Just when you thought Albany couldn’t get any more disgusting, Vito Lopez’s ethics-bending sexual harassment report became public. The findings eviscerate Lopez for his lecherous behavior toward eight former staff members and taint Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as his enabler. The report’s slimy details made us so uncomfortable that we’ll go take another shower while you take a look at our winners and losers.
Ray Halbritter – The Oneida Nation’s representative extolled this week’s catchall agreement between his people, the state and two county governments—even likening it to the tribe’s alliance with the colonies during the American Revolution—and it wasn’t all hyperbole. The remarkable agreement resolves what seemed like intractable disputes over cigarette prices, property taxes and Indian land rights, making winners of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and local leaders in Oneida and Madison counties in addition to Halbritter. Plus, the Oneidas get exclusive casino rights in central New York, even if gambling legislation in the works doesn’t pass. Jackpot!
Ralph Izzo – The governor scaled back his privatization push for the Long Island Power Authority, but the proposal he’s peddling now still looks like a profitable deal for the Public Service Enterprise Group, the private utility poised to get a bigger contract than it initially signed up for. And that means more profits for Izzo and his company, even if there are questions about whether it will help electricity customers in the long run. Now just keep your fingers crossed and hope that the PSEG provides better service to the public than LIPA did.
Danny Kedem – Danny who? That was the collective reaction to Anthony Weiner’s pick as campaign manager for his potential mayoral run, a staffer whose only experience running a mayoral campaign was in New Haven, Conn. Tapping Kedem reinforces rumors that the former congressman is having a hard time staffing up for a City Hall run, as Weiner was reportedly turned down by several more established names before settling on a guy who previously ran Mike Murphy’s failed congressional bid against Rep. Michael Grimm. Still, Weiner would be no slouch in the race, and Kedem could find his candidate dominating the headlines.
Charles Schumer – In a big week for losers, one of the biggest was President Obama, who was slammed with the triple whammy of Benghazi, the IRS targeting and the Associated Press spying scandal. But one person’s loss is another’s victory, and in the case of the AP, the senior U.S. senator from New York came out looking ahead of the curve from a good government standpoint when the President called Schumer to ask that he reintroduce his federal shield law legislation to better protect the press. In the AP case the law might not have been enough to safeguard the targeted journalists, but at least they likely would have been notified that the government was snooping into their records.
Bill Thompson – Thompson continues to pick up steam in the mayor’s race, building on last week’s momentum by rolling out more big-name endorsements and reporting a $600,000 in the latest filing period—the highest of any candidate. The backing of southeast Queens power broker Rev. Floyd Flake and former GOP Sen. Alfonse D’Amato proved his appeal beyond his base and established Thompson as more than a “minority” candidate. If he can fend off a potential challenge from a certain former congressman, Thompson can position himself as a solid alternative to Christine Quinn come September.
Charles Hynes – What has been done cannot be undone, but the Brooklyn DA’s office is hard at work disproving that maxim. First, Hynes & Co. announced a review of 50 murder cases investigated by Detective Louis Scarcella, after spending years aggressively disputing the appeals of inmates who claim Scarcella framed them. Then it came out that several employees in the medical examiner’s office stepped down because of potentially botched testing—which could call into questions several cases in Brooklyn and the Bronx involving DNA. Hynes might still cruise to re-election, but with his office in turmoil, why after 23 years does the star of “Brooklyn D.A.” still want the job?
Vito Lopez – The state Legislature has been rife with embezzlement, bribery, conspiracy schemes and petty theft in recent months… but this? The assemblyman’s abusive megalomania was on full display when a state ethics panel released a report with all the lurid details: Lopez allegedly asking frightened female staff members to massage his hands, neck and armpits repeatedly, scratching one employee’s inner thigh with his fingernail after he tried to grope her crotch, giving another employee pink eye and standing outside another’s hotel room expecting her to invite him in. That he escaped criminal prosecution is baffling, but a movement to oust him from the Legislature could gain steam next week.
Ed Mangano – The Nassau County Executive was subpoenaed this week by the state attorney general in an investigation into the awarding of Sandy debris-removal contracts. His office downplayed the news and affirmed their “cooperation,” but a follow-up report alleged that Mangano received $144,000 in campaign donations from contractors who did emergency post-Sandy cleanup. Pay-for-play in an election year would not look good for Mangano, who might face his predecessor, Thomas Suozzi, in the general election.
Tags: Anthony Weiner, Ben Kallos, Bill Thompson, Brooklyn D.A., Charles Hynes, Charles Schumer, Chuck Schumer, danny kedem, Ed Mangano, LIPA, Long Island Power Authority, Oneida Nation, pedro alvarez, ralph izzo, Ray Halbritter, Sheldon Silver, Shelly Silver, Thomas Suozzi, Vito Lopez