Springtime arrived across the state, bringing with it radiant sunlight, tulips in full bloom, the calming buzz of honeybees and a publishing war between the governor and perhaps his fiercest critic. Cuomo’s newly announced memoir, which he vowed to write himself, will trump Fred Dicker’s deal for a book that the columnist hoped to write with the governor. They say history is written by winners, so here are our Winners and Losers:
Can’t get enough of our winners and losers? Tune in to the “The Capitol Pressroom” on Friday at 11:05 a.m. to hear about our weekly picks.
Andrew Cuomo – The governor is writing his own chapter for the rest of the legislative session. At a cabinet meeting this week he laid out plans to bring campaign finance reform, public ethics, women’s equality and possibly casino gambling to a vote in the Capitol before the end of June while also restructuring the Long Island Power Authority and setting up a task force to address the fiscal crises of municipalities. Cuomo is also literally writing his own chapters in a book deal announced this week. This is a man who is in control right now—unless Hillary decides to run.
George Gresham – The public outcry over the planned closure of Long Island College Hospital had its intended effect, prompting SUNY Downstate officials to withdraw plans to shut down the Brooklyn medical facility. The hospital is still in critical condition, as something will have to be done to stanch the hemorrhaging of revenue, but for now it’s back on life support, thanks to Gresham and his powerful 1199 SEIU labor union, which represents many hospital workers there, along with a coalition of nurses, doctors and local elected officials.
Thomas Richards – The mayor of Rochester saved the day with his spidey sense. Richards helped lure a Spider-Man sequel to Snapshot City and the film began shooting this week to the delight of local caterers and 200 union workers. No longer will Buffalo’s little sister be known only as the home of Genesee Cream Ale, Big and Tall luxury shops and photocopying. Now you can add arachnid-induced superpowers and Emma Stone to the mix as well.
Anthony Weiner – The former congressman seems to be alternating between good and bad weeks, depending on his behavior toward the media and the dirt that the media digs up. This week his business acumen was touted in a report that revealed exactly how he has made ends meet since resigning. Turns out he turned himself into a swaggering business consultant, declaring that he’s a “good capitalist” and reporting that he and his wife have took home nearly half a million bucks in combined income in 2012, reinforcing the notion that even disgraced politicians can have nice second careers.
Ken Adams – Last year a top Cuomo administration official blasted the Empire State Development Corp. as “disjointed” and “dysfunctional.” Maybe hiring staff for the economic development agency based on competence and experience—instead of patronage—could get ESDC running more like a business. Nearly a third of the hires in Cuomo’s first 20 months in office had political or social ties to the governor, the Times reported this week, including Adams, the agency’s president. Or ESDC could respond with another ad campaign glossing over any details that don’t fit the Cuomo narrative.
Dan Donovan – Well, this is embarrassing. The Staten Island DA hoped to keep a state ethics report about Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s sexual lapses under wraps while he continues to investigate the lawmaker. But the Joint Commission on Public Ethics brushed off that request and announced it would release its findings by May 21. The report could be a juicy one, filled with details about how Lopez groped and harassed his female staff, including a teenage intern, and might even have repercussions for the Assembly leadership. But this doesn’t help Donovan, and could hurt his chances of bringing a criminal case against Lopez.
David Greenfield – The Brooklyn councilman had been getting plenty of good press from a news outlet called Yeshiva World News, and any slant in the coverage could have been chalked up to the idiosyncrasies of the Orthodox Jewish media, where publishers tend to take sides. But a former Greenfield staffer and another source told City & State that the councilman secretly helped to craft the positive YWN coverage about himself, published under the byline “Dov Gordon.” Greenfield’s office dismissed the story as a “vicious lie”–and then compared him to the Clintons (with their “Vince Foster nuts”) and President Obama (with his “crazy birthers”).
Dan Halloran - Halloran officially decided against running for another term in the City Council, and we’re gonna go out on a limb and say that was a wise move. Halloran has had a rough month, having been indicted for corruption in the Malcolm Smith scandal and having alleged flings with a young intern and a young staffer exposed, which Council Speaker Christine Quinn vowed to investigate. Halloran had an interesting run in the Council, with his colorful personality and unique religious beliefs, but it’s time for him to focus on not becoming the latest politician-turned-inmate.
Xing Wu Pan and Jia Hou - Pan and Hou were found guilty of crimes for their involvement in an illegal straw-donor scheme to raise money for New York City Comptroller John Liu’s mayoral campaign. While Pan and Hou obviously suffer the brunt of the consequences as they face a long stretch in prison, the verdict deals a potentially devastating blow to Liu’s mayoral ambitions. His two former associates essentially served as his proxies during the trial, as the prosecution attempted to portray Liu as negligent at best and complicit at worst with regard to the fundraising scheme.
Tags: Andrew Cuomo, Anthony Weiner, Christine Quinn, Dan Donovan, Dan Halloran, David Greenfield, empire state development corporation, ESDC, George Gresham, JCOPE, Jia Hou, John Liu, Ken Adams, Malcolm Smith, Spider-Man, Thomas Richards, Vito Lopez, Xing Wu Pan, Yeshiva World News