July 18, 2014

Your morning reading from PLA – A sampling of today’s New York news

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U.S. Issues Subpoena in Inquiry on Cuomo’s Closing of Moreland Commission New York Times (William K. Rashbaum and Susanne Craig)

Federal prosecutors investigating Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s shutdown of an anticorruption commission have subpoenaed the assistant to its former executive director to testify before a grand jury in Manhattan, suggesting that the criminal inquiry has moved to a new stage, people briefed on the matter said on Thursday.

Federal agents served the subpoena on the assistant, Heather Green, on Wednesday morning, appearing at her doorstep before 7 a.m., the people said. Ms. Green, who is not believed to be a target of the inquiry, worked as an executive assistant to the anticorruption panel’s former executive director, Regina Calcaterra, until Mr. Cuomo announced he was disbanding the panel, known as the Moreland Commission, on March 29.


Gov. Cuomo getting involved in the LIRR talks as the last-minute is his signature move New York Daily News (Ken Lovett)

ALBANY – With a potential railroad strike looming, Gov. Cuomo’s decision to publicly get involved in the talks at the 11th hour, and emerge with a deal soon after, did not surprise anyone who has watched him for four years.

It has become Cuomo’s signature move.

It works like this:

First, contend you’re staying on the sidelines. Then, stay on top of the talks behind the scenes. Finally, when it looks like a deal is coming together, swoop in and announce the settlement.


Hochul emerges to announce Women’s Equality line Capital New York (Gloria Pazmino and Jimmy Vielkind)

Lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul headlined a rally on the Upper West Side on Thursday, to announce she and Governor Andrew Cuomo plan to run on a new Women’s Equality ballot line.

Flanked by about 100 mostly young women supporters, the former congresswoman from Erie County trumpeted her pro-choice record, condemned a recent decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, and criticized the State Legislature’s failure to pass the Women’s Equality Act.


John Cahill Took $20,000 from Controversial Conservative Financier New York Observer (Will Bredderman)

Republican attorney general candidate John Cahill’s $1 million-plus campaign haul included $20,000 from conservative hedge fund manager Sean Fieler, known for his controversial statements about homosexuality and his activism against abortion.

Mr. Fieler, president of the Equinox Partners hedge fund, was the second largest individual donor to Mr. Cahill’s effort to unseat Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The Wall Street leader sits on the board of the American Principles Project and the Chiaroscuro Foundation, which have run various pro-life advertising campaigns, and he founded a new PAC in February to push conservative social values.


Cuomo spent $161 million on tourism, business ads Capital New York (Jimmy Vielkind)

ALBANY—New York has spent $161 million on ads promoting tourism and its business climate since Governor Andrew Cuomo took office in 2011, records released to Capital late Thursday show.

The largest block amount of money was devoted to airing ads related to the Start UP NY program, which exempts new or expanding businesses from property, payroll and state income taxes if they locate in designated areas on or near university campuses. A state tabulation shows $28 million was spent to air this campaign, which began last December and at one point was continuing at the pace of roughly $5 million per month.

Cuomo sys he’ll look into why ad funding hasn’t been made public Politics on the Hudson (Joseph Spector)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that he was unaware that Empire State Development hasn’t made details public about the “Open for Business” ad campaign to promote the state and will “look into it.”

Gannett’s Albany Bureau filed a Freedom of Information request a year ago for details about the ad campaign, which has totaled $200 million over the past four years, but the records have yet to be released.


State proposes to Indian Point shutdown in warm months to protect fish Capital New York (Scott Waldman)

ALBANY—The state has proposed shutting down the Indian Point nuclear plant for up to three months a year to protect fish in the Hudson River.

Indian Point provides 25 percent of New York City’s annual power needs. The shutdown proposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation would occur from May 10 to Aug. 10, during the highest period of electric demand. The plan is not final and could be revised, or combined with other plans to lessen Indian Point’s fish kills.



NYC pensions get poor returns from private equity New York Post (Josh Kosman)

New York City’s public pension funds fall near the back of the pack when it comes to private equity investments performance — a key area as they chase market-beating returns.

The city’s four biggest funds, including those for teachers, firefighters and cops, lagged their peers in a Post analysis of the 50 “most active” city and state public pension private equity investors.



Syracuse development Scott Congel still interested in buying Buffalo Bills, according to report Syracuse Post-Standard (Matthew Fairburn)

Add another name to the list of potential Buffalo Bills buyers.

Syracuse developer Scott Congel told WKBW that he is interested in buying the team. Earlier this week, the Buffalo News reported that a potential partnership between Congel and former Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano was no longer in the works, and now it appears the two are pursuing the team separately. Congel told WKBW that he is willing to pursue the team individually or as part of a team.


Grisanti survives on Independence line; new entrant in People-Stokes primary Buffalo News (Robert J. McCarthy)

The latest developments from the Board of Elections as candidates react to designating petitions filed last week:

   —  Republican Sen. Mark J. Grisanti is now assured of a line on the November general election ballot after the Erie County Board of Elections dismissed nominations of an entity calling itself the Erie County Independence Party. Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph M. Mohr said the board recognized earlier State Supreme Court rulings granting the state Independence Party the right to control all local nominations.


BlueCross BlueShield withdraws from Medicaid managed care program Buffalo News (Jerry Zremski)

WASHINGTON – Some 53,000 Medicaid recipients in the region, including nearly 29,000 in Erie County, will have to look for new insurance coverage this fall because BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is withdrawing from the Medicaid managed care program.

The insurer, which plans to publicly announce its withdrawal from the program today, informed government officials of the move Thursday in a memo that was obtained by The Buffalo News.



Miner to Obama: Syracuse welcomes migrant children awaiting deportation Syracuse Post-Standard (Tim Knauss)

SYRAC– USE, N.Y. — Mayor Stephanie Miner wrote to President Barack Obama today to urge federal officials to establish a site in Syracuse to house immigrant children awaiting deportation.

Federal officials have explored using six buildings at the former Maria Regina College, a 10-acre campus at Court Street and Grant Boulevard, said Rochelle Cassella, speaking for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities.



LIRR strike averted as tentative deal reached to end tense 4-year contract fight Newsday (Alfonso A. Castillo)

Long Island Rail Road union leaders and MTA negotiators, prodded by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, reached a tentative deal Thursday in the four-year-long contract battle that averts a strike and for the first time requires all workers to pay for health care.

Reached after a night of informal talks, the proposed pact keeps 5,400 railway workers from walking off the job at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. It also gives current LIRR workers, who now make an average $87,000 a year, 17 percent raises over 6 1/2 years — a middle ground between the seven years sought by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the six years sought by the eight unions.

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Posted by Charles and Randy Fisher (Twitter @HHSYC).