It's time for the mid-summer vacation. Gov. Andrew Cuomo hit the 'Dacks for his annual whitewater rafting getaway. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie followed his lead, touring multiple upstate locales. And Mayor Bill de Blasio ... well, he traveled to Rome. You could say all three are winners... but did they make the list? Read on.
Preet Bharara – You can’t beat Preet. The U.S. attorney in Manhattan continues to strike fear in the heart of Albany, with the latest scalp coming from ousted state Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous. And the federal prosecutor, who recently earned a rebuke from a judge for speaking out against corruption, wisely toned down the rhetoric, letting the conviction stand on its own.
Andrew Cuomo - The Guv racked up a series of victories this week. While there were many winners from the fast-food wage board’s decision to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, props have to be given to Cuomo for creating and stacking the board with members who were likely to support the raise he wanted. In addition, he got partake in his new favorite hobby—criticizing Mayor Bill de Blasio—and came up with a plan to fund the MTA's capital plan. Oh, and the state has $1.9 billion more than expected.
Simcha Felder – What’s better than being No. 33? No. 32! At least when you’re the lone Democrat caucusing with the GOP in a narrowly divided state Senate, that is. With Tom Libous’ felony conviction this week the Senate Republicans now hold just 31 of the chamber’s 63 seats, making Felder’s continued cooperation of the utmost importance. Of course another Republican could win Libous’ vacant seat, but there’s no telling what will happen if Dean Skelos suffers a similar fate as his old No. 2.
Hector Figueroa - Two and a half years of hard work has finally paid off for the workers and activists fighting to raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers. Many people deserve credit, but the 32BJ SEIU president and his workers will reap the benefits. On top of that, the union headed off a planned strike of 1,200 workers at La Guardia and JFK airports when they won the right to unionize. Not a bad week's work while much of the state was soaking up sun.
Josh Mohrer - All e-hail Mohrer. Uber's New York City general manager won round one of what is sure to be a prolonged fight with Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council. The four-month deal may only buy the company some time, but when facing the prospect of huge financial losses and real political obstacles, a short-term delay is a clear win.
William Boyland Jr. - The ex-assemblyman’s corruption conviction appears radioactive, even for Albany dwellers. Boyland’s lawyer submitted a packet of character letters aimed at convincing a federal judge to be forgiving when sentencing him for soliciting bribes and extortion. But the paperwork did not include a single reference from a current or former politician. Who needs enemies when you have friends like these?
Thomas Libous – Yet another New York State lawmaker’s name has been taken off his office door in the state Capitol. The state Senate’s second-ranking Republican was convicted this week of lying to the FBI and was removed from office after more than two decades of service. While his removal is not the most high profile corruption news this year, Libous is another domino in the power structure of Albany that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara managed to topple.
Joel Klein - To say that the handling of the East Ramapo School District has been controversial is an understatement, so it’s no surprise to see the superintendent removed from his post this week as pressure from protesters and state Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch continued to grow. Klein may have had a year left on his contract, but the overwhelming criticism he received for allegedly making deep cuts to public schools that predominately serve minorities, while sending his own childrew to private schools, ended up being too much.
Joe Mascia – If you were to call the mayor, a prominent housing official and other political leaders the n-word, and have it caught on tape, you might be relieved if the only repercussions were calls for you to step down. When this happened to Joe Mascia, he apologized but vowed to continue his campaign for a Common Council seat this fall—but it may be too much to recover from.
Marc Panepinto – It didn’t take the freshman lawmaker long to get mixed up in the type of scandalous activity that distinguished Albany. Panepinto urged state Workers Compensation officials not to alter rules governing payments to doctors and other medical service providers. Meanwhile, he made more than $1 million in 2014 at his law firm, which specializes in workers' compensation cases. The apparent conflict of interest has landed the Democrat in the crosshairs of Western New York Republicans. Now he must be hoping that law enforcement officials aren’t also taking notice.
NEXT STORY: Winners & Losers 7/17/15