Working as a debt collector may not make for the most satisfying career, but Vadim Barbarovich has certainly made the most of it. As a New York City marshal, he carries a badge and has the authority to seize funds owed to predatory lenders while taking a cut for himself. And last year, he netted a whopping $1.7 million in “the most lucrative job in New York City government,” as Bloomberg Businessweek put it in its stunning exposé of Barbarovich. Of course, he can’t be thrilled about the New York City Department of Investigation probing his behavior.
Who's up and who's down this week?
Who's up and who's down this week?
It was a great week to be a New York City biker, whether you’re the young, virile exerciser that Mayor Bill de Blasio emulates or reckless, illegal food delivery worker he vilifies. Yes, despite the mayor’s “oft-stated larger reality” that safety concerns are paramount, the City Council is moving forward on legalizing electric bikes (and e-scooters!). City Hall is also announcing a massive expansion of Citi Bike at minimal public cost, bringing New Amsterdam one pedal closer to old Amsterdam.
When City Hall announced plans to build a new jail in Lower Manhattan at 80 Centre St., protesters held up signs attacking the local city councilwoman: “Margaret Chin SELLING OUT CHINATOWN.” But they’ve lost their ammo after City Hall backed down on plans for the 40-story high-rise, instead sticking to the current footprint of The Tombs. Still, it might not be so easy to shake her reputation for rebuffing local community residents and siding with the mayor.
She will not be chilled. She will hang up on the mayor if he calls and tries to influence her investigations. She is New York City’s new Department of Investigation commissioner. Garnett got the gig after the City Council unanimously approved Garnett’s nomination to replace the recently fired Mark Peters. Plus, she doesn’t have a personal friendship with the mayor like Peters did that just made things weird.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries won a close vote to become the chairman of the House Democratic caucus. While that post is just the No. 5 spot in the party pecking order in the House, it means that the three-term congressman from Brooklyn is well positioned to move up through a party leadership dominated by septuagenarians. If he ever becomes the first black speaker in the history of the House, then he might need to send something special to Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who took Rep. Joe Crowley out of the leadership mix by defeating him in a primary earlier this year.
When Democrats won enough seats to take back the House of Representatives this month, it stripped many congressional Republicans of any power. But GOP Rep. Tom Reed of Western New York found that working across the aisle can pay off, as the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus that he co-chairs just struck a deal with Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on reforms to open up the lawmaking process that she agreed to implement if she becomes House speaker in the new year.
In a busy week for news out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen comes out as one of the biggest losers. In a hearing in Manhattan on Thursday, Cohen admitted he lied to Congress about his trips to Russia and the extent of negotiations about a new Trump tower in Russia during the campaign, leading the president to insult Cohen as a “weak person.”
The New York City Department of Education came under fire this week after City Comptroller Scott Stringer unveiled $20 million worth of reckless spending on travel and unsupported credit card charges in the 2016-2017 school year. Left to answer for allowing the DOE’s lavishness is former New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, proving controversy can haunt you, even after retirement.
When George Latimer was elected Westchester County executive last year, he knew the county’s finances weren’t in great shape. But the budget woes he inherited, along with the use of reserves to cover retroactive government staff raises, has resulted in two ratings agencies downgrading the county’s AAA bond rating. Latimer said he hopes to get the rating back up by the time he leaves office – but whether he makes progress on that front may determine whether he gets more than four years.
After two deaths on their record and a history of dangerous working conditions, private trash hauling company Sanitation Salvage is finally closing shop for good. It took long enough. The Squitieris’ company had its license suspended for a month after a ProPublica and Voice of America article revealed not only that a driver had killed two people while on the job, but that he lied about one of them. Now, the Squitieris are doing everyone a favor by voluntarily tossing their license in the trash.
First-term Rep. Claudia Tenney officially became the third New York Republican to lose a House seat this cycle when she conceded her race against Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi this week. The defeat was not only a rebuke of the Oneida County conservative firebrand but also President Donald Trump, whose support she had heavily courted by railing against the “deep state” and “fake news” and touting Trump’s greatness. He returned the favor by headlining a Utica fundraiser for her earlier this year and sending family members to campaign on her behalf. But it was not enough for Tenney, whose defeat was sealed after a protracted count of outstanding votes. Only time will tell whether Trump will help her realize her newfound dream to be a U.S. attorney.