Tuesday, June 21, 2011

GOP Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos: One Man in A Room

We Have Framework
Dean Doing the Deals
Capitol Confidential

 AMEverything tied together now.  Albany's new dynamics mean gay marriage, New York City's rent laws and a property tax all hang on Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. While yesterday's protests were spirited, it did little to compel lawmakers into action. There will be no gay marriage vote in the Senate until there’s a rent control deal the GOP feels doesn’t overly protect rich downstaters. For Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the stakes are very high, writes Jacob Gershman. “Prominent campaign promises hinge on the outcome of these negotiations, which have the potential to set a pattern for his young administration. Sen. Greg Ball says the governor needs to “at least pay respect” to concerns about protecting individuals who have religious objections to gay marriage. Without the protections the GOP is seeking “I don’t see how the governor gets it done,” he said on CNN. Sen. Mark Grisanti on whether he has made up his mind on gay marriage: “Not as of yet. Really.” * Cuomo says he is "cautiously optimistic" on marriage. "I think the people are entitled to a vote on this issue."
Update 12 Noon Capital Tonight

Legislature Still at Odds Over Cuomo’s Top Issues(NYT) * Pols use apt. law to hold up gay rites(NYP)*   Closing door on church weddings(NYP) * Stalemates Lock Albany(WSJ) * New deadline set for extending NYC rent controls(WSJ)* Rent-Stabilized tenants take fight against hikes to board * AP: State Senate Stalls On Same-Sex Marriage Vote(NY1)Marriage Politics: “The base of the Republican Party is going to be split for years to come if, in fact, it is the Republicans who pass a gay marriage bill,” said Maggie Gallagher of National Organization for Marriage. *And Teri Weaver looks at legislation keeping Albany lawmakers busy while they negotiate a tax cap, rent regulations and same-sex marriage. * Nick Confessore

Gov. Cuomo and Senate have been discussing religious exemption for 6 days. Starting to feel like a political, not substantive, holdup.(Twitter)

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara called CityTime"truly jaw-dropping" and "epic in duration, magnitude and scope." 
"Corrupted to its core by one of the largest and most brazen frauds ever committed against the City of New York” Bharara

The defendants are accused of defrauding the city by hiring consultants who were not needed, inflating the rates charged for consulting work and — in an irony, given the project’s subject matter about timekeeping — inflating the hours worked by consultants. $600 mil CityTime 'swindle'(NYP) * City Payroll Project Was Riddled With Fraud, U.S. Says(NYT) * CityTime Project Awash in 'Fraud'(WSJ) * $450 million scam couple flee before CityTime indictment(NYDN) * U.S. Attorney: CityTime Project "Corrupted To Its Core"(NY1)

The NYT Says: No city official has been implicated

Investigators suggested that the Bloomberg administration, which was deeply invested in the project and anxious for the technology to work, had failed to recognize what Mr. Bharara said was a scheme that “appears to have metastasized over time.”  DOI's Ms. Gill Hearn said, “The individuals charged today understood, exploited and preyed upon the city’s desire to modernize its timekeeping and payroll operations for more than 160,000 employees.” Marc LaVorgna, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, said: “Our Department of Investigation uncovered this fraud, bringing it to federal prosecutors

Cover Up I
The Bloomberg Administration Knew of CityTime Corruption in 2003
Page, Bondy, Bloomberg, DOI all knew about CityTime in 2003, when the former head of the city's Office of Payroll Administration Richard Valcich wrote a letter to SAIC complaining of waste and bloat in the main contract.  In 2003 Valcich wrote: the city had spent "approximately $35 million on CityTime and does not have a tangible system to show for it.* Ex-payroll boss blew whistle on CityTime in scathing 2003 letter and nothing was done(NYDN) " Letter found by Liu reveals shady CityTime job offer pitch in '02 from main contractor to Valcich.(NYDN) A second reason why the city knew was a CNN IRerort in 2009 by an anonymous city worker who said that the project was corrupt. 2 of the three people mentioned in the report have been indicted * Mike Bloomberg Administration DOI Failed CityTime SAIC * Want $460 Million? Just Get NYC Gov't Contract And Steal It!(Gothamist)

Cover Up II
Why at a City Council oversight hearings about CityTime the past few years, no one at OPA or City Hall ever mentioned the Valcich letter?

The City's Democratic Bosses Who Pick Judges Control Court Receiverships
When the Riverton apartments in Harlem faced foreclosure, a retired judge, Seymour Boyers, was paid $760,000 as receiver

Connected Lawyers Reap Foreclosure Benefits The foreclosure crisis has caused a surge in the number of court-appointed receivers for distressed properties in New York, and politically connected lawyers are benefiting.(NYT) *  Lawyers with political connections earn large fees recieving distressed NYC properties(The Real Deal)

Foreclosure Court Patronage Reaches Bloomberg's Deputy Mayor

Mark Lebow, husband of First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris, has earned $352,000 as a court-appointed receiver of a distressed property since 2009. The New York Times says he is one of many politically-connected lawyers who get the lucrative receiverships from city judges. Mark Lebow was appointed by the mayor to the MTA Board which has also had problems with corrupt contractor CityTime. MTA dumps CityTime contactor from subway radio overhaul - NYPOST.com

Politically Connected Got Court $$$ 
Billy Thompson retired judge fathergot six cases
Dominick Calderoni, a law partner of State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein (6 receiverships)
Paul Vallone, a scion of one of Queens’s most powerful political families, who is expected to challenge Dan Halloran earned nearly $17,000 for one assignment * A ticket agent is suing Queens NYC Councilman Dan Halloran
Howard R. Vargas, a commissioner of the Taxi and Limousine Commission

Update   Assembly passes NYC taxi bill to expand livery pickups(NYP)

Taxi Drivers Rally Against the Mayor's Livery Cab Bill(NYT) * Cabbies put break on City plan to let livery drivers pick up street hails(NYDN) * State Legislature should pass bill extending street-hail taxi service to all five boroughs(NYDN Ed) * Yellow Taxis Take On Bloomberg’s Outer-Borough Plan at Albany Rally

Nearly one in three city public high-school graduates who enrolled in CUNY schools in 2007 and 2008 left before completing two years of study

It's quitting time for CUNY's city HS grads

Closing Schools Up to the Court

NYC, the UFT and the NAACP are in court today over school closings. * Lawsuit Over Charter School Locations, DOE Closures Heads To Court(NY1)



A GOP district leader’s race in Queens is getting ugly* Mail Attack: Queens GOP hit the Haggertys, in a new flyer.

Kingsbridge Armory: Kill 2200 Jobs OK Church?

Kingsbridge: still empty Never mind the 2,200-job mall that the City Council killed at the Kingsbridge Armory in The Bronx. How about a really big church instead? Praise the Lord -- and pass the unemployment.* I'll be savior of Armory Rolls-Royce rev.'s Bx. 'conversion' bid.  "You'd be handing over a public property to a religious institution. "How many jobs would a church create?" * Church? Ice-rink? Restaurant? Kingsbridge Armory considers its future(NYDN)


 Weiner limps out Resigns at last, takes baggage (NYP) * With Letter, Weiner Makes Resignation Official(WSJ)

*Sources: Cuomo Eyes Sept. 13 Special Election for Weiner Seat(NBC) * A handwriting expert on Weiner’s resignation letter signature: “People who choose a symbolic signature tend to have a cluster of traits in common: excessive ego, secretiveness, need for privacy, arrogance, and high self-confidence in their area of expertise.”



Upper West Side Bagel Legend to Close(WSJ)





For $1,600, a ‘Don’t Walk’ Signal A banal bit of decommissioned street signage has morphed into a sought-after collector’s item.(NYT)


Inside nightmare shop slaughter(NYP) * Victim's boyfriend bares his anguish(NYP) * Police Suspect That Drugs Were Goal of Killer on L.I.(NYT) * 'Senseless' Drugstore Killings Link Four Victims(WSJ) * As massive manhunt for cold-blooded killer gets underway(NYDN) * Classmates of a teen killed in a shooting head to college with scholarships bearing his name(NYDN)

'Trying to protect us' from teen terrors(NYP)  * Before the Bullets, a Warning: 'Peter, This Is for You'(NYT)



Cops release surveillance images of brazen Brooklyn mob shooting(NYP)



Cover up your sexy back! Rikers Island tells visitors to leave skimpy clothes at home(NYDN)

Law and Order

Cops kill auto-shop shooter (NYP) * Man Shot in Brooklyn Shop; Police Kill Gunman(NYT) * Cops kill gunman in latest neighborhood gun violence(NYDN) * Police Fatally Shoot Armed Suspect On Louisiana Avenue(NYDN) *Funny stuff by cop-plate 'thief'(NYP) *Jealousy leads to bloodshed(NYP) * Mom killed child 'over broken TV'(NYP) * Man Charged in 3-Year-Old's Death(WSJ) * Hit-and-run suspect an evil 'coward,' prosecutors say(NYDN) * Teen girl stabbed by rapist ex-boyfriend outside grocery store(NYDN) * Brooklyn DA drops charges against pizzamaker and street hood(NYP) * 15 arrested in NYC on charges of double dipping with unemployment(NYP)

Obama will be at Fort Drum Thursday and then hit Manhattan to raise campaign cash. * President Obama plans to withdraw 30K troops from Afghanistan by end of 2012

Jon Stewart: Chris Wallace Admitted That Fox News Tells ‘The Other Side’ Of The Story

WATCH: Jon Stewart Slams Fox News For Editing Interview

A Grouchy Philosopher Writes to a Cub Reporter

George Bernard Shaw corresponded with Gabe Pressman in 1948