newfound street cred will rub off on the rest of us after the council officially passed his nightlife legislation, soon kicking off the search for a night mayor of New York City. Which means we're getting closer to the first full-time legislator, part-time DJ.
Srini Penumella – Sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Penumella’s New Jersey-based Spruce Technology Inc. raked in $6.1 million city contracts this past year, according to the New York Post. But the influx came after Hilltop Public Solutions – which has close ties to de Blasio – reached out to City Hall on the company’s behalf. We’ll reserve judgment until we read the mayor’s long-awaited op-ed explaining how his supporters don’t actually get favorable treatment.
Steve Sigmund – With the Common Core educational standards on the way out and the Next Generation Learning Standards on the way in, the big question now is whether the opt-out movement will fizzle out. While many parents are still unhappy with the state’s standardized tests, there’s new evidence that more students are opting in. And that’s a win for Sigmund’s High Achievement New York, which is behind a campaign to “say yes to the test.”
Chris Collins – The Western New York congressman was re-elected captain of a sinking ship, remaining on the board of directors of a failing biotech company that lost him $17 million when its star drug failed in clinical trials. But now the investigation into his possible conflict of interest and insider trading is heating up, with the House Committee on Ethics confirming the Republican could be in hot water.
Ted Cruz – First he blasted a relief package in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Then he took a cheap shot with his remark about “New York values.” So when the Texas senator found himself facing a natural disaster in his own backyard, it’s no surprise that fellow Republicans like Rep. Peter King of New York and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took the opportunity to point out that Cruz is the kind of guy who plays politics while people suffer.
Richard Luthmann – The race for the 62nd Assembly District on Staten Island last fall was notably nasty, with devious and underhanded tactics deployed on both sides. But the scoop by NY1 that Luthmann, a local lawyer, had allegedly set up a fake Facebook page to undermine one of the candidates looks like it goes beyond low-level dirty trickery. Now it’ll be up to a special prosecutor to determine whether Luthmann broke the law.
Sarah Palin – A federal judge dismissed Palin’s lawsuit against The New York Times for defamation, saying that she failed to prove the paper had shown “actual malice” in publishing false statements in an editorial before quickly correcting them. Judge Jed Rakoff noted in his decision that freedom of speech meant “mistakes will be made, some of which will be hurtful to others.” Unfortunately for the former VP candidate, those hurtful mistakes won’t result in financial compensation.
Ed Walsh – After the former Suffolk County Conservative Party leader was convicted in March of wire fraud and theft of government services, his lawyers argued that he deserved another trial. But a federal judge on Long Island didn’t agree – Walsh not only wasn’t given a new trial, but will have to serve his sentence of two years in prison and pay a fine of $200,000 in restitution. Turns out stealing money from the government while you play golf and gamble occasionally has consequences.