Winners & Losers

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down this week?

Spring weather has now come to New York, just as Staten Island Chuck predicted last month. But the city’s mood hasn’t risen with the temperature. Only 30% of New Yorkers surveyed by the Citizens Budget Commission rated their quality of life as “good” or “excellent,” while 34% rated their quality of life as “poor.” One reason for the dissatisfaction could be the increasing cost of living, with rents spiking by 13% in Queens. (At least the average rent in Manhattan declined to “only” $4,257.) It’s almost enough to make you want to move upstate.


Kenneth Adams -

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams might be tempted to install a Scrooge McDuck-esque swimming pool of cash for students after the school received a $116.2 million donation from Steve and Alex Cohen. Hedge fund billionaire and Mets owner Steve is in the process of currying favor for his Queens casino bid and, while the connection between higher education and gambling is tenuous, good PR is good PR. Adams plans to use the money to create the Cohen Career Collective, increasing economic opportunity and the skilled workforce in Queens.

Martha Stark -

The fight for property tax reform is alive and well, though a full overhaul of the much-criticized system is still a ways away. But even incremental progress is a win for Martha Stark, former city finance commissioner and policy director at Tax Equity Now New York. The group argued in court that the current system disadvantages owners of rental buildings in lower-income neighborhoods. A lower court initially dismissed those claims, but the state Court of Appeals ruled this week that the lawsuit can proceed, giving Stark and other supporters of the bipartisan push cause for some cautious optimism.

Rita Joseph -

A day after presiding over a 11+ hour education budget hearing, Council Member Rita Joseph passed her first bill of the session – a measure that would track the city’s progress on lowering class sizes. The bill’s passage was welcomed by many who feel that the city’s attempts to comply with a new state law mandating smaller class sizes have been slow and lacking in transparency.


Courtney Ramirez -

She’s no Miss Hannigan, but little orphan Annie may not have been in much better hands with Courtney Ramirez. The former ACS top official has been charged with stealing from the very kids she was meant to serve. According to prosecutors, Ramirez forged children’s signatures in order to pocket gift cards meant for them to the tune of nearly $5,000. She has not yet been convicted, but it’s certainly going to be a hard knock life for Ramirez now.

Alexander McDougall -

The former deputy Erie County clerk was charged with felony grand larceny on accusations he embezzled $216,412 from the clerk’s office. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said McDougall, who served as deputy county clerk for finance, allegedly used the funds to cover expenses for his disabled wife and special needs child. The arrest resulted from an audit of the county clerk’s office by Erie County Comptroller Kevin Hardwick.

Tim Pearson -

We haven’t heard much from mayoral adviser Tim Pearson since he got in trouble for getting into a physical altercation with a security guard at a migrant shelter last year. But he’s back in the news, and not for good reasons. A former NYPD sergeant who worked under Pearson is suing him for harassment. She says he caressed her arms and asked her probing questions while she worked for the Office of Municipal Services Assessment and later retaliated against her for refusing to work as his driver.