This week's biggest Winners & Losers

This week's biggest Winners & Losers

Who's up and who's down this week?
January 16, 2020

New York’s the fairest big city in America … it’s just more fair to the ones who complain on “The Brian Lehrer Show.” The latest recipient of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fairness was Neir’s Tavern, purportedly the oldest bar in New York City that was nonetheless being forced to close by a rent hike. Luckily, the froth-swilling mayor and his government came to the rescue. If only they could do the same for another storied Queens institution, the Mets…

Winners: 
Tony Abboud

New York may yet live to vape another day. A state Supreme Court justice struck down New York’s emergency ban on flavored e-cigarettes following an outbreak in vaping related illnesses and concern that the flavored variety of e-cigarettes hooks teens. The judge ruled that the state overstepped its authority with the emergency ban, and while New York is far from alone in moving to ban flavored e-cigarettes, Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association, which challenged the New York ban in court, can at least celebrate this one victory.

Eric Adams

After a mayor who angers the city with his controversial bagel orders, it seems a whole lot of New Yorkers are ready for a mayor who’s more of the kale smoothie type. In the latest campaign finance filing, Adams outraised the 2021 field (and especially the woeful Ruben Diaz Jr.), bringing in more than $400,000 in six months. Yes, the election is 17 months away, but the Beep is making some noise. Now if only he could erase some past statements…

Steve Bellone

After eight years in office, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is finally giving himself a raise. Because the county’s economy was in dire straits when he took office in 2012, Bellone kept his wages at a measly $187,000 a year, even though legally he could have been making much more. Suffolk still has $2 billion in debt, but Bellone said that the financial situation has improved enough that he could take a $35,000 pay bump to $222,124 a year. He still wants to “lead by example” by accepting a pay cut, though – legally, he could be making $10,000 more.

Rodneyse Bichotte

The ambitious assemblywoman is all but guaranteed to be the next chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, but she’s not your father’s – and certainly not your grandfather’s – party boss. For one thing, she’ll be the first woman in the role. For another thing, she’ll be only the second black politician to the lead the county organization. Here’s hoping that she bucks history in another way – avoiding the scandals that tarnished most of herpredecessors as party boss

Tim Kennedy & Bill Magnarelli

It’s been a long time coming, but after the 2018 limousine crash that killed 20 people outside of Schoharie, the state has at last finalized a package of bills to improve limousine safety. Led in the state Legislature by Senate and Assembly transportation committee chairs Tim Kennedy and William Magnarelli, the effort originally took a back seat last session. This week, Cuomo and the Legislature officially reached a deal. Better late than never.

Losers: 
Shoshanah Bewlay

Nothing indicates a commitment to transparency like hiring a top open government official – with a history of rejecting open records requests – in the shrouds of darkness. The governor's team kept news of Shoshanah Bewlay's hiring hidden, even from her future colleagues. She's a step up from her predecessor, who resigned after an investigation found he had sexually harassed female colleagues and journalists. But many are worried this poor start means dark clouds are on the horizon for those looking to shed a little sunlight on state government.

Michael Bloomberg

The former New York City mayor is spending more than $100 million trying to craft a certain image for voters. But Bloomberg the man hasn’t always lived up to those standards. His company violated the same paid family leave laws he is championing on the campaign trail. He claims to support equal rights, but won’t release women from the non-disclosure agreements they signed to settle lawsuits alleging a hostile work environment at his company. Considering all the money he is spending, what sort of presidency is he really looking to buy?

Evgeny Freidman

The once mighty "Taxi King" also reigns as New York's top tax delinquent, owing more than more than $18.6 million to the state. It's on-brand for Evgeny Freidman, who earned his reputation for manipulating taxi medallion prices and has been trailed by a sea of legal scandals. Though his kingly status has certainly waned over time, you'd think he could at least pay some of those taxes with the $525 million he amassed from his medallion scheme.

Nick Langworthy

The GOP state chairman conceded defeat this week in a lawsuit that aimed to make Gov. Andrew Cuomo schedule a special election to fill the Western New York congressional seat vacated by former GOP Rep. Chris Collins sooner than the governor wanted. Cuomo has argued that the state would save money by having the vote on the same April 28 date as the presidential primary – and a state judge looked likely to agree that it was his call to make. At least the Republicans have a good chance of winning the actual election.

Velina Mitchell

Velina Mitchell last year received the distinct honor of recording the subway’s service announcements after her dulcet tones caught the attention of an MTA official. But now, Mitchell is being usurped. Comedian and actress Awkwafina is offering quippy remarks to 7 train riders to promote her new Queens-based TV show. And the transit honcho Andy Byford’s posh British accent now graces the ears of straphangers in stations with the new toll system OMNY. Seems like Mitchell needs to defend her turf.

City & State
20200707