Thursday, May 7, 2009



It has been a week since True News asked the City’s Comptroller candidates to answer our questions about the pension fund scandal – and still no response from any of them. You would think that in the spirit of transparency and good government the candidates would embrace this public forum to condemn the perpetrators of this scandal and make it absolutely clear that they themselves have no involvement in the widening probe. But, apparently, that’s of little concern to these candidates, who continue to go out of their way to ignore the elephant in the room.

True News, Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The Silence of the Lions: What the Comptroller Candidates Don't Want You to Know

Or maybe it’s a blue whale at this point.

In the past week, the pension fund scandal has only continued to grow. The big news yesterday was that another former State Comptroller, Carl McCall, and Rudy Giuliani’s first Deputy Mayor Peter Powers, have both been subpoenaed for their companies’ involvement in pension fund “pay for play”.

This announcement from Attorney General Andrew Cuomo – who is looking more like Eliot Ness each day – comes as the AG made it clear that this scandal is as big as True News has been saying it is. AGs in at least thirty other states are investigating more than a hundred firms who may have grown richer by pocketing pieces of the life savings of union and city workers and calling their theft “investing”.

“What has developed is a corrupt system, where Wall Street, various fiduciaries, politicians and corporate managers are draining America’s savings,” said hedge fund manager Frederick S. Rowe to the Times, stating a fact that is increasingly obvious to anyone not named Melinda Katz, David Yassky, John Liu, or David Weprin.

If this scandal keeps getting bigger, New York is going to run out of bold-faced names, who are not somehow implicated or entwined in “pay for play”. This week, Tom Robbins tied in Ed Koch’s former attorney William Howell, media mogul Leo Hindery, and Brooklyn lawyer/lobbyist Norman Levy, whose long record of public service dates back to the days of Mayor Lindsay, when Levy was indicted for his involvement in the parking-tickets-fixing scam.

What do you have to do to get drummed out of town in New York City politics? Apparently, all you have to do is rewrite your Wikipedia entry and lay low for a year, until the media fills their dwindling newsrooms with another crop of college graduates who think that City politics began in 1998.

Of course, that’s the system that lets our City’s Comptroller candidates to get away with not answering even the most basic of questions. But, not to be too cynical, True News will resend the questions we asked last week to the Comptroller candidates, just to make sure they didn’t get marked as spam or accidentally deleted.

For the record, here they are once again:

1) Do you think that it is a criminal conflict of interest that Josh Wolf-Powers and Adam Blumenthal left their jobs as Bill Thompson’s top deputies in the Comptroller’s office managing the City’s pension fund to set up the private company Blue Wolf Capital Management, which then secured $70 million in investment for Blue Wolf from the Comptroller’s office? And should Bill Thompson resign as Comptroller for taking almost $10,000 in donations for his mayoral campaign from Blumenthal and Blue Wolf Capital?

2) What is the connection between the growing pension fund scandal in Bill Richardson’s administration in New Mexico that the state’s AG is trying hard to keep a lid on and Andrew Cuomo’s bold investigation into New York’s pension fund scandal? Are you troubled that Deborah Gallegos, the Chief Investment Officer for the City Comptroller in 2005 – the year Wolf-Powers urged Steven Rattner to hire the now-indicted Hank Morris as his placement agent – had come to Thompson’s office directly from New Mexico, where she worked in Richardson’s administration as deputy state investment officer for the New Mexico State Investment Council and was deeply involved in the private investment of billions of dollars of taxpayer money under similar (and suspicious) circumstances to the investigation into New York City’s Comptroller’s office. Are you aware that Richardson, who is being investigated for pay-to-play with New Mexico’s pension funds, also received money from Hank Morris and Steven Rattner?

3) Have you met with Andrew Cuomo to learn more about the pension fund scandal and what you could do to end corruption in the Comptroller’s office? Other than the smoke screen concession of eliminating placement agents enacted by Bill Thompson and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, what would you do to really reform the Comptroller’s Office?

Really, Melinda, John, the two Davids, you know these are just the easy questions. True News is pretty sure we could come up with much more difficult ones if we started researching a complete list of your staffers and contributors. Why not answer these simple questions, while we can still assume the best about your intentions to bring much-needed reform to the terribly tainted office of City Comptroller?

Please send your answers to as soon as possible. We’ll be waiting in suspense

PensionGate Where the big guys pay to play MCCALL, RUDY PAL IN PENSION SCORE Former Comptroller McCall’s Firm Is Subpoenaed in Pension Inquiry More States Start Pension Inquiries Cuomo’s investigation into deals involving the New York State pension fund has spawned similar inquiries nationwide.

Nobody Asked Me, But . . . Talk about pouring gasoline on a fire - Is the GOP trying wipe out all its elected officials in the city. Sen. Padavan, who won by less than 500 votes this year sent a letter on on official state stationery asking the judge seeking leniency for a crooked ex-pol CROOKED POL AN ALCOHOLIC . . . The NYP has to act real do they really think State Comptroller DiNapoli who was selected by Albany is going to look at the numbers made up by Albany for the MTA patch work? CHECK THEIR NUMBERS, TOM . . . John Liu sure does love to play with Tow-Trucks , Queens Crap: Council doing towing industry a favor

What They Said:
"We didn't return the donations in question, but we didn't claim them for matching funds." John Liu Campaign

What They Mean:
Keep the money 'til it starts to stink. Liu Campaign Returns Some Potentially Problematic Contributions, Keeps Some Others

The Daily News keeps up the press on Albany Editorial: Downright lousy There are lessons to be drawn from the near-death experience suffered by New York mass transportation at the hands of Albany. Most are painful, Newsday doesn't think much of the bill either, Bill Hammond thinks legislators have no standing on which to slam the MTA, writing: "(C)ompared to the Legislature, the MTA is a model of open, clean government.". . . I don't think Tony Seminerio has written a letter to Judge Sullivan Supporters of McLaughlin beg leniency for crooked labor boss . . . He did not know about Hank Morris, the fake non profits member items in the city's budge now Bill Thompson said he didn’t know a friend of his, William Howell, earned $3 million as a placement agent on an investment made by the comptroller’s office, this is getting silly. When will Thompson sue Aldus the state is already? DiNapoli Now Suing Aldus . . . Washington Times has an on point pay to play story With Murtha, It's All in the Family

Albany KEEP MIKE AT HEAD OF THE CLASS: LAW'S CREATOR *** CONTROL-FOE POL BLIND TO HARLEM'S SUCCESS Harlem state Sen. Bill Perkins claimed this week that mayoral school control has been a "failure," but test data tell the real story: Students in his district have improved significantly *** HIRAM TAPE STAYS A Queens Supreme Court judge yesterday refused to release a tape allegedly showing state Senator Hiram Monserrate dragging his bleeding girlfriend out of his building *** JUST WHAT THE DOC ORDERED A city doctor who tried to help uninsured patients by charging them a low monthly fee might get some help from Albany *** FARE DEAL OK'D ASSEMBLY & SENATE BAIL OUT MTA *** Legislators pass MTA bailout

The City SORCERER'S CURSE 2ND CRASH HITS CREW OF MOVIE *** $2M SLAP IN WAL-CRUSH *** Schools Chief Bans Hiring of Teachers From Outside *** Parents Protest Kindergarten Overcrowding *** NYPD layoffs mean less cops on street From NY1 *** Klein announces freeze on hiring new teachers, but no layoffs *** NYPD's frisk card plan is 'garbage,' cop group says *** Former Assemblyman Steve Sanders, who helped create the mayoral control law, says Bloomberg should retain control of schools *** John Catsimatidis will make sure there are fireworks at the 100th anniversary of the Queensboro Bridge later this month *** Kerrey Will Leave New School in 2011

Road to City Hall Judy backs Leslie - DA foes hit back TV's Judge Judy endorsed the lone female seeking to become Manhattan DA on Wednesday, saying Leslie Crocker Snyder's rivals lack the credentials for the job *** Weiner missed a handful of votes in Congress on days he played hockey in Manhattan *** Bloomberg mocked parents who protested kindergarten waiting lists, saying: "I can tell you how to fix that: just lower the quality of the schools. Isn't it wonderful that kids want to get into schools?" *** Gov. David Paterson announced special elections to fill two Bronx Assembly vacancies *** City Room: Obama to Stay Out of New York Mayoral Race *** Obama Decides to Stay Out of Something The president will not make a political endorsement in the New York City mayor’s race.

Albany M.T.A. Rescue Passes, but Impact Is Questioned *** State Lawmakers Approve MTA Bailout Plan *** MTA rescue plan elicits muted applause *** David Paterson spoke to Amsterdam News and defended his record *** Paterson did not extend an invitation to the Dalai Lama while he was in Albany yesterday *** A judge refused to make public a tape of Sen. Hiram Monserrate dragging his wounded girlfriend from his apartment budiling, saying it would "poison" the jury *** Sen. Bill Perkins has called mayoral control a "disaster" and a "failure" even though test scores at schools in his district have improved since 2002 *** Senate 2.0. *** The legislature passes the MTA bailout. Senate Republicans criticized the bill, saying it will derail bridge and highway work outside the city *** AG Spitzer Wouldn't Have Prosecuted Gov. Spitzer *** MTA CEO Elliot 'Lee' Sander RESIGNS *** Gov. Paterson vows leadership shake-up at MTA

President Obama Obama’s Choice to Lead F.D.A. Doesn’t Shy Away From Difficult Situations *** Education Reform To Be Main Topic At Bloomberg, Obama Meeting *** Timothy Geithner: How We Tested the Big Banks *** New Effort Reopens a Medical Minefield *** The rise of government 2.0 *** Obama 'pleased' by Af-Pak meetings *** Outspoken former city Health Commissioner Margaret Hamburg is expected to be confirmed today as Obama's FDA commissioner *** Advocates want Obama to engage in the gay marriage debate *** Obama invites NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Rev. Al Sharpton and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to a forum on racial and economic gaps in education *** Why Is Condi Rice Joining the Torture Debate? *** The Stakes at Notre Dame - E.J. Dionne, Washington Post *** A Reprieve on Vouchers - Washington Post *** Obama Campaign Arm Plans Letter-To-Editor Blitz *** Sarah Palin's Popularity Plunging In Polls *** UPDATE: White House to Release Photo From New York Flyover... *** Making Do: The President and His Troublesome Allies

Congress GOP relies on Specter-like recruits *** Waxman under fire on climate change *** Meltdown: Specter stands alone *** Potential Dem opponent blasts Specter *** GOP optimistic that Crist will run *** Franken feted at the White House *** Rush to Powell: Go be a Democrat *** Meghan Clyne writes an op-ed questioning Charles Rangel's role in cracking down on tax loopholes *** Actor Ben Affleck said his friend Anthony Weiner is “more dynamic than a lot of people I met” in Congress *** Rep. Charlie Rangel said he would oppose any measure to tax employer health insurance - another challenge for Obama’s ambitious health care plan *** Obama Budget Cuts Likely to Face Fight *** Republicans in the Wilderness: Is the Party Over? *** The Push for Health Care Reform - Froma Harrop, Providence Journal *** Dems Shun Specter, Undercut Obama and Reid - David Paul Kuhn, RCP *** Al Franken Schools Heckler At D.C. Restaurant

Wall Street Mess BERNIE'S SWIPERS KIN SPENT LIKE CRAZY USING FIRM'S PLASTIC *** G.M. Posts a Quarterly Loss of $6 Billion *** Nasdaq OMX Group 1Q profit slides 22% *** Names of Chrysler’s hard-line creditors reveal... *** Fitness chain ‘Crunched’ by recession *** F.D.I.C. Seeks a Monitor for ‘Too Big to Fail’ Entities *** Bernie Madoff, kin spent like crazy *** The government sets rules to leave the bailout *** Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke supported the interest cuts that contributed to the housing bubble *** General Motors Posts Nearly $6 Billion Loss *** Stress Tests Separate Strong From Weak *** Latte with Those Fries? McDonald's Takes Aim at Starbucks *** Capitalism in Crisis - Richard Posner, Wall Street Journal *** NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED GETTING BENEFITS CLIMBS TO RECORD *** The Bank Stress Tests Turn out to Be Mid-Term Exam

International Mexico City Looks To Move Forward, While Still Being Cautious *** Militants Block Fleeing Pakistanis *** Britain to Trim DNA Database *** India Enters Fourth Round of Vote *** U.S., Europe Differ On Jobless Benefits *** A 'Vietnam' Warning in Pakistan - Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation *** Fear Mongering Over Pakistan - Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune *** SOAK THE RICH: Britian top marginal tax rate 61.5%... *** Mexico gets back to normal, China eases quarantine... *** Cuban American travel to Cuba on the rise...

National Maine legalizes gay marriage *** The FBI has kept 24,000 people on a terror watch list based on inaccurate or outdated information *** Civil-Rights Gains Test Memorials' Relevance *** The Time Bomb for the Baby Boomers - David Ignatius, Washington Post *** Bad Teachers Need Not Fear in California - San Diego Union-Tribune *** Wall Street Journal Op-Ed: GOP Needs to Forget Reagan *** California Fires Force Thousands Of Home Evacuations *** 'National bailout agency' for U.S. cities...

Media & New Tech Sirius XM Radio posts $236M loss for 1Q *** News Corp. 3Q net profit up 1% *** Deal Reached to Keep Boston Globe in Print *** New Kindle bigger, fancier and pricier *** And a new political company seeks to match advertisers with political websites *** Amazon Debuts Bigger Kindle *** MediaThe "Likely Survivors" Of Newspaper Shakeout *** WATCH: Dan Rather Dresses Up For "Daily Show" Sketch Mocking Media On Obama Burger *** SENATORS CONSIDER OPTIONS FOR AILING NEWSPAPERS...

People and Places CHECK HER OUT! MRS. O'S A NY MONEY MAGNET *** Astor’s Daughter-in-Law: Not on Trial, but Judged *** Kiefer Sutherland to Answer Police on Assault Claim *** When Jackson Heights had an airport *** John Edwards' former mistress has reportedly changed her mind about a paternity test for her baby *** Bristol Palin has a new gig; Gail Collins does not approve *** KFC patrons report they can't use Oprah coupons... *** Michael Jackson former publicist sues for $44 Million...

Blog Report Shops Close In Alphabet City {El Grieve} *** Gowanus Clean-Up: Give The EPA Your Comments {Bay Ridge Journal} *** Pensiongate And Pay To Play Politics {The Daily Gotham} *** Chocolate Tour In SoHo {The Soho Journal} *** City Springs For Sidewalk Repair For NYC Homeowners { Sheepshead Bay Bites} *** City Council member items and the work of the CBA {Atlantic Yards Report} *** Fourth Annual Brooklyn Blogfest {Mcbrooklyn} *** Coney Vintage Video: 1953 Rainy Day At Coney {Kinetic Carnval} *** Kings Courier: Paintball in Gerritsen Beach {Gerritsen Beach}