The holiday season is in full swing and we couldn’t be happier. Congress may send $60 billion in Hurricane Sandy aid to the New York region, which means we better start knitting a bigger stocking. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants to make a list requiring nonprofits to report which percentage of their expenditures go toward electioneering, and then check it twice. And Mayor Michael Bloomberg lit the world’s largest menorah and hosted a bevy of parties at Gracie Mansion, including one for New York’s very own Saint Nick—Ed Koch. This week, we’ve also been keeping track of who’s been naughty or nice, or at least, who’s leaving prison and heading there in a couple of weeks. Ho, ho, ho, here are your winners and losers.
Bill de Blasio – It isn’t every day that you’re confronted by questions about how your wife used to be a lesbian, and in the case of de Blasio, the revelation certainly was surprising. Whatever impact the news has on the mayoral race, the coverage in the Post – including a cartoon depicting the couple in bed, and a columnist accusing them of being dishonest – prompted the other mayoral candidates and others to rush to the defense of de Blasio and his family. As for the Public Advocate, he got to run the media circuit, bringing much-needed attention to his campaign, in the same week that Alec Baldwin endorsed him and Steve Buscemi threw his a fundraiser. In all, a bounce for BdB.
Terry Gipson – Not that it has any effect on the balance of power in the state Senate, thanks to the GOP-IDC coalition known as “Skleinos”, but Sen. Stephen Saland finally conceded defeat to his Democratic challenger this week. Gipson, a business owner and trustee of the Rhinebeck Village Board, had long been seen as the likely winner, thanks in part to a third candidate who ran on the Conservative line, but now he can finally savor his victory.
Alan Hevesi - The former state comptroller is home again after serving 20 months in prison. Hevesi became embroiled in a pay-to-play scandal involving the state’s pension funds earning him a maximum sentence of four years at the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Syracuse. He became fast friends with former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski and hip-hop artist Ja Rule, who nicknamed Hevesi “Hevey D.” But he won his bid for parole and returned home to Queens with his son, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, just in time for the holidays. No word yet whether he’ll cut an album with Ja Rule when the rapper gets released in February.
Ed Koch - The former mayor was back in the hospital last week, but by Monday he had been discharged after receiving treatment for an infection. Two days later he was in Gracie Mansion celebrating his 88th birthday with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former Sen. Al D’Amato and scores of close famous friends. He even got to peak at a trailer of the forthcoming biopic documentary, Koch. Now all they need to do is name a bridge after him. Wait a minute.
Eric Schneiderman – The AG, never one to bypass an opportunity for good press, beat Cuomo to the punch in proposing new campaign finance reform regulations that would require non-profits to disclose political spending on state and local races, beginning next year. What made Schneiderman’s proposal all the more interesting is the fact that he got out in front of the issue (Cuomo said he wanted to go further than the AG’s proposal a few hours later) by using the power of his office as the state’s top regulator of charitable organizations, meaning he can introduce these new rules without legislation. And it had to irk Cuomo to appear to be behind the 8-ball on one of his stated legislative priorities.
Joe Bruno – The saga continues. Eight years into the government’s pursuit of Bruno, the former state Senate majority leader had moved to get his corruption case dismissed on the grounds that his latest indictment amounts to double jeopardy—his previous conviction was vacated following a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court—but this week Chief U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe rejected that argument, thus setting the stage for a second trial for the 83-year-old Bruno some time in 2013.
Neil Di Carlo – When did we return to the McCarthy era? After Terry Gipson finally pulled out his long contested Senate contest against Stephen Saland, Di Carlo, the Conservative third-party candidate in the race, released a statement labeling Gipson a “neo-marxist” and said that Gipson’s victory “will be corrected in 2014” by none other than Di Carlo. In his vituperative diatribe, Di Carlo also said voters rejected Saland for his vote on marriage equality “[d]espite the enormous money poured into his campaign by Mayor Mike Bloomberg and other radical homosexualists.” Classy, Neil.
Jeff Klein – Klein’s had a roller-coaster month on the winner-loser spectrum. After riding high for a few weeks thanks to his newly minted leadership post in the state Senate, the co-Senate temporary president was slapped this week with a report that he accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from an illicit donor. One of the donors, Cava Construction, Inc., who has given Klein $27,500 since 2005, came under fire when the president of the company, Carmine Della Cava, was convicted of a bid-rigging scheme in the ‘90s. Della Cava allegedly was also identified as a representative of the Genovese crime family to an organized crime commission that controlled concrete contracts for high-rise construction in Manhattan. Klein said he would donate all of Della Cava’s donations to charity, but you know what they say about the company you keep…
Hiram Monserrate – Out goes Hevesi, in goes Monserrate. The former lawmaker and former police officer was sentenced to two years in prison after he pleaded guilty to wire fraud and mail fraud charges in May. Monserrate steered $300,000 in Council slush fund money to a nonprofit group he controlled, and then moved $100,000 from that to his own Senate campaign fund. We’d say it’s not his best moment, but the Democratic former senator was once called a traitor for aligning with Republicans and engineering a coup, convicted of assaulting his girlfriend with a glass bottle, expelled from the Senate and reduced to serving up slices at a pizza shop. So, take your pick.
Dennis Walcott – Walcott just can’t win. First, the city Department of Education received the unfortunate news that they lost out on $40 million in federal “Race to the Top” funding thanks in part to losing points for not disclosing school-workers salaries and providing incomplete information on helping high school students make up credits. Then, in the DOE’s latest episode of epic screw-ups, it mistakenly posted the evaluation scores of many public school teachers on the agency’s internal website—information that was meant to be confidential—infuriating the teachers union. Dennis, you’ve had a bad stretch, but at least Bloomberg’s been calling for teacher data to be made public. Nothing like making the boss happy.
Tags: Al D’Amato, Alan Hevesi, Alec Baldwin, Andrew Cuomo, Bill De Blasio, Carmine Della Cava, Cava Construction, Christine Quinn, Dennis Kozlowski, Dennis Walcott, Department of Education, Ed Koch, Eric Schneiderman, Gary Sharpe, Genovese crime family, Hevey D, Hiram Monseratte, ja rule, Jeff Klein, Joe Bruno, Michael Bloomberg, Neil Di Carlo, Stephen Saland, Steve Buscemi, Teachers Union, Terry Gipson