This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
Who’s up and who’s down this week?
It’s a great time to be an attorney! Election lawyers are getting paid overtime by the Queens district attorney candidates while the ballot count goes on, and on, and on.
RFK Jr. is suing the state over its ban of the religious exemption to vaccination – and you know the Kennedys pay well. And some lucky lawyers will get in the spotlight for suing AOC over her Twitter blocks. See who else had a good week, among the less litigious.
Nellie Bly -
The famed 19th century muckraker is getting a memorial on Roosevelt Island at the former site of an insane asylum that was the subject of Bly’s most famous work: “Ten Days in a Mad-House.” The six-part newspaper series may sound a little outdated now, but at least Bly’s reputation has aged better than some of the other ladies who are part of efforts to boost female representation in public spaces. Suffragettes Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, however, are not so lucky.
Bill de Blasio -
The mayor and presidential candidate scored big this week by taking a trip down the Canyon of Heroes with the U.S. women’s national soccer team. Blas threw the classic ticker tape parade to celebrate their World Cup championship – and was rewarded with a ride with superstar team captain Megan Rapinoe. Then he got a kick out of rewarding the team members with a key to the city at City Hall. Is this crowd-pleasing celebration a way for de Blasio to showboat his goal of women’s empowerment during presidential primary season? His comments before the parade about giving female and male athletes equal pay if he is elected president sure makes it seem that way.
Jameel Jaffer -
Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute Director Jameel Jaffer scored a landmark legal victory this week, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York ruled that President Donald Trump can’t block his critics on Twitter. The ruling may set a precedent, with two similar lawsuits filed against U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez for blocking Twitter users – which reminds us that pettiness on social media is not confined to a single political party.
George Latimer -
It’s not often that an elected official gets to raise taxes and it’s counted as a victory. But for Westchester County Executive George Latimer, the governor’s sign-off this week on state legislation that will allow for a local sales tax increase is just what he wanted. The 1 percent increase should help the county fix its finances, according to Latimer, who’s been trying to clean up the fiscal mess left by his predecessor, Rob Astorino.
Simcha Felder -
The Brooklyn state senator is out of the political doghouse now that state Senate Democrats are letting him join their conference. Felder might be riding high now, but he still feels pigeon-holed by his past – including his former alliance with the GOP Senate conference and efforts to ban the public feeding of columbidae.
Deborah Axt & Javier Valdés -
The co-executive directors of Make the Road New York criticized Amazon for avoiding taxes, but it turns out they have an outstanding tax problem of their own. Make the Road Action, the political arm of the social services nonprofit, lost its tax-exempt status in 2012 and could owe tens of thousands of dollars in outstanding local, state and federal taxes. Apparently, occupying the moral high ground comes with a price.
Jeffrey Epstein -
The financier and multimillionaire playboy won’t be rubbing elbows with the big boys on Wall Street anytime soon after he was indicted on shocking sex trafficking charges in Manhattan. The sleazy tycoon faced similar charges in Florida, but got off relatively easy. Registered as a sex offender, he never attended one of the several yearly check-ins he was supposed to have with the cops. But with the president trying to distance himself from him and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York on the case, it looks like Epstein’s past is finally catching up to him.
Raymond Murphy -
The recently retired Long Island Rail Road foreman made more than $280,000 last year, often from the comfort of his own couch. In a bundle of reports released by the MTA inspector general, Murphy was caught clocking in and then camping out near his East Northport home on 10 different occasions. This inspired calls for an agency-wide investigation by the governor, who’s become increasingly skeptical of time and attendance fraud. As for Murphy, time really is money when you’re likely to be sued to recoup some $10,000.
Wilbur Ross -
First, the U.S. Supreme Court rebuked the Commerce Department for its bogus rationale for adding a citizenship question to the upcoming census. Then, when Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that the administration would be printing the 2020 census without the proposed citizenship question, his boss called it “FAKE” news. Now the president’s backing down too, saying he will rely on other federal agencies to figure out how many citizens and non-citizens there really are in the country.
Richard Thomas -
Richard Thomas was once best known as the youngest mayor ever in the history of Mount Vernon, but after pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds he will be known for the abrupt end to his political career. Now, his immediate future is in limbo at best, while charges against him revealed a mind-boggling combination of high and low-brow tastes, using campaign funds on a family trip to Mexico, where expenses included a $2,000 Chanel purse and a $114 meal at an airport Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to a property tax increase in Westchester County. In fact, there will be a sales tax increase.
NEXT STORY: Andrew Cuomo, in his own words