Friday, November 25, 2016

Campaign 2016

Sanders People Fail Out Opening NY Primaries in Court 
Petition for open primary system shot down by court (NYP) A Manhattan judge Tuesday tossed a lawsuit challenging the state’s closed primary system, disappointing a crowd of around 50 mostly Bernie Sanders supporters who’d gathered to hear legal arguments. “This isn’t going to make me very popular in this room but the petition is hereby denied,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ruled from the bench. Trial attorney Mark Moody had sued the state and city Board of Elections shortly after April’s primary elections, saying that million of New Yorkers– including President-elect Donald Trump’s own kids– were barred from voting in the presidential primary because they didn’t change their party affiliation before the October 2015 deadline. Sanders performed better in states with open primaries. Moody argued in court Tuesday that the system is unconstitutional because in disenfranchises voters who are not registered with a major party. State attorney Roderick Arz countered, “this is not disenfranchisement, this is a decision to apply a broadly applicable deadline.” Judge Engoron agreed that political parties have a right to regulate their primaries “as long as they don’t run afoul of constitutional dictates” like gender or racial discrimination. Moody said he’s likely to appeal..

CM Gentilie Falls With Handicapped Lawsuit

Cruel councilman mocked and tormented Asperger’s aide: suit( NYP) A Brooklyn city councilman and his underlings tormented an aide who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome — cruelly comparing him to a tragic, autistic teen and leaving decapitated teddy bears on his desk, the man claims in a new lawsuit. Vincent Gentile was slapped with the $10 million suit Tuesday by Michael Bistreich, who claims the Bay Ridge councilman found it funny when another staffer mockingly suggested that Bis­treich “test the doors” during a press conference regarding “Avonte’s Law,” which was enacted in 2014 after autistic student Avonte Oquendo slipped out a door of his Queens school and drowned in the East River.  The law requires alarms on many school doors. “Gentile responded by laughing and clapping his hands, which caused significant distress to Bistreich,” court papers state. The Manhattan Supreme Court filing also says Gentile complained that Bistreich’s shaking hands and twitching head, both symptoms of Asper­ger’s, were “unnerving,” and repeatedly asked him to increase his medication — even though the tics can’t be treated.

The Schumer "You Call This A Campaign" Gets Almost Real for One Debate 
During a Sunday debate, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat, and his GOP challenger, Wendy Long, often appeared to be waging a proxy war for each party’s presidential nominee and their records, The New York Times reports.  * Schumer is so confident he’ll be re-elected that he has steered $8 million from his campaign coffers to shore up other Democrats, a tactic that may help him become the next Senate majority leader, the Post reports.

Ferrer Revenge Kicks Ass of the Ass Kisser Green Plotter Running for the Senate

Fernando Ferrer delivers payback for 2001 attack fliers(NYP)  Fernando Ferrer is delivering payback to a state Senate candidate who he believes wronged him 15 years ago by distributing a campaign flier that included a New York Post editorial cartoon of Ferrer kissing Al Sharpton’s butt.  Micha Lasher, who is running to represent upper Manhattan, is believed to have had a role in producing the flier when he was a young staffer in 2001 for Mark Green, who was battling Ferrer for the Democratic mayoral nomination.On Wednesday, Ferrer, the former Bronx borough president, will endorse Marisol Alcantara for the seat, which is being vacated by Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who won the Democratic primary to succeed Rep. Charles Rangel in Congress.  A campaign aide to Green, who lost to Mike Bloomberg in the general election, said Ferrer’s decision to weigh into a local race is clearly payback. “All politics is personal. Politicians have long memories. Ferrer doesn’t get involved in a lot of local races,” the source said.*

Espaillat's Chosen Successor Gets Backing That Reopens Old Political (DNAINFO)
WoundsFernando Ferrer backed Espaillat's chosen candidate after a personal history with opponent Micah Lasher.

Sander Faces Machine Meeks Payback forAborted Run for Congress

Silver Lower East Side Falls to the Asians 
Yuh-Line Niou Defeats Sheldon Silver Ally in Primary for His Old Assembly Seat (NYT) In one of several closely watched contests in New York, Ms. Niou won a six-way Democratic race, defeating Alice Cancel, whom Mr. Silver, the disgraced former speaker, had supported.* Disgraced ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver's chosen successor loses primary race to Yuh-Line Niou (NYDN) *

Dominican Take Over of Harlem Continues With Senate Win 
Espaillat's Win Another Blow to Harlem's Black PoliticalPower: Experts(DNAINFO) "The truth is this is the official end of the Charlie Rangel era and the beginning of the Dominican explosion," said one political operative with clients in Harlem who asked not be named to protect working relationships. Marisol Alcantara, the handpicked successor of state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who won the primary for Rangel's old seat, won a tight race where she got 693 more votes than (Robert) Jackson, who was in third place, and 572 more votes than second-place Micah Lasher, chief of staff to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.  Robert Jackson was backed by Rangel

The New Dominican Machine  

Mr. Espaillat, a Democrat who is favored to win a congressional seat in November, is trying to help two fellow Dominicans win state primaries.

An Amego Makes A Comeback
Disgraced former state senator Hiram Monserrate is looking to return to politics.*

Newspaper Endorsements
For the future of New York’s kids: Post endorsements in legislative primaries(NYP)
STATE SENATE SD-25 (Bed-Stuy/Crown Heights/Red Hook): Michael Cox is challenging (too-) long-term incumbent Velmanette Montgomery. A Crown Heights native who served in the Obama administration, Cox became a devoted fan of choice, charters and education reform while teaching in East New York. SD-31 (Washington Heights/Inwood/West Side): In a four-way race to succeed Sen. Adriano Espaillat, the best choice is Marisol Alcantara, who’s backed by Espaillat and by the pro-good-schools Independent Democratic Conference. SD-33 (West Bronx): City Councilman Fernando Cabrera poses a real threat to incumbent Gustavo Rivera. That’s why the Fund for Great Public Schools, a union front, funded mailers smearing the challenger. In fact, this firm advocate of the EITC and charter schools has built a strong record of delivering solutions for his constituents.
ASSEMBLYAD-6 (Bay Shore/Brentwood/Central Islip): In his challenge to incumbent Philip Ramos, Giovanni Mata has also been the target of dirty-tricks mailers claiming he’s the pawn of “immigrant-bashing Republicans.” Yet it’s Ramos who is standing in the way of hope for black and brown kids in this Long Island district — and Mata who demands that all children have access to good schools.] AD-33 (Queens Village/Cambria Heights/Hollis): In a crowded field looking to replace the late Barbara Clark, Roy Paul stands out. He made history at 19 as the youngest African-American ever elected to public office in the state. Now 30, he’s been solid on charters and school reform ever since winning that school-board race. AD-46 (Bay Ridge/Coney Island): Pamela Harris, the incumbent, faces questions about her shaky personal finances and a nonprofit headquartered at her home. We strongly urge a vote for challenger Kate Cucco, who rightly calls the education tax credit a “win-win piece of legislation.” Daily News Newell for Assembly(NYDN) Newell is highly informed, fully in touch with a district that is 43% Asian, 33% white, 16% Hispanic and 5% black, and promises unusual independence in Albany.  A native of Taiwan, Yuh-Line Niou grew up in Washington state, where she served as a legislative aide, focusing on health care, and worked as an advocate against predatory lending.  Niou has lived in the district for three years, is chief of staff to Flushing Assemblyman Ron Kim and is backed by the Queens Democratic machine. She says that she was motivated to run in part as Chinatown residents were seeking constituent services in Kim’s Queens office.  Newell has the edge over Niou in knowledge both of the district and of the issues. He is in touch with grass-roots concerns about traffic, schools, affordable housing and sustainable neighborhoods.  Seeking to represent an area flooded by traffic from the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, Newell backs congestion pricing to toll the spans and pour money into mass transit. * Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has largely stayed out of New York politics since leaving City Hall, is re-entering the scene with a Monday night fundraiser for former aide Micah Lasher’s Democratic state Senate bid, The Wall Street Journal reports. Micah Lasher for state Senate (NYDN) * A senator for the Bronx: Pamela Hamilton-Johnson is thechoice (NYT)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016



True News Has Found Out the Identity of the Lobbyists Smith Interviewed for His Puff Piece On Albany Lobbyists
Albany Lobbyists Are Misunderstood, Says Albany Lobbyist (NY Magizine)  NY magazine’s Chris Smith interviews an unnamed Albany lobbyist about the “tricks of the big-money trade” and what impact U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is having. Smith Said the Lobbyists he interviewed never saw corruption in Albany. Among the hard hitting questions Smith asked his unnamed lobbyists who True News has identified as
Pinocchio‎ are the following: What’s a typical day? Do many deals get made over lunch or dinner?

Smith: Dean Skelos has been accused of pressing a real-estate lobbyist to get his son a job and money.
Unnamed Lobbyist:  "I was stunned by that. I've never had anybody ask me to help out anyone in their family in a financial way. I have over the years had a couple of people I knew well ask me to see if I could help their children get a job, generally when they were in college or something or looking at summer jobs. No one has ever suggested what the kid should be paid. But if they're good friends I try to help them. I have kids of my own. I may need their help someday." 

NY Magizine's Smith Did Not Ask His Unnamed Lobbyists If He Ever Met Silver and Skelos Rat Lobbyists Meara
Smith: What about asking you for money in exchange for voting in your client’s favor on a bill?  
Unnamed Lobbyist: Now, if you’re saying, I'll vote for it if you’ll give $5,000 to my campaign  I don’t think I've ever had anybody be that direct. 

Smith: With all the recent investigations and arrests, has anyone ever asked you whether you’re wearing a wire or patted you down going into a meeting?
Unnamed Lobbyist: No

Smith: In the longer run, will all this scandal fundamentally change the way Albany operates?Unnamed Lobbyist: I don’t believe so. 

Smith: But the real problem is that it takes ever-increasing amounts of money to get access to the system, and then to grease the system’s wheels.Unnamed Lobbyist: Do not think money is the only thing that works up here, or works best.

Public Housing 

EXCLUSIVE: Mayor de Blasio wants to make it easier to evict and exclude criminals – who terrorize residents – from NYCHA apartments (NYDN) As crime spiked across the authority’s 328 developments and wreaked havoc in surrounding neighborhoods, the city dropped the ball on doing something about the perps next door — and the mayor is now vowing to fix the problem. Mayor de Blasio’s spokeswoman Karen Hinton told The News Saturday the mayor has ordered a total overhaul of the entire referral process to make it faster and easier for NYCHA to evict or exclude residents who are committing crimes on authority properties. The number of eviction cases commenced by NYCHA against criminal tenants dropped 40% from 1,581 in 2011 to 942 last year — and it’s on pace to stay the same this year. The number of actual evictions dropped from 172 in 2009 to 45 last year. As of mid-October this year there have only been 20. Meanwhile, crime — including shootings, murders, assaults and robbery — jumped 31% at NYCHA projects from 2009 through 2013, far outpacing a 3% rise citywide. It dropped off slightly in 2014, but climbed 11% in the last month. NYCHA can also permanently exclude non-tenants of record who live in NYCHA apartments. Exclusions rose this year to 415 from 344 last year, but are still way down from 619 in 2010.  Tyrone Howard had been convicted repeatedly of dealing drugs out of the East River Houses, but he would do his time and then return to his old stomping grounds to sell more drugs.

Escape From NYC 
Why Is Leaving New York the LatestTrend?  Between 2000 and 2010, the Tax Foundation found that 3.4 million residents moved out of New York, Forbes listed the state in their feature “The States People are Fleeing in 2014,” and New York was the third highest “moving out” or “outbound” state inUnited Van Lines’ 2013 Migration Study. So, what’s the deal? The Sunshine State has no income tax and no estate tax — both of which New York charges. In fact, each year from 1977 to 2011New York ranked No. 1 for the highest tax burden (except for 1984 where it came in second). The fact is, it’s expensive to live in New York and the additional tax burden over other states is becoming less appealing. When people renounce their New York citizenship, they take their tax dollars with them. The Tax Foundation estimates that New York lost more than $45.6 million in tax revenue over the last 10 years. Going along with that, the Tax Foundation listed New York as No. 49 on its 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index. Last year, it came in dead last. If the mass exodus intensifies, perhaps enough changes will be made to New York’s overall tax code to make living and retiring there more affordable. In the meantime, New York residency will continue to decline.

NYC's Economic Problems

Clueless Protested Burning An American Flag On the Sacred Burial Ground of Revolutionary Colonists Who Died Fighting for Freedom from the King Of England 
Protesters tonight plan to burn an american flag tonight in Fort Green Park in honor of those who died at the hand of Dylan Roof in the chruch in South Carolina.  The Facebook site says that Dylan Roof isn’t an isolated actor – he is a product of a consistent pattern of state-sponsored terrorism and racialized dehumanization in America.”  What the protesters did not understand or care about is the very park that they are holding their flag burning is the sacred burial ground of the colonists martyrs who died for the right to protested against their government. The memorial crypts are the resting grounds to the more than 11,500 New Yorkers, American prisoners of war who died in captivity aboard sixteen British prison ships during the American Revolutionary War.  More people died on those ships than in the entire revolutionary war (4100).  During the American Revolutionary War, which began in 1775, the British arrested scores of soldiers, sailors, and private citizens simply because they would not swear allegiance to the Crown of England. Those apprehended were deemed by the British to be prisoners of war and were incarcerated. When the British ran out of jail space to house their POWs they began using decommissioned or damaged ships that were anchored in Wallabout Bay (near the Brooklyn Navy Yard) as floating prisons.    Life was unbearable on the prison ships, the most notorious of them being the Old Jersey – which was called "Hell" by the inhabitants. Disease was rampant, food and water were scarce or nonexistent, and the living conditions were horrendously overcrowded and wretched. If one had money they could purchase food from the many entrepreneurs who rowed up to the boat to sell their wares. Otherwise, the meager rations would consist of sawdust laden bread or watery soup. A great number of the captives died from disease and malnutrition. Their emaciated bodies were either thrown overboard * Cop haters plan flag-burning rally at NYC park(NYP) * Planned Flag Burning In Fort Greene Park Is Meant ToCriticize Racism, Say Organizers (Fort Green Focus)

de Blasio Stacks the Health Department to Win the 2017 Campaign 
The New York City Board of Health voted to consider waiving a requirement that parents sign a consent form for an Orthodox circumcision ritual that can lead herpes in children, the Times reports:  * At the de Blasio administration’s urging, the NYC Board of Health voted to considerwaiving a requirement that parents sign a consent form for metzitzah b’peh, an Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual linked to herpes infections in infants. A public hearing will be held in July, and the board is expected to make a final decision in September.

De Blasio has appointed allies to the New York City Board of Health ahead of its planned vote today on an ultra-Orthodox circumcision ritual that has been linked to herpes infections. The mayor has installed numerous allies on the New York City Board of Health as his administration prepares to present a controversial plan that would ease the rules on a circumcision ritual linked to herpes infections in infants. * Now We Know the Reason for the Delay  The de Blasio administration has delayed presenting to the board a proposal that would no longer require parents to sign a consent form before a controversial Orthodox circumcision practice, the Journal reports * De Blasio has placed allies & donors on the Board ofHealth as he seeks to ease rules on a controversial ritual. 
de Blasio 2017 Re-election Campaign Has Started The Nanny Mayor Continues 

Seabrook Broke Union Out $20 Million 

Hedge fund holding Norman Seabrook’s $20M investment is broke (NYP) The embattled hedge fund holding a $20 million investment from the city’s correction officers’ union has finally admitted that it’s broke.  The Platinum Partners’ Value Arbitrage fund filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection in Manhattan bankruptcy court late Tuesday. The filing represents the nail in the coffin for the $20 million the union invested in Platinum, under the leadership of its ex-president Norman Seabrook.  “Norman Seabrook severely impacted his members by making these frivolous investments that only benefited himself, and now the COBA is out $20 million,” said Corrections Officers’ Benevolent Association member William Valentin, who triggered a federal probe into Seabrook with a lawsuit over the risky investment.

Cuomo IDC Rules Albany Now

New Yorkers Cannot Vote Early and 95% Don't Qualify For Absentee Ballots Have A Board of Election's Which Allow the Dead to Vote
Elections board won’t stop sending dead man’s family absentee ballots (NYP) Queens resident Michelle Dimino has a simple request for the city’s Board of Elections: Please remove my late dad from the voter rolls. Dimino’s father, Anthony Baldomir, died on Oct. 4, 2012. But according to the board’s records, he could vote in the Nov. 8  presidential election.

NYT Which is the Official Flack of the Developers Says What Happening to the Mom and Pop Stores
New York’s Disappearing Storefronts(NYT)

No Rat Deal Yet in NYPD Gun for Sale Guy
Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, who was charged in a $1 million scheme to illegally obtain pistol permits from the NYPD, failed to reach a plea deal and is now trying to suppress statements he made to authorities, the Post reports.

What Does Bharara Know About Weiner's Emails As the FBI is in Crisis 

Investigators from Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office slapped Weiner with a subpoena for his cell phone in September after it was revealed that he had allegedly sexted with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl. (Daily News) * STASI: Weiner MayDecide Winner..@lindastasi

Fredric U. Dicker ‏@fud31   "The reality is that Mr. Comey’s Clinton probe has been a kid-glove exercise all along." A Fine FBI-Clinton Mess

A Fake News Blog Funded by Lobbyists Honors Bharara Going After Those Same Lobbyists

Manhattan U.S.Attorney Preet Bharara honored as ‘Newsmaker of the decade’ at City &State’s 10th Anniversary Gala (NYDN) Preet Bharara went from serving indictments to being served dinner. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney, named “Newsmaker of the decade,” was the keynote speaker Tuesday at City & State’s 10th  Anniversary Gala that was filled with the city’s top political leaders. The honor came just five days after he charged nine big wigs, including Gov. Cuomo’s former aide and campaign manager, with shaking down upstate companies seeking state contracts. The news magazine’s gala was held at the swanky Vermilion on Lexington Ave.

Only A Federal Arrests Will Get the Lead Out of NYCHA Apartments

Time to lead on lead: Nomore NYCHA excuses (NYDN Ed)  For years, the New York City Housing Authority has dodged its obligation to protect its smallest tenants from toxic lead paint, slipping through a loophole in safety rules. No more, if the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development keeps up its nerve with a plan to force NYCHA and other housing authorities to prevent kids’ poisoning. As the Daily News revealed earlier this year, since 2010 city health officials have identified at least 202 children living in NYCHA apartments with dangerously elevated levels of lead in their blood — poisoning associated with potentially irreversible damage to developing brains. NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye has until the end of Halloween to tell the federal government what she thinks of the looming lead-poisoning crackdown. Her bag is all out of tricks.

New York City is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a month housing homeless families in the NoMad hotel, but simultaneously suing the property’s owner for operating illegal and dangerous rentals, the Post reports.

As Affordable Rents Dry Up and NYCHA Apts Decrease Homeless Numbers Increases
The number of people sleeping in New York City shelters has increased by 18 percent since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office and reached nearly 60,000, raising questions about the effectiveness of current policies, The Wall Street Journal reports. *
In an ever-clearer attempt to dodge accountability for enabling a developer to make a bonanza on formerly city-owned real estate, First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris has played New Yorkers for fools — possibly including Mayor de Blasio. * The number of people sleeping in New York City shelters has increased by 18 percent since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office and reached nearly 60,000, raising questions about the effectiveness of current policies, The Wall Street Journal reports.

FDNY Chief Kill By Illegal Gas Line After the City Crack Down
Police have discovered a “deviation” in the gas line at the Bronx marijuana grow house that exploded last week, killing Battalion Chief Michael J. Fahy.

Nepotism Head of Pension System Leaving
Pension-system head leaving amid probe into her hiring ex (NYP) The head of the city’s largest pension system is leaving her $219,771-a-year job amid an investigation into the hiring of her former live-in girlfriend. Diane D’Alessandro, executive director of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, said she’ll retire effective Dec. 31 from the agency that manages pension benefits for some 300,000 workers and retirees. She’s quitting nine months after hiring her ex-domestic partner, Ellen Carton, as deputy director of human resources with a $127,000 salary. D’Alessandro had previously awarded two consulting contracts to a two-person Arizona firm joined by Carton, The Post found. After the Post report, the city Department of Investigation launched an ongoing probe.

Is Brooklyn Lost For Affordable Housing?
The last battle for Brooklyn, America's most unaffordableplace to buy a home (Guardian) It might be too late for Williamsburg, Bushwick and Bed-Stuy – but in Crown Heights, tenants have learned a few tricks to prevent the social cleansing of their neighbourhood. Can they succeed where the rest of Brooklyn failed?

PAC Elected Council Members Easy for Lobbyists to Push Around

Lobbyists Win By Using Campaign Tools to Threaten Weak PAC $$$ Elected Councilmember With Primaries to Win for Uber 
Power in Money: Whenis lobbying in NY not lobbying? (democratandchronicle) When gay-rights groups in 2011 wanted to press the state Legislature to legalize same-sex marriage, they didn’t turn just to a team of lobbyists.They hired a high-powered public relations firm with close ties to public officials to lead the charge. The firm, SKDKnickerbocker, received a whopping $1.8 million for the campaign. he full-court press of ads, mailings and social media worked. New York became the largest state in the nation to make same-sex marriage legal. The spending also made clear something else at the state Capitol: No longer was the key to success solely hiring a lobbying firm to stroll the hallways trying to drum up votes for a special interest. It requires a broad media strategy to win over lawmakers in their districts and in Albany. As spending for lobbying in New York state increased 56 percent over the past decade — from $144 million in 2005 to $226 million in 2015 — so too has the sophistication of the campaigns. A review of records by Gannett’s Albany Bureau showed that the public-relations firms have raked in more than $3 million since 2010 from political campaigns and then worked on efforts to promote key issues before the Legislature through coordinated lobbying efforts. Public-relations firms that can offer a cache of services to public officials and private companies are the new frontier — and state laws have yet to keep up.“The public-relations firms are where it’s heading, especially those that provide political consulting of candidates,” said David Grandeau, the former executive director of the state Lobbying Commission. He said the firms that help state officials get elected can then reap the benefits of their close ties with the lawmakers. “If I’m a consultant and I help you get elected as a state senator, and then I turn around and work for a private-sector, multinational corporation that wants to lobby that public official who I helped get elected, I’m in a pretty good spot to do that, aren’t I?” said Grandeau, a state ethics consultant.

Uber Shadow Govt Team of Lobbyist Was An Orgy With Ton of Money

Uber Used Target Mailing, Robo Calls and Ads to Threaten Councilmembers
 Uber lobbied hard earlier this year, spending $359,089 on lobbying, ads and direct mail to advance its agenda in New York, a sum that excludes its recent campaign amid a fight over a proposed cap, Capital New York writes: 

Justin Kintz, Nicole Benincasa, David PlouffeRachel Holt, Josh Mohrer, Colin Tooze, Michael Allegretti, James F. Capalino & Associates, Inc., Patrick B. Jenkins & Associates, Kasirer Consulting LLC, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, FrancisJ. Sanzillo & Associates, Inc., Stu Loeser, Bradly Tusk, Jeff PollockJimmy s Siegel political ads, Neil Quattro * Was David Plouffe the Key to Uber’s Deal With New York City?(NY Mag) * Uber Consultant Rudy Giuliani Gives Uber A Big Thumbs UpOn Background Checks (TPM) * Was David Plouffe the key to Uber's deal with New York City (NY Mag)* Taxi-industry lawyers aiming to slow down Uber have won a victory in Chicago that could boost New York City's yellow-cab interests in their fight for survival, Crain’s reports: 

Monday, November 21, 2016

BOE Commissioner Who Claims Voter ID Fraud is Replace By Political Hack

NYC BOE Commissioner Subpoenaed by State BOE On His Claims of Voter Fraud
Elections official subpoenaed after his claims of voter fraud (NYP) tate investigators have questioned the Manhattan Democratic representative on the city’s Board of Elections, who was caught on a secret video claiming Mayor de Blasio’s municipal ID program was contributing to “all kinds of fraud.”  The state Board of Elections investigative unit subpoenaed Manhattan Commissioner Al Schulkin to explain his bombshell comments, recorded by an undercover muckraker for the conservative Project Veritas. In the video, Schulkin also talks about people in minority neighborhoods being bused to different polling sites, while  questioning where “thousands of absentee ballots” originated. “It’s absurd. There is a lot of fraud. Not just voter fraud, all kinds of fraud … This is why I get more conservative as I get older,” Schulkin said on the videotape.  Shulkin was interviewed Tuesday by state investigators, sources said. He could not be reached for comment. But sources familiar with the subpoena said the commissioner was not happy about being summoned and grilled. Mayor de Blasio has called for Schulkin’s resignation, saying he was spreading falsehoods about the city’s ID program.

BOE Manhattan Democrat Commissioner Says ID Programs Opens Up Voting Fruad 
The Manhattan Democratic representative on the New York City Board of Elections was caught on a secret video slamming Mayor Bill de Blasio’s municipal ID program as contributing to “all kinds of fraud,” including voter fraud, the Post writes.   “He gave out ID cards, de Blasio. That’s in lieu of a driver’s license, but you can use it for anything,” Commissioner Alan Schulkin said in the undercover video recorded by a muckraker for conservative nonprofit Project Veritas.  “But they didn’t vet people to see who they really are. Anybody can go in there and say, ‘I am Joe Smith, I want an ID card,’ ” he said in the bombshell tape.  “It’s absurd. There is a lot of fraud. Not just voter fraud, all kinds of fraud . . . This is why I get more conservative as I get older.”  Schulkin didn’t hold back to the undercover journalist, who identified herself as a political consultant at a United Federation of Teachers holiday party on Dec. 16.  Not realizing he was being recorded, he broke with his own party’s position that voter-ID requirements hurt the poor and minorities.  Schulkin said he backed the IDs to prevent rampant fraud.  “The law says you can’t ask for anything. Which they really should be able to do,” Schulkin said, according to a copy of the video and transcript provided to The Post.  “I believe they should be able to do it,” he added.  The videographer asked point blank, “You think they should have voter ID in New York?”  Schulkin responded, “Voters? Yeah, they should ask for your ID. I think there is a lot of voter fraud.” UPDATE  "he should really step down” — @BilldeBlasio re: @BOENYC commissioner who spoke about voter fraud & @IDNYC, via @BrianLehrer

Update Assemblyman demands elections official resign for linking minorities to voter fraud (NYP) Bronx Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda said Schulkin said the comments make Schulkin unfit to be a Democratic representative on the elections board.  “His comments about alleged voter fraud coming from Black, Latino Asian and Muslim communities reeks of racism and is factually incorrect,” said Sepulveda. Schulkin was appointed in 2014 with the support of Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, and Manhattan Council members Corey Johnson, Margaret Chin, Mark Levine, and Ydanis Rodriguez, sources said.  Manhattan Democratic Party leader Keith Wright supported another candidate, but lost out in the power struggle with the Council leadership , sources said. Mark Viverito issued a terse statement saying Schulkin’s comments are “uninformed opinions have no basis in fact.”  A City Hall official said Schulkin is not likely to be reappointed when his term is up at year’s end.  Schulkin addressed the controversy during a Board of Elections Committee meeting on Tuesday. He said he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body and claimed his secretly recorded videotaped comments were taken out of context.

BOE Commissioner Let Go Not for the Corrupt Incompetent Way the Agency is Run But for Claiming ID Program Was Creating Illegal Vote

Elections official caught blasting de Blasio’s ID program to be replaced (NYP) The Board of Elections commissioner who was caught in an undercover video alleging that the city’s municipal-ID program is contributing to voter fraud is leaving his post under fire, sources said Wednesday.  Alan Schulkin, the Democrat representing Manhattan at the BOE, was told by party leaders that he won’t be reappointed to another four-year term when his current term expires on Dec. 31. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

de Blasio's Pay to Play Dirty Money

More de Blasio Dirty Pay to Play Campaign Money from 2013 This One Came With Fake Names

Shady de Blasio Fundraiser Asked City Hall for HotelRezoning Help: Sources (DNAINFO) The night club impresario and beauty product wholesaler whose employees made suspicious donations to Bill de Blasio's campaign threw a fundraiser in 2013 for the future mayor under a bogus name and two years later met with City Hall officials about rezoning a Queens property that he wanted to turn into a hotel, DNAinfo New York has learned.  Sm-Ali "Alex" Amanollahi — whom DNAinfo wrote about last spring for his connection to possible straw donations and for losing money to accused fraudster Hamlet Peralta — co-hosted a fundraiser in October 2013 at a club under the name Alex Amano, sources said. In total Amanollahi, his employees, family and friends gave at least $55,000 to de Blasio's campaign and transition committee in 2013, records show.  Two years after the fundraiser, Amanollahi hit up City Hall officials with help in rezoning his property at 23-04 94th St. in East Elmhurst, sources said.  The rezoning discussions took place in 2015 and 2016. The talks involved Amanollahi, who was going by Alex Amano, meeting with deputy mayor Alicia Glen's chief of staff, James Patchett, and one of her senior advisors, Steven Caputo, at City Hall, according to sources. Amanollahi's decision to scrap his hotel plan also came around the time that the media began reporting about federal investigators looking into possible pay-for-favor schemes involving the NYPD and de Blasio's fundraising.  DNAinfo reported exclusively in May that federal investigators were also looking into straw donations made to de Blasio's campaign. In its report, DNAinfo identified two drivers for Primary One — Amanollahi's beauty product business in Glendale — who each contributed nearly $10,000 to de Blasio inside of two months.  At the time, when DNAinfo contacted one of the drivers, Rafael Zepeda, he initially acknowledged making the donations. But hours later, Zepeda, who lives in a modest third-floor walk-up in Corona, called DNAinfo to say he didn't make the contributions.  De Blasio's campaign recently made good on its promise to give up donations that were connected to Amanollahi. It handed over $37,150 in contributions from Amanollahi, his employees and his associates to the city's Campaign Finance Board on Oct. 19, 2016, records show.

de Blasio Sees Failing Schools As Pay to Play Cash Cows for Consultants

Pricey bureaucrats plague de Blasio’s program to fix failing schools (NYP) After keeping it secret for more than a year, the city Department of Education has finally revealed it employs at least 114 bureaucrats and “coaches” — making a combined $12.7 million a year and rising — to run Mayor de Blasio’s stumbling Renewal program to fix failing schools.  In response to a lawsuit by The Post charging Freedom of Information Law violations, the DOE turned over a list of 71 Renewal administrators and other staffers, most earning well over $100,000 annually.  However, the list failed to mention a $175,000-a-year superintendent and 42 “leadership coaches” and “ambassadors,” the DOE acknowledged Saturday. The Renewal crew oversees 86 of the lowest-achieving schools citywide — down from 94 when the program started two years ago. The DOE has closed or merged eight. Yet despite persistent poor performance, enrollment drops, safety problems and low student attendance, Renewal administrators got raises of 2.5 percent to 10 percent this school year, records show. As Renewal costs have risen, enrollment has dipped 16 percent, from 45,140 students in 2014-15 to 38,870 in 2015-16. “Parents with little confidence in Renewal schools are withdrawing their children, or not enrolling them,” Davids said.  Chronic absenteeism in Renewal schools was 43.4 percent in 2014-15 — a dismal stat exposed by The Post in July, after FariƱa falsely claimed that absenteeism was actually down.* Previewing Education Agenda for Re-Election Run, De Blasio Doesn't Focus on Charter Schools (NY1)

Slumlord Contributes to de Blasio and Campaign for One NY And Gets City Hall to Pass Tax Breaks for Billion Dollar Astoria Cove Project
Notorious slumlord a longtime deBlasio supporter (NYP) Efstathios “Steve” Valiotis ranked third in an annual Top 100 list of worst landlords tallied by Public Advocate Letitia James.  Records show that his Queens-based Alma Realty donated $5,000 to de Blasio’s nonprofit Campaign for One New York, while company officials chipped in another $5,525 to the mayor’s 2013 campaign fund.  Alma had 1,077 open violations with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and another 64 with the Buildings Department in eight buildings it manages around the city, according to James’ report. * City Councilapproves Astoria Cove with unanimous vote (Times Ledger) * Steve Valiotis Alma Realty | Astoria Cove Project (Real Deal)   A 1995 court decision reveals that Steve Valiotis, a principal of Astoria Cove developer Alma Realty, allegedly bribed representatives of a Greek bank to get a $5.7 million loan in 1990.* Lobbyists for Astoria Cove is Sid Davidoff 

DNAINFO Finds Another Pay to Play deB Contractor, Not Just About Rat Bags

Feds Probe De BlasioFundraiser Whose Engineering Firm Won Big Contracts (DNAINFO) A top bundler for Mayor Bill de Blasio is under federal investigation over his campaign fundraising and contracts the city awarded his environmental engineering firm, DNAinfo New York has learned. Manhattan federal prosecutors slapped Charles Hocking and his firm, Hazen and Sawyer, with subpoenas earlier this summer as part of their wide-reaching probe into the mayor and possible pay-to-play schemes, according to sources. Federal investigators have sought records connected to Hocking's donations to de Blasio, communications that Sawyer had with city personnel and contracts awarded to Hazen and Sawyer, the sources said. Hocking, the president of Hazen and Sawyer, raised more than $22,550 in campaign donations for de Blasio's 2013 mayoral run, campaign finance records show. The donations were all made two days after de Blasio won the Democratic primary. Nearly all of the 46 donations Hocking bundled were from Hazen and Sawyer employees, records show.  Earlier in the 2013 election season, Hocking had raised $20,700 in donations for mayoral contender Bill Thompson. After de Blasio won the general election, Hocking raised an additional $30,350 for his transition team. The majority of the money again came from Hazen and Sawyer employees, records show. Hazen and Sawyer, which specializes in controlling water pollution, has been awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in city contracts over the past three decades — and it has continued to win lucrative gigs in the past three years, records show.

Another Lobbyist Capalino de Blasio Pay to Play Fake Bid Central Park Bathhouse Contract Has Cause A Lawsuit  
De Blasio ethics stench hovers over Central Park boathouse (NYP) A restaurateur who lost out on the concession to run the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park — even though his offer was $19.5 million higher than the winner — is now suing the city, charging that he lost out to a bidder who should never have been involved in the process because he donated to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York. Robert Towers, who once ran the Bryant Park Grill, is suing the city to void the contract awarded to longtime Loeb Boathouse operator Dean Poll. The lakeside restaurant is among the city’s most popular wedding venues. Towers says in his Manhattan civil suit that Poll should have been disqualified from bidding for the 15-year concession, largely because he donated $10,000 to the mayor’s nonprofit, which is now shuttering amid an ethics probe, in what the state Board of Elections called a potential conflict of interest. The Post could not find a record of Poll donating to  The Campaign for One New York, but he did give $10,000 to the New York State Democratic Campaign Committee in October 2014. The State Board of Elections said in a January document that Poll’s donation to the committee may be a conflict of interest because it was made at the mayor’s behest while Poll had business before the city. Under city laws Poll “would not have been permitted to contribute more than $400…to the mayor directly,” according to the Board of Elections.  “Dean Poll’s donation to Mayor de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York can be characterized as one made to ‘pay-to-play’ to” continue running the Central Park landmark. Poll’s hiring of James F. Capalino Associates, a lobbying firm linked to de Blasio, coincided with the bid renewal process in late 2015 and early 2016, the suit says. That retention was prohibited by state law because Poll had a pending bid before the city at the time, according to court papers.m The Parks Department used “changed selection criteria” that “benefitted only Dean Poll” by downplaying his history of labor violations and underreported revenue. The Parks Department told Towers that Poll was the winning bidder even though Poll only offered a minimum $19.2 million in fees over 15 years to the city while Towers proposed $38.8 million.