Sunday, February 22, 2015

Cuomo After Silver's Arrest I See the Reform Light Again 977

What Do You Do After the Prosecutor Call You a Liar Distract 
Cuomo Plays The Weiner Penis Card
Gov. Cuomo deniesconnection between ending Moreland Commission, Silver charges: (NYDN)  'If Anthony Weiner shows his private parts, do you blame Obama?' 'If Anthony Weiner shows his private parts, do you blame Obama?’ Cuomo said in a New Yorker profile over accusations that he’s somehow to blame for the corruption scandal that led to Sheldon Silver’s resignation as Assembly Speaker.*NY prosecutor basically calls Governor Cuomo a liar (hotaid)* Former Rep. Anthony Weiner and a Cuomo administration spokesman traded barbs on Twitter after Weiner make a joke criticizing Cuomo’s decision to close the subway during a snowstorm in January, the Daily Newswrites:  *Gov. Cuomo Staffer Smacks Down Anthony Weiner on Twitter * Cuomo said he views ethics reform that would require lawmakers to disclose more information about private income as the “single toughest item” he will have to negotiate with legislators, Gannett Albanyreports:

Next: 50 Shades of Cuomo and Weiner Distraction

de Blasio and Cuomo Pay Not Attention To What Were Doing to Elect the Next Speaker

Flashback Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio denies back-room deals inmaneuver to make Melissa Mark-Viverito CityCouncil speaker   (12/13/2013, NYDN)

De Blasio staying out of fight for Assembly speaker(NYP) The city isn’t meddling in Albany’s closed-door power scramble to anoint a new speaker of the Assembly, Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday. During a chat with reporters, the mayor said. “I’m not talking to Assembly members at all,” said de Blasio, dispelling claims by some Albany insiders that he’s been promoting Carl Heastie of The Bronx to replace Silver.“The mayor desperately needs to have a friend in 
Albany,” said one lobbyist who works extensively in the capital. * Phil Reisman: “Twenty-nine days into January and already 2015 is shaping up as an annus horribilis for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. That’s Latin for a bad year.”

Cuomo Pass My Reforms or the Government Closes Down
SpeakerCandidate Carl Heastie Backs ‘First Steps’ Toward Albany Reform(NYO) If he’s elected by his colleagues to be the next speaker, Mr. Heastie vowed he would earn no outside income and would step down as Bronx County Democratic Chairman. He would also require a new dislcosure to account for “every dollar legislators earn outside of public service,” his press release said. And he’d consider making the legislature full-time—and as a result banning outside work. Mr. Heastie, in what a press release said were “first steps” to larger reforms, also promised to create an Office of Ethics and Compliance and to reform the Assmebly’s use of per diem reimbursements, which are meant to cover travel costs. 

Cuomo and Heastie Dancing to Different Reform Tunes
Mr. Heastie’s proposed Office of Ethics and Compliance would be organized by a three-member team of Assembly members who would find its first Executive Director, a person who would not be a lawmaker. As for per diem reform, Mr. Heastie vowed to “introduced new accountability and transparency measures” to the lax reimbursement system. That would include working with state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to beef up reporting requirements and oversight.* nNew York Governor Cuomo says he will not sign a budget without ethics reform. * Nolan says she could support term limits for the speaker's office.* Pushing Ethics Reforms, Cuomo Wants Lawmakers to Reveal Income or Lose It (NYT) Declaring that New York’s government faces a crisis of public trust, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposals include requiring lawmakers to fully disclose their outside income and public financing of campaigns.* Glick On Cuomo: We Didn’t Elect an Emperor(YNN) * UFT Targets Cuomo in New Ad (YNN) * JCOPE released a report detailing suggested changes to the state’s ethics and lobbying laws.* Cuomo’s effort to change teacher tenure rules got some positive attention…in California. *Pushing Ethics Reforms, Cuomo Wants Lawmakers to Reveal Income or Lose It (NYT)

Cuomo using state budget to push ethics reforms
Andrew Cuomo was'totally shocked' by Sheldon Silver's arrest (NYO) Cuomo To Legislature: Pass Ethics Reform In Budget Or Shut Down Gov’t(YNN)Cuomo is proposing a five-point plan that starts with what he said would be the strongest campaign disclosure rules in the nation – including revealing client lists from outside businesses, which he said are not protected, as lawmakers have claimed in court. The governor also called for a constitutional amendment that would end public pensions for elected officials found guilty of wrongdoing, an overhaul of the legislative per diem system, strict new rules prohibiting the personal use of political funds , (including, presumably, using this cash to pay for legal representation, which the governor himself is going), and enactment of a host of campaign finance fixes like closing the LLC loophole, (which he himself has used to great effect), lower contribution limits and creation of a publicly financed campaign system. * Andrew Cuomo was'totally shocked' by Sheldon Silver's arrest (NYO) * Shaken by corruption charges against Silver and other high-profile arrests in recent years, many lawmakers have become critical of JCOPE, questioning whether it has been effective or independent, the Journal reports:  * The delay caused by the Silver scandal could take its toll in the long term this session.* Cuomo’s ex-brother-in-law, Douglas Kennedy: “Does anybody need to tell (the governor) that he’s, you know, finished with national politics right now? He knows it. I mean – it’s just something you know.”* Cuomo Seeks Ethics Reform After Assembly Speaker’s Arrest(NYT)* Cuomo's "scolding tone signaled an abrupt shift for(gov) long known for his accommodating relationship" w lawmakers (NYT) * Cuomo using state budget to push ethics reforms(NYP)* Cuomo: Ethics Reform ‘More Important Than Anything Else’(YNN) * Cuomo said ethics reform is “more important than anything else” this legislative session, and suggested that his push to clean up Albany has nothing to do with his scuttling of the Moreland Commission, State of Politics reports * Reform hypocrites (NYP Ed) With Sheldon Silver out, the Albany air is now full of talk of “reform.” But let’s put this in context: Even after the news that Shelly was under federal investigation, only two people out of 150 in the Assembly spoke out against his continuing as speaker during a roll call vote re-electing him that was itself followed by a standing ovation. Then there’s Gov. Cuomo, now vowing to shut down the government if lawmakers don’t pass his reforms, which include requiring legislators to disclose their outside pay. This wasn’t his stand a year ago, when he shut down the Moreland Commission as part of a budget deal. The commission was knee-capped as lawmakers were fighting its demands they disclose their outside income and clients. The governor closed it in exchange for a tepid array of ethics “reforms” that didn’t go nearly as far as what the governor now tells us is necessary. Yet at the time he pronounced it a “satisfactory conclusion.” Remember, too, that the same governor pitching reform is part of the “three men in a room” culture that circumvents democratic debate and process.* Joint Commission on Public Ethics commissioners want to change rules that prohibit them from releasing investigative findings when no legal violation is found or when they opt not to probe a situation, The Times Union writes The Times Union editorial board writes that Cuomo will encounter resistance to ethics reforms in the Legislature, but they do not have sympathy for him because New York has long been waiting in vain for Albany to clean up its act:* State Senate Finance Chairman John DeFrancisco said Cuomo’s threat to shut down the government if ethics legislation is not in the state budget sets a negative tone for negotiations, State of Politics writes: * The five-point ethics program Cuomo wants in the state budget does not include the closure of the LLC loophole and the establishment of a publicly financed campaign system, the Times Union reports: * Thne TU’s Casey Seiler grapples with whether closing the LLC loophole is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ethics ultimatum to the Legislature. (Answer: It’s hard to tell, but seems like no).

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Corruption Real Estate and the Silver Indictment 960

The NY Media is Not Following Up the Silver Real Estate Corruption and Connections to Cuomo
Cuomo OfficialsDirected State Loan To Cuomo Donor At Center of CorruptionProbe(International Business Times) A careful review of state documents reveals that Cuomo and Silver are connected by a key figure in the scandal. Both lawmakers have a financial relationship with the same New York real estate mogul, Leonard Litwin, who has in turn relied upon them for preferential tax treatment and other government benefits. Silver is alleged to have benefited personally from Litwin’s spending -- and there is no dispute that Cuomo has benefited politically from that same largesse. Litwin contributed $1 million to Cuomo’s reelection campaign and another $500,000 to the New York Democratic Party, making him the largest political donor in the state. His money flowed through 27subsidiaries of his firm, Glenwood Management. Those subsidiaries were also clients of the real estate law firm that paid referral fees to Silver. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has alleged that Silver "induce[d] real estate developers with business before the state" to employ the law firm, which in turn made payments to Silver. The Cuomo-run New York State Housing Finance Agency, for instance, approved a $260 million state-supported low-interest loan in 2014 to finance Glenwood’s new luxury apartment building in midtown Manhattan. * Leonard Litwin, at the center of New York corruption scandals, could bringdown the entire Democrat establishment (BuffaloChronicle) Litwin contributed $1 million to Governor Cuomo’s reelection effort, and another $500,000 to the New York Democratic Party, The International Business News reports. The Cuomo-run New York Housing Finance Agency later approved a $290 million low interest loan in 2014 to finance new luxury apartment building in Midtown Manhattan. At the time the loan was being considered, NYHFA was headed by Bill Mulrow, a registered lobbyist for the Blackstone group, a massive private equity fund. Mulrow was just recently appointed to be Cuomo’s new Chief of Staff. It is rumored that abuse of power allegations against Attorney General Schneiderman are currently under federal investigation by the US Attorney’s office. Larry Schwartz called the Moreland Commissioners to stop them from subpoenaing the Real Estate Board of New York..

At the time the loan to Glenwood was approved, the NYHFA was headed by Cuomo appointee Bill Mulrow, an executive and registered lobbyist at Blackstone, a private equity and real estate firm. Mulrow was just appointed to be the governor’s chief of staff. According to NYHFA documents, Glenwood also has had other business with the agency. Similarly, Cuomo in 2011 signed Silver-backed legislation reauthorizing a then-expired property tax abatement for real estate developers called the 421a program. Cuomo also signed an extension of that program in 2013.

Times editorial lamenting NYC cost of housing a little like Larry Flynt doing a PSA for abstinence...
Litwin’s firm used the 421a program for its Midtown Manhattan project, according to the New York Times. Glenwood has also used the 421a tax break for some of its other properties in the city. In 2014, Cuomo shut down the Moreland Commission, an anti-corruption panel that was examining the relationship between lawmakers and the real estate industry. The governor’s top aide at time, Larry Schwartz, called commission members to stop them from subpoenaing the Real Estate Board of New York, of which Litwin is the lifetime “honorary chairman.” The 421a abatement, which costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues, is set to expire in 2015. The question of its renewal -- and Cuomo's support for its renewal -- is a flashpoint in this year’s legislative session in Albany. Already, some New York City lawmakers are calling for its repeal. * "Progressive" Gentrification: One Community'sStruggle Against Affordable Housing

How Real Estate Scam Worked in the Court
The indictment accuses Silver of steering billionaire developer Leonard Litwin, the state’s largest political donor, to the firm, along with another unnamed developer. In exchange, Silver reaped referral fees. The Goldberg firm handled tax appeals for 15 buildings owned by Litwin’s organization, Glenwood Management, and its limited liability companies, prosecutors said. Court records show that in one case that landed in Shulman’s court — involving a high-rise building on York Avenue — Glenwood won a $3.4 million reduction in the building’s assessment, which is used to determine its taxes.

Even as he ruled a vast state, it was always Grand Street that was his capital. And it was the clan he met there whose code he embodies
Litwin owns a rental building, The Fairmont — the same high-rise where Lippman and his wife rented a one-bedroom apartment between 2007 and 2010, The Post found. And Lippman’s son, Russell, a Harvard-educated lawyer, rented an apartment there between 2003 and 2005, public records show. Lippman, who earned $156,000 in 2010, moved into the rent-stabilized building in 2007 shortly after he was appointed presiding justice of the Appellate Division in Manhattan and was required to live in The Bronx or Manhattan. He had lived in Westchester. Bookstaver said Lippman paid market-rate rent of $3,195 for the apartment. He said Lippman rented at the Fairmont because he needed to move quickly and knew of the building because his son had lived there. He said Lippman did not know Litwin owned the property.

Weitz & Luxenberg, the law firm where Silver was “of counsel” until he was dumped last week, practically rules a special section of the court dealing with complex asbestos litigation. Critics say the firm gets the “red-carpet treatment” including a fast track, “better judges” and first dibs on jurors to hear its cases. Sherry Klein Heitler, the chief asbestos judge, as well as the top administrative judge at 60 Centre St., has handled dozens of the firm’s cases in what is called New York City Asbestos Litigation or NYCAL. Last year, at Weitz & Luxenberg’s request, Heitler reversed a 20-year rule barring punitive damages in asbestos cases, paving the way for much bigger jury awards. Of 15 mesothelioma verdicts in the last four years, Silver’s firm won $273.5 million of $313.5 million awarded by NYCAL juries. The average award for an NYCAL asbestos case — nearly $16 million per plaintiff between 2010 and 2014 — is reportedly two to three times larger than those in other courts nationwide. * Wayne Barrett: How Shelly Silver Made His Pal Chief Judge (Village Voice)* Four Charged in a Bribery Scheme to Gain Clients in Arraignment Court(NYT)  A worker who interviewed defendants was paid as much as $1,000 per client that he steered to three lawyers and a paralegal, prosecutors said.* The corruption charges against Silver reveal the rot that has plagued Albany and deserve more national attention for exposing the links between politicians and the asbestos-plaintiffs bar, the Journal writes:

Wayne Barrett Blows Up Silver's Gand Street Gang
Sheldon Silver'sgang (Wayne Barrett, NYDN) How the disgraced speaker put a tight network, including lifelong Lower East Side friends, in powerful places. Rudy Giuliani used to tell a story about a mob hit-man who blessed himself before each murder. It could be a metaphor for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who for two decades presented himself as the personally devout, politically principled leader of the most progressive slice of New York political life. Even if he eludes jail, as have previous indicted Albany kingpins, the criminal complaint filed against Silver marks the end of his era. When Shelly Silver met the man that the government says became his meal ticket, Dr. Robert Taub, in November of 2003, he was already looking for a new hook. Taub, who ran a Columbia University center for asbestos victims, would prove to be the perfect partner for Silver, whose personal injury law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, was the biggest asbestos litigator in New York. Silver needed a new partner because his brother, Dr. Joseph Silver, the orthopedic chief at Brooklyn's Methodist Hospital who'd been steering patients (albeit ones less lucrative than asbestos victims) to him, got cancer in 2003. After Joseph died in August 2004, the speaker began hosting a lecture in his brother's name at the hospital. * Silver, the outgoing Assembly speaker, was forced to leave the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, but that doesn’t mean his financial relationship with the firm is over, the Daily News reports: 

Lobbyists Working for Glenwood Management
Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin Llc $150,000
Carl Andrews & Associates, Inc. $ 144,000
Empire Strategic Planning, Inc. $ 144,000
Meara, Brian R. Public Relations, Inc. $120,000
Lieberman, Mark L. $90,000
Sanzillo, Francis J. & Associates $90,000
Runes, Richard $60,000

Park Strategies $20,000

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a swaggering press conference at his offices in Manhattan slammed Silver with a five-count complaint that portrayed the Democratic lawmaker as greedy and secretive
Federal charges appear to cite state's top political donorThe 100-year-old Litwin spent the most money on political donations during that time, as The Real Deal reported. Crain’s also made a connection between Litwin and the $900,000 Developer 1 paid to eight lobbying firms. The complaint also calls out another developer,* An unnamed firm described in the federal charges against Silver appears to be Glenwood Management, a Manhattan apartment developer owned by Leonard Litwin—the state’s largest political donor in the past decade,Crain’s reports:

Pitta Bishop Del Giorno Lobbyists for Litwin "Develper 1" in the Silver Indictment 
“Developer 2,” though this developer’s identity was not immediately clear. Together, 19 buildings owned by the two developers brought in more than 31 percent of Goldberg & Iryami’s revenue in 2011, according to the complaint. - See more at: * Skelos Won’t Weigh In On Whether Silver Should Resign(YNN) * Silver Charged On Five Counts(YNN) * Aubry: Conference Remains ‘Supportive’ Of Silver(YNN) * Successors Few And Far Between For Silver(YNN) * Silver Turns Himself In(YNN) * De Blasio: Sheldon Silver is a ‘man of integrity’(NYP)* * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested on federal corruption charges and accused of using his power to secure millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks for over a decade, The New York Times reports:
de Blasio Harder Albany Times The fallout of the Sheldon Silver arrest: a rougher time in Albany for @billdeblasio  * * Silver’s arrest could potentially cause a seismic shift in power with reverberations felt from the speaker’s home district on the Lower East Side to the grounds of the State Capitol, the Times reports: * Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty may disband, hand offservices to other groups: sources (NYDN)

Follow the Litwin Money to the Pols
Activists take aim at Litwin donations in report (TU) Hedge Clippers, a group supported by the Strong Economy for All Coalition, is out with a white paper on billionaire New York City developer Leonard Litwin and his political giving, $1.2 million of which has gone to Gov. Andrew Cuomo since 2008. The first of the group’s “Hedge Papers” outlines Litwin’s donations and dealings with various high-level elected officials, including Cuomo and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was arrested last month following an investigation that looked at, in part, alleged bribes he took from developers. One of the developers was identified by the New York Times as Litwin’s Glenwood Management, though the complaint filed by federal prosecutors against Silver does not explicitly name the firm. According to the report, Cuomo campaigns have received the largest amount of Litwin and Glenwood money between 2008 and 2015, totaling $1,214,200. The state Republican Committee ranked second at $807,500. The state Democratic Committee received $300,000. Rob Astorino, the former Republican candidate for governor, also received donations. The report shows that Friends of Rob Astorino, listed by the Board of Elections as his Westchester County executive account, $103,059. Also on the list of the top 50 recipients are various PACs, including the Neighborhood Preservation PAF ($493,150), the Real Estate Board PAC ($175,800) and Jobs for New York ($587,600), the Real Estate Board of New York-backed fund. The report also looks to draw a link between the contributions and 421a tax breaks backed by Cuomo that it has benefited from and a $260 million subsidized loan from the state Housing Finance Agency. As has been and is still being reported ad nauseum, New York City’s rent regulations are up in June, and the state Legislature controls what the new set will look like. Read the group’s white paper here. * Mystery “Developer 1″ in Silver case said to be Glenwood’s Leonard Litwin (Real Deal) * RE moguls gave 10 times more to Senate GOP than Dems (Real Deal) * Once again, real estate opens up its coffers for Cuomo(Real Deal)* Left Releases Litwin Dossier (YNN)

Silver's Secret Law Firm Is the Nexus For Albany's Real Estate Corruption and Brooklyn Gentrification
 “I have very strong feelings about Speaker Silver,” de Blasio told the assembled. In times when the ideas of our party, the ideas of the Democratic Party, the progressive ideals for what New York is historically known for, were under attack, Shelly stood firm and was often, in my view, the thin blue line that kept a rollback of our progressive ideals from happening.”* Chirlane McCray Misperceptions On My Roll, looking ahead to her second year as New York City's first lady, said there are public misperceptions about her role as de Blasio's policy partner, and she intends to fix that, Newsday writes: 

Will Progressives Accept Corruption for Results? "AssemblySpeaker Sheldon Silver has opened the door to a Legislature of kept men andconcubines." * At least 27 clients of Silver’s recently revealed second law firm received state-authorized real estate tax breaks, a Capital New York analysis has found. That they could even take advantage of the tax abatements in question is due in no small part to Silver, who has provided crucial support as speaker for the program that made those breaks available. * Clients of law firm eyed in Silver investigation got state tax breaks(NYP)* The ongoing investigation into Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s outside income should show lawmakers that they need to do more to clean up their own act and to treat their constituents with something approaching respect, the Buffalo News writes:

The downtown law firm eyed for making shadowy payments for a decade to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver represents more than two dozen clients that got state-backed tax breaks. The revelation comes a week after it was disclosed that federal agents are investigating Silver’s ties to the firm, Goldberg & Iryami, which prompted good-government groups and tenant advocates to slam the veteran lawmaker for an apparent conflict of interest. “The speaker has some explaining to do,” said Dick Dadey, director of Citizens Union. “This increasingly doesn’t look good. It’s one thing to not disclose income. It’s quite another to profit from your legislative service.” Goldberg & Iryami works for clients who have nearly 1,300 real-estate tax appeals pending, and at least 27 received some sort of state-authorized tax relief, Capital New York reported Monday. Another 3,500 petitions are being pushed by Jay Arthur Goldberg, the firm’s head, Silver, a Lower East Side Democrat who’s helmed the state Assembly since 1994, has been instrumental in pushing lower taxes for developers and reportedly made sure tax breaks for five luxury developments remained in a 2013 bill that later became law.* The odor of Albany(NYP Ed) Capital New York this week reports that at least 27 Goldberg & Iryami clients received state-authorized tax breaks, thanks to a program that was quietly inserted in a 2013 legislative housing bill by — who else? — Sheldon Silver.

Assmbly Dem just said on @CapitalTonight that this means we need "more disclosure" Y? If a certn someone doesnt follow the rules we now have
Top Albany Issues 2015 The new year'spolitical noisemakers (CrainsNY)* Legislature Returns To Altered Landscape(YNN) * Senate IDC And Mainline Dems Trade Blows(YNN) * Silver Cancels Annual Reception, Assembly To Honor Mario Cuomo(YNN)* The Daily News’Ken Lovett reports that while the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference will remain a caucus with funding and staff, it will no longer have a formal say on what bills can come to the floor for a vote: * State Sen. Martin Golden is backing Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan for Grimm’s seat despite a close working relationship with Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, another Republican who may run, the Observer reports:  *  State senators and Assembly members are returning to new political terrain in Albany this week—Republicans hold their first numerical majority since 2012, calling into question their power-sharing alliance with IDC, State of Politics reports * Sen. David Carlucci said working with Senate Republicans in the majority would be the best way to move the state forward and help his constituents in the Hudson Valley.

Albany's Tax Policies Pushing Blacks Out of Brooklyn Increasing Homelessness

 Silver’s actions aid clients of second firm(Capital) An examination of Silver’s record reveals he has regularly used his position as Speaker to help lower taxes for developers, several of whom have also employed his second law firm, Goldberg & Iryami, to secure lower city property tax assessments. Silver reportedly was the “anonymous benefactor who tucked” into a housing bill controversial 421a tax breaks for five luxury developments in 2013 despite fervent opposition from tenant-advocacy groups, according to the Daily News. The 421a program is meant to provide incentives for development on underused or unused land. The preliminary (and ultimately final) report of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption agreed with the Daily News' assessment, finding that the “waiver was the result of negotiations between real estate interests and the Assembly. Silver A Fake Tenant Hero ”When Silver’s Assembly has passed bills that have gained the support of tenants groups, they have often been symbolic one-house pieces of legislation that stood little chance of actual enactment. So, for example, when rent control came up for renewal in 2011, the Assembly passed a bill expanding tenant protections, even though the companion bill in the Republican-controlled Senate had little chance of passage since it was sponsored by a Democrat.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Add 4

Raging Gentrification is Creating A New Racial Divide in Crown Heights
Racially Charged Shouting Match Heats Up Crown Heights Rezoning Debate (DNAINFO) CROWN HEIGHTS — An already heated debate over possible new development rules in Crown Heightsturned into a racially charged shouting match Wednesday night. * The Community Board 9meeting — which was supposed to give the public a chance to discuss the shaping of a City Planning Department study about how the neighborhood should be rezoned —devolved into arguments after a local rabbi urged the community to leave race out of the conversation. Rabbi Eli Cohen of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council condemned “the rhetoric that’s gone out trying to [set] one neighbor against the other, one race against another, one religion against another," alluding to recent brochures and emails distributed by the activist groupMovement to Protect the People. * Crown Heights Tenants Ask for Repairs; Landlord Calls NYPD  (Independent) * * The Working Families Party is urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators to get rid of the 421-a tax abatement program, which it describes as a “senseless subsidy” to developers, the Daily News reports:

de Blasio State of the City: I Will Stop People From Being Forced Out By Gentrification
One such flier distributed at a CB9 meeting on Jan. 22 blamed “Uncle Toms,” “white developers” and the Jewish community for displacing black people in the neighborhood. During her public remarks several minutes later, Boyd forcefully reiterated her group's concern that land-use changes allowing for larger developments on major streets west of New York Avenue would displace those who live in the neighborhood now. *Two Views - Can New York's de Blasio Stop Gentrification? *de Blasio’s housing plan a heavy lift for Albany and NYers (NYDN) * A clash over an affordable housing project touted by Mayor Bill de Blasio at Sunnyside Yards in Queens has further strained his relationship with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the Timeswrites:  * It's now more expensive to rent in Queens than in Brooklyn, according to a report: (DNAINFO)* Bed-Stuy Rocked with Building Inspectors “On The Take” AsGentrification Grows (Our Times Press)

Council Drone Crap  Rather than wait for feds with the expertise and authority to work out regulations on drones, the New York City Council is pushing forward two “half-baked” bills to either ban or regulate them, the Daily News writes:  * The New York CityCouncil is over its head on drone ban (NYDN Ed) Local lawmakers should let the FAA do its job. Rather than wait for feds with the expertise and authority to work out details of this fast-emerging technology, a bill sponsored by Manhattan’s Daniel Garodnick, and with 14 cosponsors, would outright ban their use in the city. Even the NYPD would need to apply for a warrant each time it wanted to use one. It would also destroy “the decades-old, family-oriented and community-based recreational activity” of model airplaning, a hobbyist group has warned Garodnick in a letter.

Another Kind of Ticket Fixing Cop Pleas Guilty to Conspiring to Kill A Witness  
Former Officer Admits Crimes in Bronx Ticket-Fixing Scandal(NYT)  Jose Ramos, previously sentenced to more than 12 years in prison, received an additional three to nine years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to kill a witness.* José Ramos, the disgraced former Bronx cop at the center of a massive NYPD ticket-fixing scandal, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a slew of charges—including conspiring to kill a witness, the Post reports:   * Ticket-fix cop pleads guilty to conspiring to kill a witness(NYP)

The Reform Party Is Born  
The “Stop Common Core” ballot line that received enough votes in the Nov. 4 elections for permanent ballot status is changing its name to the “Reform Party” and will broaden its focus to include an array of issues, Gannett Albany reports

The Daily News Left Out the Role the Unions Played In de Blasio's 2013 Election
The Communication Workers Of America Family 
The Lobbyist for the Family is the Advance Group

The Advance Group is under investigation for breaking the law this election in 2013 by working for both candidates as well as independent expenditures PACs they controlled backing them, which is barred by federal law, and allowing staffers with the firm to provide unpaid assistance to Melissa Mark-Viverito’s successful campaign for City Council Speaker–allegedly breaking city ethics rules to gain leverage for future lobbyist clients.* Complaint Filed Against Advance Group for Election Work(NYO) * De Blasio accused of coordinating with anti-Quinn Super PAC(NYP) 

NYC Elected Officials No Opinion On Cops Turning Their Back to the Mayor

Elected Officials and A Lot of the Media Off Facebook and Twitter Has Kim Hacked Their Accounts?

 Top elected officials, including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, have declined to say whether it was appropriate for police to turn their backs on de Blasio during an officer’s funeral, the Daily News reports: 

Everyone Thinks Lawmakers Are Bums
A Quinnipiac poll found just 8 percent of New York voters would be interested in spending New Year’s Eve with either de Blasio or Cuomo, while 37 percent would toast champagne with Hillary Clinton, the Observer reports:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Speaker Heastie 371

Assemblyman Marcos Crespo is favored to succeed Heastie as Bronx Democratic Party chairman, but his record – including a “no” vote on same-sex marriage and the Women’s Equality Act – has rankled some progressives.

More Metro-North stations, an infrastructure overhaul and a new golf course are some of the initiatives that Bronx officials are lobbying Carl Heastie to bring to fruition in his new role of New York state Assembly speaker.

Bharara the 4th Man in the Room Puts On the Pressure to Change Will They Resist?
It’s the same-old relay at the New York Assembly(NYP) Banish any nagging doubts that new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie isn’t up to the job. He assumes his thronebearing an endorsement from none other than the disgraced Sheldon Silver, who declares Heastie “a good man.” Well, then, off we go into the brave new world of Albany make-believe. Out with the old, in with the old. Heastie, of The Bronx, is a creature of the crooked system Silver created. From rewarding donors to skirting the rules on per-diem claims and spending campaign cash for personal use, the new boss followed the lead of the old boss. He got ahead by going along. Still fearful of him, or perhaps having something to hide, most lawmakers remained silent over the corruption charges, saying only that Silver’s predicament is a “distraction.” They pass no judgment because . . . why? In a speech on Silver’s last day as speaker, Cuomo rolled out proposed ethics changes that were greeted with polite yawns. And his threat not to sign a budget unless legislators approved those changes echoed his flawed approach to the Moreland Commission. 

He huffed and puffed for four years about invoking the Moreland Act’s subpoena power before he actually did it, then abruptly pulled the plug in a deal with the Legislature. That trade-off is one of the things federal prosecutors are examining, in part because the Moreland panel was on to a number of crooked lawmakers when Cuomo disbanded it. But Cuomo said all this many times before, going back to his 2010 campaign. Last year, he told me he was as “serious as a heart attack” about using Moreland to “follow the money” and connect the dots, yet punted just as investigators got close to pay dirt. Worse, he has refused to explain fully why he backed down, or admit it was a mistake. Remember, absent federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, Silver still would be speaker and three-men-in-a-room negotiations over a budget still would be accepted as the way Albany works. Whether Cuomo realizes it or not, Bharara changed the equation, first with his charges against Silver, and second by mocking the idea that the state should be treated like a fiefdom. 

“When did 20 million New Yorkers agree to be ruled like a triumvirate in Roman times?” the prosecutor asked in a subsequent speech.* New Speaker in Albany: A Skilled Operator, Embracing Change(NYT) Carl E. Heastie says he hopes to reform the almost czarlike system in which the Assembly is ruled by its speaker, though his political career would seem to make him better suited to thrive in that environment.* Excerpts From Carl Heastie's Speech (NYT) * Will A Tammany Hall Boss Be Able to Clean Up Albany Corruption, INC,  Will He Try beyond PR Spin? Stay Tuned?* Speaker Carl Heastie: ‘Three Men in a Room’ Is ‘Overstated’(NYO)* In-depth on the background of the new speaker, Carl Heastie.The speaker from Baychester  via @capitalnewyork * Assemblyman Carl Heastie was officially elected the first black speaker in the chamber’s more than 200-year history. He spoke for almost eight minutes after his formal ascension, and said that was the longest speech he had ever given. * He kicked off his tenure in the leadership post by angering reporters with an unusually short press conference. The new speaker returned to take more questions after LCA members protested that two minutes was too short a period in which to ask him anything significant. * Heastie’s first word after becoming speaker was: “Wow.” (Actually, he said that twice). He followed that up with a pledge to reform the chamber and also to push for pay raises for its member. * The new speaker pledged to bring a more inclusive leadership style to the chamber, insisting that even as Bronx Democratic chairman he “didn’t just give out marching orders.” * Michael Goodwin is not impressed by Heastie, and he calls the governor a reform of “last resort.”* The TU says Cuomo’s ethics plan is “incomplete,” and suggests lawmakers one up him by making it better, instead of complaining about his hardball tactics.* Testifying before a joint legislative budget hearing, NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina criticized Cuomo’s teacher evaluation plan, which relies more heavily on test results than before.Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday doubled down on his “all or nothing” demand of the Legislature when it comes to ethics reform, saying he needs lawmakers to approve the“whole loaf” of what he’s proposing, or risk a late budget – the first since he took office in January 2011.Wow  A 1995 Daily News story describes Heastie as a “bright newcomer” among Seabrook’s Bronx entourage, a group that included Al Sharpton, future City Council candidate Larry Warden, district leader Al DeCastro, and members of the nonprofit Seabrook controlled, the Northeast Bronx Redevelopment Corporation (NEBRC). Heastie is described in the article as Seabrook’s campaign treasurer, and the bookkeeper for the NEBRC. The speaker from Baychester(Capital)In 1996, Carl's mother Helene suffered a stroke that left her partly paralyzed, a spokesman said. Shortly afterward, Carl R. Heastie fell ill, and suddenly died. In 1997, Helene, then working as an executive director of the nonprofit neighborhood advocacy group the Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Center, was arrested by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office on charges she’d pocketed $197,000 of the organization’s funds. She pled guilty and was ordered to pay restitution, but died soon after. In 2000, Heastie made his own, successful bid for Assembly. Wednesday PM  Newly elected Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is vowing to make a clean break from his predecessor and is pushing ethics legislation, including a cap on outside income and scaling back per diems, State of Politics reports: * As Cuomo seeks a new teacher evaluation law and a strengthening of charter schools, the governor said today in Rochester that he respects teachers and their work, State of Politicsreports * Heastie received 102 votes to replace Sheldon Silver as speaker, while 40 Republican lawmakers backed Minority Leader Brian Kolb and three were listed as having voted for “neither” choice, State of Politics reports * The Assembly Democrats who either didn’t vote for Carl Heastie for speaker or weren’t present for the vote explain themselves, (with the exception of Assemblywoman Deborah Glick).*There’s a Sheldon Silver cameo in David Axelrod’s memoir.* When a group of Assembly members met last month to consider the fate of Sheldon Silver, they turned to a new member from Long Island to assess the strength of federal corruption charges against their longtime leader: former Eastern District prosecutor Todd Kaminsky. * Courting reform (Riverdale Press)* Carl Heastie isn’t just the first black Assembly speaker in New York history. He’s also one of the most liberal state lawmakers in the nation, according to an analysis by two political scientists. * Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “Is Heastie going to have as much confidence and control of the conference as Silver did? Shelly’s control was unbelievable.”

Seabrook also requested funding for another organization with a checkered past, the Northeast Bronx Redevelopment Corporation, which also uses the address of 1530 East 222nd Street, where the chamber was initially incorporated. In 2006, the City revoked money allocated to the group to construct a hip-hop museum in The Bronx after an audit by small business services uncovered “unsatisfactory performance,” causing the group to be “red-flagged.”

  1. Assemblyman Carl E. Heastie Reports to the People ...
New York State Assembly
Jun 30, 2008 - Assemblyman Carl E. Heastie and Councilman Larry Seabrook have secured $1 million in capital construction funding for the Tilden Towers II ...

Start with Heastie’s home political club, the Northeast Bronx Community Democrats, which was founded and run by Larry Seabrook, a mentor and predecessor of Heastie’s who served in the Assembly, state Senate and City Council before ending up in federal prison, where he is currently serving a five-year sentence for steering millions in public funds to friends, family members and nonprofit groups that did little or no good for the Bronx.

WHAT ABOUT THETHREE MEN IN A ROOM? By State Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz * Diaz: What’s good for the ethics goose … * Newly-minted Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie more or less shrugged off Cuomo’s ultimatum. The Bronx Democrat said he has no problem discussing ethics reform in the context of the budget, and does not expect the Legislature to miss the mandated April 1 deadline because of it. But some of Heastie’s members are not so sanguine. Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, (who had questioned the speed with which Heastie rose to power), said on CapTon two nights ago that Cuomo is not an “emperor” and should not be stuffing so much policy into the budget, where state lawmakers have little power to impact it.* With Silver Out, Ethics Legislation Pushed To Front Burner(YNN)* Heastie History(YNN) * Changing the Guard (YNN) * Assembly SpeakerCarl Heastie keeps key aides of Sheldon Silver (NYDN)
Heastie has retained some of Silver’s key aides, including Counsel James Yates and Program and Policy Secretary Lou Ann Ciccone. A Democrat close to the new speaker said Heastie has kept the right people to help him in his new role. In addition, former Assemblyman Roberto Ramirez has been active in helping Heastie with his transition to speaker, insiders say.

Will A Tammany Hall Boss Be Able to Clean Up Albany Corruption, INC . . . Will He Try?
He put Heastie to shame. When the trauma of Silver’s arrest was fresh, the Assembly’s ruling Democrats set a vote on a successor for Feb. 10 to give candidates a chance to make their cases and to allow the Assembly to check into their backgrounds. Regardless, Heastie, who serves as Bronx Democratic boss, joined forces with the Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan party leaders in pummeling Assembly members to back him. Now that he has them sewn up, he wanted an immediate coronation and he is going to get it. So much for an open, rules-based process. Most shocking, in an era when lawmakers have been arrested at the rate of one every five months, and at a time when Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has warned New Yorkers to “stay tuned” for more, Heastie sees no culture of corruption in the capital. “I think it’s isolated to a few bad apples,” he said, offering an assessment all the more frightening because Heastie is no boob. It now falls to Cuomo to take charge. In addition to full disclosure of outside income, he would amend the state constitution to strip government pensions from convicted officials; crack down on expense padding; ban the use of campaign funds for personal expenses; and enact the strongest campaign-finance disclosure in the nation.* Errol Louis: Carl Heastie’s shady associates (NYDN) Start with Heastie’s home political club, the Northeast Bronx Community Democrats, which was founded and run by Larry Seabrook, a mentor and predecessor of Heastie’s who served in the Assembly, state Senate and City Council before ending up in federal prison, where he is currently serving a five-year sentence for steering millions in public funds to friends, family members and nonprofit groups that did little or no good for the Bronx. * Heastie’s rapid rise to the speaker’s post suffered an unforeseen bump in the last several days when a number of news stories called attention to his campaign spending and the amount of money he has taken from the government to cover work-related travel and expenses. But initial indications were that the reports had had little impact on his popularity among the Assembly’s rank and file.* Cuomo unveils ethics reforms for pols, threatens to block budget until they’re in place (NYDN)  The Bronx Democrat told the Daily News Editorial Board that he thinks 'it’s isolated to a few bad apples.' Assembly Democrats formally made Heastie their choice for speaker on Monday.* Uber lobbyist/consultant Roberto Ramirez, a former assemblyman from the Bronx, is on hand for the @CarlHeastie coronation.

Will Schlein, Vargas and Other Join Forces With Albany Corruption, INC?
An even more urgent question surrounds Heastie’s newer pals. As News columnist Juan Gonzalez recently noted of Heastie: “He’s surrounded himself over the years with some advisers for whom the word ‘sleazy’ would be a compliment.” One close ally, Stanley Schlein — who Heastie says he speaks to every day — was fined $15,000 by the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board after admitting to using his position as chairman of the city’s Civil Service Commission to illegally force public employees to run parts of his private law practice. Another crony, Howard Vargas — a Heastie staff member who doubles as the lawyer for the Bronx Democratic Party — runs a lucrative side business as a court-appointed receiver who’s supposed to take over distressed multifamily properties when landlords fall down on the job. But as a blistering Riverdale Press editorial pointed out in 2013: “With Mr. Vargas as the receiver, five buildings have been added to the city’s list of most distressed properties . . . while Mr. Vargas collects up to 5% of their rent. Despite his troubling performance, 

What Roll Will the Private Tammany Play With Heastie?
Eric Soufer who works for Risa Heller Communications who represents companies like Airbnb was listed as spokesperson for Heastie in a news story this week.  Heller guests on Louis's NY1 show was not part of his article today in the Daily News
Mr. Vargas never seems to have trouble landing more appointments.” And why should he? Like other county Democratic bosses, Heastie largely controls who gets the party’s nod for judgeships, and those judges hand out receiverships to favored insiders like Vargas. In 2009, reporter Tom Robbins noted, the Bronx judicial convention, where candidates get selected, was run by none other than Schlein. It could be that Heastie is an honest man who happens not to inquire too deeply into the ethics and behavior of the people around him.But the leader of a scandal-scarred institution has to create — and enforce — a much higher standard. And members should ask questions and demand that Heastie raise the ethical bar. They should heed the words of Joseph Lentol, the 72-year-old Brooklyn Assembly veteran in his 22nd term who hoped to become speaker, but dropped out when he realized his colleagues wouldn’t support his bid. “I thought I was the clean candidate, but that didn’t seem to matter,” Lentol said in a rueful radio interview, reported on by The New York Observer. It does matter. If the Assembly Dems haven’t figured that out by now, our state is in much more trouble than we think.* Worst illegal hotels in city to be revealed in report(NYDN)

You Got to Love It When Those With No Morals Under Silver Get Ethics Now
Glick: ‘Troubling Questions’ Should Push Back SpeakerVote (YNN) In an email newsletter released to constituents on Monday, Manhattan Assemblywoman Deborah Glick called for a vote on the next speaker to be pushed back to Feb. 10, the originally scheduled election date, after “troubling questions” have been raised over the process. Glick appears to be alluding to scrutiny that has been placed on the front runner to replace Sheldon Silver as speaker: Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie. Veteran Assemblywoman Wants to Keep Speaker Voteon February 10 (NYO)* The Assn. for a Better New York, composed of real estate and business machers in NYC, just blessed Carl Heastie's #nyassembly speaker bid.

Heastie Took Away Indicted Scarborough Committee Chairmanship . . .  Keeps Silver's Leadership Team
Indicted assemblymantemporarily loses committee chairman post(NYDN) New Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has removed indicted Assemblyman William Scarborough as chairman of the chamber's small business committee. Scarborough was replaced on a temporary basis by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. If Scarborough his cleared of state charges that the he used more than $38,000 in campaign funds for his own personal benefit. The stipend for the committee chairmanship is $12,500. Thiele will not get the stipend since he already has another leadership post. * Heastie’s Assembly lists leadership posts (Capital). Heastie retained Herman Farrell (D-Manhattan) to run the Assembly’s Budget Committee and Majority Leader Joe Morelle (D-Rochester) to run the day-to-day operations of the Assembly, jobs that come with $34,000 stipends. Heastie also kept Assembly members Joe Lentol (D-Brooklyn), Cathy Nolan (D-Queens), and Keith Wright (D-Manhattan) in place as heads of the Codes, Education and Housing committees, even though they ran against him.*Only one member (temporarily) lost his committee chairmanship, which came with a $12,500 stipend: Assemblyman William Scarborough, who has been indicted on state and federal corruption charges, no longer heads the Small Business Committee.* A surprise fromSpeaker Carl Heastie (NYDN Ed)  In a good move out of the gate, the new Assembly boss sets a new policy and sidelines an indicted committee chair

Skelos Asks Cuomo for Help Against Heastie Insiders say state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos expects tough fights with new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and is turning to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who will not be supportive, the Post’s Fredric Dickerreports "Rumors persist that Skelos won’t be GOP leader for much longer and is eyeing retirement at the end of next yr."If Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is looking for an ally in the governor against the uber-progressive agenda laid out by new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, he’s looking in the wrong place, according to Fred Dicker. Heastie College Access Hoping to boost college access for low- and middle-income New Yorkers, Heastie outlineda series of initiatives his chamber will prioritize in the upcoming state budget talks. Though he supported the Education Investment Tax Credit in the past, he’s now re-evaluating based on his new position.* Minority caucus touts Heastie (TU) New Assembly speaker brings diversity to leadership, members say* As the state Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators looks to make its mark on state policy this year, one of its own – Heastie – holds one of the three most powerful jobs in Albany.* Public Financing Lobby On The Sidelines For Now(YNN) * Sheldon Silver Says He SteppedDown For 'Good of the Institution'(JP Jewishpress) * DiNapoli: Conversations Underway On Per Diem Reform (YNN) * Cuomo Gifts Heastie With A Ceremonial Gavel(YNN) * Heastie removed his name as a sponsor from all state legislation, including a mixed martial arts bill, a move a spokesman said is intended to minimize undue influence on members, the Daily News reports:  Pay Us More Not to Rip Off the Per Diem Pay? State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said he is discussing reforms to the per diem system for state lawmakers with Heastie and that it could be part of a legislative pay raise, State of Politics reports:   * Cuomo has begun his second term with little of the presidential buzz that attended his first year in office, as reflected in declining poll numbers and lackluster memoir sales, the Times Union reports: * In his letter of resignation from the speaker’s post, Assemblyman Sheldon Silver said he stepped down for the good of the institution.

Heastie Black Agenda and the Sharpton Stop 
Sharpton defends three men in a room: "Don't talk about breaking up the trio now. We just got in the trio." 

Assembly SpeakerCarl Heastie hopes to boost college access for low, middle income New Yorkers (NYDN) Speaking at a City University luncheon at the state Capitol complex, Heastie said the Assembly Democrats will push for creation of a state DREAM Act to provide public tuition assistance money to the college kids of undocumented immigrants.

New York’s New Assembly Leader Vows to Aid Blacks(NYT)  At a rally in Harlem, Carl E. Heastie, the first African-American speaker of the New York Assembly, cited reforming the criminal justice system as one of his goals. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our community,” Mr. Heastie said at a rally hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton in Harlem. As speaker, Mr. Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, will join the governor and the State Senate majority leader as Albany’s “three men in a room” who negotiate the state budget and other important matters. “All of you are going to be sitting at that table with me for the first time in history,” Mr. Heastie said at the headquarters of Mr. Sharpton’s National Action Network. He cited reforming the criminal justice system as one of his goals.* Sharpton: "You respected Shelly Silver. You gave him deference. And you're going to show the same respect to Carl Heastie." * Carl Heastie on WBLS right now comparing the "3 men in a room" concept to how the President does business in D.C.* New York Speaker Calls Stronger Rent Laws His Top Priority(NYT)In his first public appearance with Mayor Bill de Blasio since being elected Assembly speaker, Carl E. Heastie allied himself with Mr. de Blasio’s tenants’-rights efforts.* * Newly elected Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced the appointments of two key staffers to handle budget issues—Blake Washington and Philip Fields, State of Politicsreports:  The Observer takes an in depth look at Heastie and whetherhe will be able to step out of the shadow of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and hold his own during budget negotiations with Cuomo* Allowing lawmakers to have an outside income but requiring full disclosure of the job would be a far simpler way to clean up Albany, instead of a full-time legislature, which would allow a significant pay raise, the Postwrites:

Speaker Heastie Lobbyists Pals MirRam Groups Pushes Predatory Lending Targeted to Minoritie
Industry group cashes in with Heastie lobbyist(CrainsNY)A lobbying firm with close ties to new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and many other minority politicians has been retained to push a controversial bill that would allow check cashers to make high-interest loans, records show. In December, the MirRam Group was hired by Financial Service Centers of New York, an industry group, for $10,000 a month to push check cashers' bill in Albany. Mr. Heastie, D-Bronx, then became speaker—a development that clients of MirRam may see as a stroke of luck. MirRam co-founder Roberto Ramirez, a former assemblyman and Bronx Democratic leader, is reportedlyhelping Mr. Heastie with his transition. Mr. Heastie had in 2013 sponsored the check cashers' legislation, which the Daily News called "horrendeous" and which was also opposed by Benjamin Lawsky, the Cuomo administration's chief banking regulator. MirRam is particularly influential among minority elected officials in Manhattan and the Bronx. Mr. Lawsky, who heads the Department of Financial Services, has said the check cashers' bill would legalize predatory lending, which he is trying to eradicate.*  NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito's "HonestGraft"? (* Will Carl Heastie Be His Own Man or a SheldonSilver Clone? (NYO)

The newly picked speaker of the state Assembly, Carl Heastie, met with @TheRevAl Saturday (Newsday) Sharpton on how black New Yorkers view Heastie: "If you mess with Carl, you’re messing with us”* Sharpton: "Even in my rebel medallion had Martin Luther King on it. I didnt have Che Guevara.” * "A de Blasioaide said Mr. Sharpton wasn't central to the conversation between the mayor andthe union chiefs." (WSJ) * Al Sharpton on Carl Heastie: "He doesn't holler loud like me, but he ain't no punk, I want y'all to know that." * Assembly SpeakerCarl Heastie aided nonprofit that stopped filing taxes before going bankrupt (NYDN) The Bronx Business Alliance stopped filing tax forms after the 2008-09 tax year, reporting a $34,000 deficit. Nevertheless, Heastie kept sponsoring funding for the group.* After a late State of the State address and an Assembly leadership roller coaster, state government appears to be back on track with a month of session already past. In that time, the state Senate, a house known for its own turmoil in recent years, has plugged away, acting as a rudder for legislative action.* "I'll lean whichever way the conference leans"-Assembly Speaker Heastie on rules re legislators' outside income 

No Transparency In Communications Between de Blasio and Sharpton
"City Hall took6 months to produce just 1 exchange totaling 11 words.” (NYP) Nothing in writing!Although Mayor de Blasio and Rev. Al Sharpton are close confidants who are said to speak regularly and at length on the phone, it seems they want to circumvent scrutiny by avoiding e-mail. When The Post asked for all correspondence between the two from the time the mayor took office on Jan. 1, 2014, until early last August, City Hall took six months to produce just one exchange totaling 11 words.Sharpton refused to talk about how he talks to the mayor. The Mayor’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.

Heastie Got $26,000 From the Trial Lawyers 
 His final grant was for $115,000 in 2009-2010, and other politicians directed hundreds of thousands of dollars more in 2010-2011. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie steered more than $600,000 to a Bronx nonprofit that had no official board, filed no tax forms for years while receiving taxpayer funding and ultimately went bankrupt. The Bronx Business Alliance stopped filing tax forms after the 2008-09 tax year, reporting a $34,000 deficit.bankrupt The Bronx Business Alliance stopped filing tax forms after the 2008-09 tax year, reporting a $34,000 deficit. Nevertheless, Heastie kept sponsoring funding for the group. His final grant was for $115,000 in 2009-2010, and other politicians directed hundreds of thousands of dollars more in 2010-2011.* ‘Call me': De Blasio and Sharpton’s single email exchange(NYP)* "City Hall took six months to produce just one exchangetotaling 11 words." (NYP)

Assembly SpeakerCarl Heastie's mentor once targeted by federal corruption investigation (NYDN) Prosecutors were probing whether employees at a nonprofit Bronx politician Larry Seabrook controlled and funded with taxpayer dollars were forced to work on his 1994 campaign for Assembly. ‘Call me': De Blasio and Sharpton’s single email exchange (NYP)Ruben Diaz Jr. slips Carl Heastie cash at Sharpton event(NYP) But it wasn’t your typical Albany payoff. It was just Diaz trying to save his fellow Dem from looking ungenerous. The two pols were seated next to each other on stage when Sharpton, as he usually does after his Saturday speeches, called out for handouts like an auctioneer. As people began tossing money into a wicker collection basket in front of the stage, the new speaker seemed to come up empty-handed.* Reading tea leaveson new speaker (CrainsNY) Though not a prodigious bill writer, he once sponsored legislation to let check-cashers make high-interest loans. Bill proponents donated $10,000 to the Bronx Democratic Party that Mr. Heastie led; Mr. Heastie has said that had no effect on him. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's chief banking regulator, Benjamin Lawsky, helped kill the bill, arguing that poor people would be sucked into debt.Heastie Keep Rent Laws De Blasio, Heastie meet to discuss rent reform  * Heastie, de Blasio promise to extend rent regulations(NYDN)* New Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has retained the staff from his predecessor Sheldon Silver and is expected to keep them on at least through the transition and budget talks, the Post reports: * * De Blasio and Heastie said they sought to strengthen rent regulation laws up for renewal in Albany, which the speaker called his “number one priority,” the Times reports: * New Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio met yesterday at Ebbets Field Apartments in Brooklyn to discuss the urgent need to renew and strengthen rent regulations this legislative session and for more effective enforcement against violating rent laws.* Heastie vows affordable housing will be his top priority(NYP)* * State Sen. John Flanagan questioned the push to prohibit lawmakers from earning an outside income and asserted that New York would be the only state to have such a measure in place, State of Politicsreports:

Heastie Flack Comments On the Felony Conviction of His Mother 
Carl Heastie addresses mom's felony embezzling conviction: 'a sad chapter' (NYDN) Helene Heastie pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree grand larceny after her arrest for embezzling $197,000 from a nonprofit in the mid-1990s. The new speaker of the Assembly had remained silent about the incident until a statement issued Friday by his spokesman.  In his first public comments on this incident, Heastie (D-Bronx) addressed what he dubbed “a sad chapter” in his life in a statement issued Friday by his spokesman Michael Whyland in response to questions from the Daily News. “The lessons imparted to the speaker over the course of a lifetime, including this painful and sad time for his family, included owning up to mistakes and taking responsibility,” Why land stated.  The DA charged she and a co-worker systematically raided the charity’s bank accounts to pay off credit card debt and make personal purchases. They used a rubber stamp of the charity’s board chairman, a local judge, to authorize checks, including for $5,877 worth of furniture for Helene Heastie's home in the Bronx.* Heastie made his first public comments on a “sad chapter” in his life in which his mother was arrested and convicted in the mid-1990s on charges of looting a taxpayer-funded nonprofit that was supposed to help the elderly and sick.

Heastie made his first public comments on his mother’s conviction of embezzling $197,000 from a nonprofit that provided home health care to Medicare and Medicaid recipients
When a co-worker at Southeast Bronx tipped off the chairman to the ruse, Helene Heastie and the co-worker were terminated in November 1995 and arrested in April 1997. On Friday, Whyland called the arrest “a sad chapter in the speaker’s life,” made worse by debilitating illnesses afflicting both his mother and father at the time. On Sunday, The News reported Heastie sponsored more than $600,000 for a Bronx nonprofit that had no official board, stopped filing tax returns while receiving some of that money, and went bankrupt. Heastie responded, “It was a group that did good work. We give the documentation, but it’s really up to the regulatory agencies to follow through on their paperwork. I didn’t have any involvement in the day-to-day operations. But I will say this, I would expect any organization that gets public funding should follow with the documentation.” The News also reported that Carl Heastie was the bookkeeper of another Bronx nonprofit in the mid-1990s that was the subject of a federal corruption probe over the misuse of funds. Workers at the nonprofit, which was funded and controlled by Heastie’s mentor, Bronx politician Larry Seabrook, had come forward to say they’d been forced to work on Seabrook’s political campaign while on the nonprofit’s clock. Besides being the nonprofit’s bookkeeper, Heastie was also treasurer of Seabrook’s campaign. On Friday, Heastie said he had no knowledge of the nonprofit’s workers doing double duty on the campaign, emphasizing that he was a part-time bookkeeper and saying he merely filed Seabrook’s campaign disclosure documents with the state. No charges resulted from that probe, but in a later investigation of the same nonprofit, after Heastie was in the Assembly and no longer its bookkeeper — Seabrook was indicted and convicted of looting the nonprofit.* * State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said his Republican conference and Cuomo are discussing ethics reform and that there needs to be “full transparency” in state government, State of Politics reports * The IDC is taking a hardline approach to non-legislative income in its new ethics reform package, calling for a complete ban.

Fun facts: #ShellySilver dislikes Stanley Schlein. Bill Clinton, Bill de Blasio, Rev Al Sharpton & I have used Schlein as an elex lawyer.

 Carl Heastie's first weekend as NYS Assembly speaker & what's first thing on his schedule? Obeisance to Sharpton.

More on Speaker Heastie

Daily News New King Heastie Same As the Old King Silver
Heastie’s inability to recognize that the Assembly and the rest of Albany need fundamental change makes Cuomo insistence that he won’t sign the budget without key reforms
Assembly Democrats:They've learned nothing from Sheldon Silver scandal (NYDN Ed) The new boss in Albany, Carl Heastie, settles all too comfortably into his predecessor's secrecy. The new boss in Albany sees no evil and hears no evil. New Yorkers can only pray that, with Carl Heastie as speaker, members of the state Assembly will do no evil. Count on dashed hopes. Heastie has not the slightest interest in, nor an instinct for, transparent governance. His inability to recognize that the Assembly and the rest of Albany need fundamental change makes it all the more welcome that Gov. Cuomo has drawn a line in the sand, declaring that he won’t sign the budget without key reforms. Topping Cuomo’s list is full disclosure of members’ outside income, including who’s paying and for what work. * Neither snow nor rain, nor gloom spread by prosecutors stopped the Assembly from business as usual—abandoning even the facade of a vetting process for its new leader, Heastie, Newsday writes * Process For Speaker Conducted Behind The Scenes (YNN)

Where Are the Reforms? 

The New Mob Boss Speaker Will Be As Corrupt As the Mob Boss Silver

The bottom line is that Silver wasn’t the cause of Albany’s dysfunction – but merely its biggest symptom. There’s nothing stopping the next Speaker from launching a law practice or a political consulting firm and then covering his client list with a legal veil of secrecy that might only be lifted if an investigator with subpoena powers comes along. Albany needs lobbying reform before the new speaker is picked.
“He’s angered the Republicans in the Senate [by supporting Democrats in last year’s elections], and you know he can’t count on [Gov.] Cuomo.” Silver was pivotal in helping the city secure hundreds of millions of dollars for expanding pre-kindergarten in 2014.* New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he still supported Silver as Assembly speaker and denied his staff was pushing any replacement in Albany, but he said any new leader should be from the city, the Daily News says: 

Silver's Leaving Only Offers the Opportunity of Change 
Sheldon Silver and New York’s ‘Caldron of Corruption’(NYT)  The arrest of the Assembly speaker doesn’t let the governor and lawmakers off the hook. Here’s how they can start the cleanup.Without real change, New York’s lawmakers could simply continue to rob the public of more than money, as the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, said recently. These lawmakers cheat New Yorkers of the honest and productive representation they need and deserve. Lawmakers have a chokehold on taxes, development, traffic and even education in New York City.Over the last decade, more than 30 state officials have gone to prison or been accused of sexual or civic wrongdoing ranging from bribery to stealing state money and extortion. The group of 30 includes several lawmakers accused of sexual harassment. One governor resigned in scandal, a comptroller — the watchdog of the public purse — was jailed for fraud. Of Albany’s many ethical problems, here are the three most urgent. In each case, we offer an ideal, long-term solution and a short-term “until then” fix. 1. Outside Income 2. Campaign Finance 3. Oversight * New York’sReal Scandal (NYT) “The scandal isn’t what’s illegal,” goes one of Michael Kinsley’s best-known sayings. “The scandal is what’s legal.” 

You Do Not Fix the Speaker's Corrupt by Electing A New Mob Head Speaker
To elect a less corrupt speaker you need to change the players that elected the members that elect the speaker lobbyist, party leaders
"I hope Silver's removal will lead to many necessary changes so Assembly can operate as true democracy & better serve all people across NY."

True News Question: Why did not a single lawmaker ever saw something that led him to say something. It is not humanly possible that none ever suspected that, as Bharara charged, Silver “monetized public office.”After all, Silver disclosed most of the outside income at the heart of the charges and the lawmakers had to notice how the Speaker doled out cash to favorite people and organizations.  If nobody suspected something amiss, Albany is the dumbest place in America. More likely, lawmakers of both parties were fine with the obvious corruption; as Bharara’s record proves, some elected crooks saw Silver as a role model and got on gravy train of their own.

Cup Cake to change the system you have to change reform lobbyists and party leaders who elect the bums electing the New Speaker
Mr. Heastie will now be one of the three most powerful politicians in NYS
This speech from Heastie is in part a rebuke of Silver's leadership: calls for reform, outside income caps, devolving of power from speaker * Heastie said among immediate priorities:min wage hike,Dream Act,Women's Equality Act,crimin justice reforms,on-time budget. * Carl Heastie becomes first African-American State Assembly Speaker(NYP) * Heastie Is Elected Speaker of New York Assembly (NYT) * Cuomo Congratulates Heastie(YNN)* New Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie brought his daughterTaylor, to Albany to witness today’s historic vote.* Heastie got a celebratory cake. * Speaker Vote Set For 11 A.M.(YNN) The die for Heastie’s election as speaker was cast when Queens Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan this afternoon acknowledged she did not have the votes to defeat Heastie’s bid and withdrew from consideration. Nolan insisted she was not dropping out of the race, but conceded defeat. Lawmakers emerged from a closed-door meeting after support had coalesced around Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, to replace outgoing speaker Sheldon Silver, who faces five counts of corruption charges. “We cast a unanimous ballot,” Morelle said. “It was for Carl Heastie. Morelle insisted Heastie had been properly vetted over the last several days ahead of the vote. Initially, Democrats planned for a vote on Feb. 10, but with support rapidly building around Heastie, lawmakers moved for an accelerated time frame. “People had an opportunity to talk to him and answer questions and we’re prepared to move forward,” Morelle said. * Carl Heastie, Legislator From Bronx, Is Poised to Become New York Assembly Speaker (NYT)  After the last of four challengers dropped out, Mr. Heastie, whose ascent has not been stopped by reports that his campaign spending was once under scrutiny, became the sole candidate for the post. * Meet Carl Heastie, the Flawed Politician Who Might Lead the N.Y. Assembly (NYT) He has a thin legislative record and racked up $23,440 in per diem and travel expenses in 2014.* BREAKING: Carl Heastie Is Elected the First African-AmericanSpeaker of the State Assembly * 'WE WILL CHANGE THE CYNICISM INTO TRUST': Bronx Democrat Carl Heastie formally selected as Assembly speaker, officially replacing embattled Sheldon Silver(NYDN)

Getting to Know Heastie Governing Style 
Bronx AssemblymanCarl Heastie, set to become the next speaker, is similar to Sheldon Silver(NYDN)  While of different generations, boroughs and backgrounds, Heastie and Silver are both career politicians who rose up the ranks of local city Democratic clubs through behind-the-scenes maneuvering and alliance building to become major players in state politics. “It’s sort of like Shelly (Silver),” said a veteran state lawmaker from the city, referring to the recently arrested and often-inscrutable current speaker who isstepping down Monday. “(Heastie) has a quiet, self-effacing attitude that makes it hard to read him.” Yet, at a time when corruption in Albany has become the only story in the state’s capital — and lawmakers and officials remain squarely in the sights of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara — Heastie hardly stands out as a reformer, a change agent. 

Just the opposite, in fact. Heastie, who also heads the Democratic County Committee in the notoriously corrupt Bronx, comes to the new position with some baggage. Four Bronx lawmakers have been arrested on corruption charges since he became chairman in 2008. When he did vote, Heastie sided with Silver 98.9% of the time. He introduced a relatively modest 51 bills during the 2014 session, only five of which were approved by the Assembly, according to NYPIRG. Critics have suggested Heastie’s personality, including his aversion to the press, could be problematic as he takes on the high-profile post of Assembly speaker. “I find him to be thin-skinned,” said one veteran Bronx political operative. 

Supporters are confident, however, he will grow into the role. Unlike other lawmakers who have lucrative nonlegislative jobs or financial investments, Heastie’s outside interests are limited largely to a job as an adjunct professor at Monroe College, where he reported earnings of between $5,000 and $20,000 in 2013. Heastie’s most recent financial disclosure statement also showed modest investments worth less than $10,000 — a far cry from Silver’s stock portfolio of up to $2.5 million — up to $50,000 in credit card debts and $20,000 in debt consolidation liabilities. Heastie, however, is perhaps best known in political circles for leading a multiethnic coalition — dubbed the Rainbow Rebels — that ousted Assemblyman Jose Rivera as leader of the Bronx Democratic Party in 2008, ending what had been years of tumult within the organization. “After he was elected as county leader, he could have taken the point of view that he should push out the losing side, but he thought the wiser thing was to bring all the factions together,” said Dinowitz, who, along with Diaz, was a member of the Rainbow Rebels.* Heastie: Speakerwould be ‘my only job’  *Heastie steered hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to campaign contributors, including those with business before the committee he chairs, Capital New Yorkreports: * * The Assembly’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus is backing Assemblyman Carl Heastie in his bid to succeed Sheldon Silver and become the first speaker of color, the Times Union writes: Heastie's Trial Lawyers Connect  Business advocates are worried trial lawyers may have sway with Silver’s likely successor, Heastie, because his political adviser and friend is a lobbyist for the state Trial Lawyers Association, the Post reports:  * A top Heastie political adviser and college pal, Patrick Jenkins, is a lobbyist for the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Jenkins pulls in $8,000 a month fighting for trial lawyers in the halls of Albany — which often means killing any legislation that could cut fat jury payouts to lawyers and litigation costs for local governments and businesses. Heastie pays Jenkins $4,000 a month as his political consultant through the Bronx Democratic Party’s housekeeping account, state Board of Elections show. Heastie is the county’s Democratic leader. Heastie has received $26,300 in campaign contributions from trial lawyer groups since 2000, more than any of the other candidates that have sought to become Assembly speaker, according to the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York.* Bronx’s Heastie Gains Early Support To Be Speaker(WSJ) Bronx power broker Carl Heastie has emerged as the front-runner to succeed Sheldon Silver, who departs Monday as speaker of the New York state Assembly.

Heastie Unlike Silver Did Not Use Government to Become A Rich
Heastie Has No Skin In the Silver Game to Use Government to Make Money for Himself and His Developer Friends NY Times vets Bronx Democratic Assemblyman @CarlHeastie, who's poised to become next Speaker of the State Assembly
Speaker Candidate Drew Ethics Panel’s Notice(NYT) Carl E. Heastie, a lawmaker from the Bronx who has emerged as the favorite to succeed Sheldon Silver, attracted the attention of the now-defunct Moreland Commission on corruption in Albany.Over $10,000 for car repairs. Hundreds of dollars in interest and finance charges on credit-card balances. Thousands of dollars in expenses for which no explanation was given. Moreland subpoenaed his campaign’s bank records to see whether he was using political donations for personal expenses, records show.Assemblyman Heastie has been accused of no wrongdoing, federal prosecutors have signaled no interest in him, and the potential violations of campaign spending rules flagged by Moreland investigators — who were halted before they could finish their work — were a far cry from out-and-out graft.

Heastie Will Be Pressured By the Permanent Government to Continue Their VIP Service
Mr. Heastie’s spokesman has said he believed the campaign was in compliance.In a statement on Friday, Mr. Heastie said: “I am eager to work with my colleagues to develop and enact reforms that will bring more transparency, openness, and accountability to the Assembly. It is time for us to move forward.”  An internal memorandum prepared by the Moreland staff cited Mr. Heastie among 28 lawmakers — out of the 213-seat Legislature — whose campaign reports from 2008 to 2013 showed more than $10,000 in spending that was not detailed. The memo said the failure to identify recipients or itemize credit-card payments “raises questions about whether campaign funds are being used for personal expenses instead of permissible election purposes.

”Mr. Heastie’s campaign bank account at HSBC was subpoenaed by investigators, the memo said. But the commission’s work was not completed when the panel was closed last year in a deal between lawmakers and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat.The review of Mr. Heastie’s filings also showed that he has been somewhat lax in his accounting. His campaign paid more than $900 for parking and traffic tickets. The elections board prohibits lawmakers from billing parking tickets to their campaign accounts. “It was the committee’s understanding that this was an allowable expense under existing law,” Mr. Soufer said. “However, if that is not the case, we will address the issue immediately.” His campaign has also paid over $10,000 in charges at an auto body shop in the Bronx. He pays for his own car, but Mr. Soufer said he used it to campaign. The campaign also covered more than $1,500 in interest charges on the campaign’s own American Express card.* N.Y. Ethics Agency Faces Questions (WSJ) After a series of high-profile arrests and corruption scandals in Albany, some are questioning the effectiveness of an ethics agency that Gov. Andrew Cuomo created to clean up the Capitol.

Daily News Called Heastie An Empty Suit . . . A Puppet of the Party Boss Fixers
Bronx's Carl Heastie Rises from Obscurity to Likely Speaker Successor(NY1) Daily News says Assembly Democratsare being too hasty about Carl Heastie (NYDN Ed)  It’s an open secret that many legislators milk the Assembly’s loosey-goosey expense accounts to pad their paychecks — by making extraneous trips to Albany to collect “per diems” for meals and lodging that are currently worth $182 a day. Heastie stands out for claiming the third-largest expense haul of any Assembly member in 2014 — collecting mileage and per diems exceeding $22,000. (That’s on top of a salary of $93,500.) A call to Heastie’s office seeking an explanation got us nowhere, no doubt because any attempt to portray him as a legislative dynamo would not fly. Heastie missed votes on 173 bills — or 15% of the legislation the Assembly passed in 2014, according to an analysis by the New York Public Interest Research Group. Only 13 other members skipped more. When Heastie was present in the chamber, NYPIRG found that he spoke during debate on only four of the 1,138 bills that he didn’t sponsor. And the Labor Committee that he chairs — for a stipend of $14,000 — held just one announced hearing all year. Still more, Heastie’s campaign committee has reimbursed him for thousands of dollars in credit-card charges without giving details as required. And the Bronx Democratic Committee that he heads has yet to file financial disclosure reports that were due on Jan. 15.

Memo to NYT CityDesk: This is just one of Carl Heastie's other bad dogs. Neither are namedSpot. (Riverdale Press) What's left unsaid is that the judges owe their jobs to Heastie and Schlein

If You Looking for Reform of Our Broken Election System Forgetaboutit
The Kinds of Reforms that are Likely to Pass are Making It Easier to Get Bill Heard on the Floor.   Reforms That Will Give More Power to the Member Not the Voters
Declaring that, above all, they wanted to restore trust, the Democrats said that Silver would depart by Monday and that candidates for speaker would have until Feb. 10 to campaign for the post. But now the bosses are short-circuiting the process. Heastie doesn’t dare. While his paid public relations people spout about trust and openness, he is granting very limited press interviews. He favored the Daily News’ Juan Gonzalez but shuns extensive probing, including by this Editorial Board. Heastie Moreland Problem No surprise there, because Heastie is a man with blemishes. He happens to be a featured name in the files of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, for having failed to properly account for $25,000 in campaign spending. No Comment Heastie Many have pointed out that Heastie’s favorite phrase is “no comment.”  Does this mean New Yorkers will continue to have no idea what is going on in Albany when he is Speaker?* Heastie Solidifies Support For Speaker (YNN) Closer to speakership, Carl Heastie has high per diems andcredit card debt; missed 173 votes last year

Heastie Solidifies Support in 1 Day  . . .  County Leads See They Opportunity and They Are Taking It  
The Election for Speaker is Ending So Fast, Where are The Reform Demands?

As for the progressive paragon’s Assembly record, Heastie sponsored a 2013 bill that would have allowed check-cashing outlets to make loans to low-income New Yorkers at interest rates up to 200%. The check cashers had dumped $10,000 into his party accounts.The Democratic bosses went into eclipse when Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor. Mostly, they had to be satisfied with plundering Surrogate’s Court for patronage, as Heastie has done. For a brief time, Seddio even took a seat on the Surrogate’s bench, only to be driven out by the Commission on Judicial Conduct for ethical breaches.Now, with Mayor de Blasio’s assistance, the bosses have sugar-plum dreams of holding sway over the Assembly, dispenser of billions of dollars and granter of an infinite number of legislative benefits. In Heastie, they would have one of their own. * Sheldon Silver is not the only one who had off-budget fundsat the state Health Department(WNYC) * The quicker-than-expected succession process has drawn concern from Assembly Republicans and various good-government groups, who had called for a more open proceeding, Gannett Albany writes:  * Heastie will meet with the Assembly’s newly minted “Reform Caucus”, a group of at least 30 lawmakers who are pushing for reforms in the wake of Silver’s arrest, Gannett Albany reports: * Following Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s demise, restoring the public trust in government through a robust reform agenda should be Cuomo’s top priority, the NYT says.

Shadow Government Lobbyists Schlein Tied to Heastie at the Hip
“The only constant in Bronx politics for the past 35 years has been Stanley Schlein,” said Michael Benjamin, a former Bronx assemblyman. “He is the last man standing. He is the institutional memory.”
Stanley Schlein, a City Island attorney and lobbyist who speaks daily with Assemblyman Carl Heastie, will amass more influence if Heastie is vaulted to Assembly speaker
A Seasoned Bronx PowerBroker Looks to Rise With Carl Heastie (NYO) Mr. Schlein, 67, is not an elected official or the leader of the Bronx machine, like Mr. Heastie. Rather, the canny attorney and lobbyist is the unseen architect of much of what does or doesn’t happen in Bronx politics, orchestrating coups when the Democratic elite ignores him or ensuring his well-heeled clients, like the New York Yankees, extract the best deal from an intransigent, or sometimes pliant, bureaucracy.

Schlein is de Blasio's Election Lawyer
Along the way, he’s faced his share of scandals, including his ouster as chairman of the city’s Civil Service Commission.A Heastie speakership would be a boon to Mr. Schlein and the many clients—the Rent Stabilization Association, the New York Hall of Science, Dominion Voting Systems and the Yankees, to name a few—he has represented before the city and state government. Having friends in power is nothing new to Mr. Schlein. Regarded as a masterful election lawyer and maker of judges,

Flack Lobbyists Arzt Represented Lobbyist Schlein When he was Fired From the NYC Civil Service Commission

When the The New York City Conflicts of Interest Board has fined Stanley K. Schlein, a prominent political lawyer, lobbyist and former chairman of the New York City Civil Service Commission, $15,000 for misusing city resources and personnel to perform work for his private law practice, Flack George Arzt represented Schlein.   Mr. Schlein did not respond to messages left on his cellphone. But a spokesman, George Arzt, said, “Mr. Schlein decided to settle this matter on an expeditious basis and has agreed to the stipulated payment called for in the settlement.”
Mr. Schlein has cultivated ties in every single mayoral administration from Abraham Beame in the tumultuous 1970s to Bill de Blasio today. Mr. Schlein was one of Mr. de Blasio’s election lawyers during his campaigns for mayor and public advocate, bailing out the future mayor in 2009 when he was initially booted off the ballot. When ex-State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. and his Democratic renegade allies initially refused to help give the Democratic Conference their long-sought-after majority unless they were properly rewarded in their share of the spoils, there was Mr. Schlein, representing the Espada faction in their negotiations with Gov. David Paterson and the Senate. Mr. Espada would briefly become majority leader before the legislative chaos, and his own legal troubles, ended his political career.Mr. Schlein, of course, survived. 

And for his ability to negotiate deals, drive insurgents off the ballot and protect those that pay for his services, the Bronx attorney is revered Mr. Schlein also served as a court-appointed fiduciary, a choice reward for Democratic loyalists, and this too did not end well. In 2006, the Office of Court Administration barred him from taking new assignments after he mishandled the finances of the infirm and the elderly. Whether it was successfully pushing for taxpayers to finance a new Yankee Stadium, defending the Bronx machine or bungling his fiduciary duties, Mr. Schlein has attracted plenty of prominent critics. Tom Robbins, a CUNY Graduate Center journalism professor and former Village Voice investigative journalist, was never enamored with the Bronx power broker he often covered. “Look, the lovable political rascal part of Stanley Schlein fades pretty quickly when you take a close look at how he’s used his clout over the years,” Mr. Robbins said.  Here Comes the Mud Carl Heastie made campaign payments to ex for work she didn’t do (NYP) The Bronx Democrat on the verge of becoming the next Assembly speaker paid his baby mama $2,500 from his campaign treasury — raising ethical concerns following disgraced Sheldon Silver’s corruption bust, The Post has learned. Assemblyman Carl Heast­ie’s campaign made two payments of $1,250 in 2011 to aspiring model Alvita “Lan” Robertson, the mother of his 5-year-old daughter, to design a campaign Web site. Robertson subcontracted the work to someone else — and still got paid.

Board of Election Reforms Forgetaboutit
In October, 2010, the Board of Elections booted executive director George Gonzalez after revelations that he had incorrectly placed Wills on the Republican ballot line beneath GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, rather than beneath Democrat Andrew Cuomo, among other mistakes. The error would likely have cost Wills votes in the heavily Democratic district, but ballots were eventually fixed. A number of people close to the situation suspected the ballot placement was politically motivated, given Gonzalez’s close connections with election lawyer Stanley Schlein, who was serving as the attorney for Nicole Paultre-Bell, Wills’ chief rival in the Council race. * Election Board's "Bungle George" Gonzalez Was Mayor Bloomberg's Baby

Skelos the Third Amigo Under Fed Investigation . . .  Shocking Feds Looking at Ties to Real Estate Industry 
Senate leader Dean Skelos is Preet’s new target(NYP) In the latest probe of a high-ranking state legislator, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is being investigated by federal authorities over his sources of income, ­according to a new report. Skelos’ connections to real-estate deals were being looked into by US Attorney Preet Bharara, who last week jolted Albany with the arrest of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, WNBC/Channel 4 reported Thursday. Skelos, the highest ranking Republican in state government, has not been charged with a crime and could not be reached for comment Thursday. The Nassau County, LI, politician serves as a counsel for the law firm Ruskin, Moscou Faltischek, which is engaged in ­real-estate litigation.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigators are examining state Sen. Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ outside income and ties to the real estate industry, but the legal firm employing Skelos said it was not itself being probed, NBC New York reports: * YOU'RE NEXT, PAL! After targeting shady Sheldon Silver, Preet Bharara shifts attention to state Senate boss Dean Skelos and his questionable outside income(NYDN) * Feds investigating NY Senate leader Dean Skelos, sourcestell (WNBC) * Skelos Comes Under Scrutiny(YNN) * NY Senate MajorityLeader Skelos called a report that he's under investigation 'irresponsible'(Newsday) * Skelos Denies Being Contacted By Feds (YNN) * State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos being investigatednext by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara: report(WNBC)* Just wanted to remindeveryone that Dean Skelos sent $711K of our tax money to fight subpoenas to hisprivate lawfirm (YNN)

In huge boost forCarl Heastie, Joseph Morelle abandons campaign for speaker. Cathy Nolan says she'sstill in it (NYDN)* A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos pushed back against a report that the Long Island Republican is under federal investigation after Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested last week, State of Politics reports: * Dean Skelos laughs off reports he’s being investigated(NYP)  Sources told The Post that US Attorney Preet Bharara, who brought charges against Silver and has vowed to clean up Albany, is looking at Skelos’ connections to various real-estate deals. He serves as a counsel for the law firm Ruskin Moscou Faltischek in Uniondale, which specializes in ­real-estate litigation. In 2013, Skelos ­reported being paid between $150,000 and $250,000 by the firm, which did not respond to a request for comment. “People over the years have raised the question, ‘What does Dean do for that firm?’ People are nervous,” an Albany insider said.* Shel-Skel hell (NYP Ed)  So that’s why Dean Skelos never asked Shelly Silver to step down as Assembly speaker: According to new reports, the Senate majority leader is himself under federal investigation. * No word from feds on probe of state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, spokeswoman says(NYDN)

New Speaker's Race Wraping Up . . .  Wright Out . . .  Brooklyn for Heastie? 

Next Speaker?
Inbox: @Wright4Harlem drops out of Assembly speaker race, throws his support to @CarlHeastie
Rangel's congressional district extends into the Bronx, where Heastie is the Democratic leader. Wright's base is in Manhattan, in Harlem.*Wright Withdraws From Speaker Race, Backs Heastie (YNN) @CTLizB @Wright4Harlem March to 76 just got easier for @CarlHeastie Brooklyn Democratic Party to Back Heastie Brooklyn Democratic Party to back Carl Heastie for Assembly speaker(NYP) * Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, a Brooklyn Democrat, has dropped out of the race for Assembly speaker, throwing his support behind Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie, Gannett Albanyreports: * Albany’s male-dominated culture makes it difficult for women to rise to power, according to Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, the lone woman seeking to replace Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver,Gannett Albany reports:  * The Times Uniondetails the JCOPE filings of the four proclaimed candidates for Assembly speaker, but the filings reveal less than one might hope: * Brooklyn AssemblymanJoe Lentol abandons bid for speaker, endorses Heastie (NYDN) * Lentol Withdraws From Speaker’s Race, Backs Carl Heastie(YNN) Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan said she’s continuing with her speaker bid even though support is consolidating behind Assemblyman Carl Heastie.*Heastie’s potential hurdles to locking up the speakership: The reformers and women.* Eight Questions forCarl Heastie * Heastie would be the first black speaker in history if he’s elected by his colleagues to succeed Silver. He told NY1′s Zack Fink that he “loves being a person who breaks the glass ceiling.Here’s what Assembly Speaker-in-Waiting Carl Heastie looked like in 1985.

The Assembly Democrats' belated "Reform Coalition" looks more like the "Coalition of the Left Out" as Carl Heastie locks up the vote.

UNDER PRESSURE,KEITH WRIGHT LEAVES ASSEMBLY SPEAKER RACE (CS) With Mayor Bill de Blasio supporting Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie behind the scenes and Gov. Andrew Cuomo actively pushing for Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, who will serve as interim speaker until a Feb. 10 vote, Wright struggled to gain traction, a knowledgeable source told City & State. Both Wright and Heastie are African American, which played a role in the pressure on Wright to step aside, the source added.  "The city people are listening to Cuomo and de Blasio—two white guys are telling us what to do,” said the source, who had supported Wright's candidacy.* The Assembly may be getting its first African-American speaker(NYP) * 6 Days That Felled Sheldon Silver, the Speaker Who Ruled Albany for Decades(NYT) Mr. Silver’s staggering fall from grace as Assembly speaker played out over a week of secret deliberations and shifting alliances. * Sheldon Silver Taking Leave of Absence From Law Firm(NYT) * Morelle Says He’s A Candidate For Speaker(YNN) *Reform Caucus Pressures Speaker Candidates(YNN) * Lentol Claims Brooklyn Support (Updated) (YNN) * Nolan: A Female Speaker Will Bring ‘Collaborative Style’(YNN) * Lentol, In Letter To Reform Caucus, Backs Term Limits For Speaker (YNN) * Brooklyn DemocraticParty Will Back Carl Heastie for Assembly Speaker: Sources (NYO)* Source: Queens Dem meeting on Asmbly speaker race over. No consensus on a favorite yet. Delegation agreed to stick together.
If Heastie Becomes Speaker Get Used to Reading About Bronx Lobbyists StanleySchlein

The American Tort Reform Association last year called the asbestos court the nation’s top “judicial hellhole” where plaintiffs’ lawyers are “brazenly favored by the judges.” Silver has been blocking tort-reform bills for decades in Albany.* Time to cut New York’s sky-high litigation costs(NYP Ed) Silver’s indictment alleges that the former speaker worked to funnel $500,000 in state money to a prominent New York doctor who specializes in asbestos-related lung ailments. The doctor, in turn, funneled patients to Silver’s law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg. Those patients turned into clients with lawsuits worth ­millions. Asbestos litigation is the nation’s longest-running mass tort, going on 50 years, and law firms heavily advertise to find new “victims.” In 2008, 20 of the 30 most-expensive paid Google search terms involved asbestos. The Weitz firm is one of the nation’s most prominent asbestos-litigation firms. Silver was a paid “counsel” to the firm, earning more than $5 million over the years, according to the indictment. * Flashback 2006 State Bars a Bronx Lawyer From Receiving Court Appointments (NYT) Stanley K. Schlein, the politically influential Bronx lawyer who is the chairman of the city's Civil Service Commission, has been barred indefinitely by state court officials from accepting guardianships and other potentially lucrative judicial appointments.* The MorelandCommission was looking at Heastie for $60,000 in unitemized campaignexpenditures (Capital) More Carl Heastie questions, via @mahoneyw: He steered $383,400 in member items to campaign donors or their group Heastie Ethics Reform Heastie Outlines Ethics Rules Proposals(YNN) * Potential speaker CarlHeastie promises per diem, income reforms (LoHud) * Influential Businessand Civic Group Backs Carl Heastie for Speaker (NYO)* Morelle: There’s Been A ‘Public Airing’ On Speakers Race (NYO)* Despite calls for transparency, it looks like the next speaker of the state Assembly could be picked in the same “sleazy and secretive style that has long characterized Albany politics,” theTimes’ Eleanor Randolph writes:
How active has Carl Heastie been in Albany affairs? "I've actually barely talked to the man." Veteran WNYC legislature reporter @kdewitt7

Who Replaces Heastie As Bronx County Leader

 So if Carl Heastie becomes speaker, he won't be county leader in the Bronxanymore. Who will replace him? Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, a Riverdale lawmaker, and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, a South Bronx lawmaker, are the top two contenders for the influential post if Mr. Heastie is elected speaker, which could happen as early as this Tuesday. Mr. Heastie has chaired the Bronx Democratic Party since he helped orchestrate a coup of the old leader, Assemblyman José Rivera, in 2008. Like county organizations elsewhere, the Bronx Democratic Party does not have the same ability to turn out voters and repel challengers like it did three or four decades ago. Mr. Heastie endorsed Adriano Espaillat for Congress and Bill Thompson for mayor, only to watch both candidates lose in wrenching fashion to Congressman Charles Rangel and Bill de Blasio, now the mayor of New York, respectively. But a county leader is still influential in other ways. The parties pick civil court judges and continue to have an outsized influence on the local legal system