Wall Street Posts Strongest First Half Since 2011

moneyProfits on Wall Street posted their strongest first six months of the year since 2011, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced in an earnings report released on Tuesday.

The state’s securities industry recorded profits of $11.3 billion, despite a recent string of economic uncertainties, especially from overseas markets.

“After a very strong first half of the year, the securities industry faces volatile financial markets and an unsteady global economy,” DiNapoli said. “After years of downsizing, the industry has been adding jobs in New York City, but it may curtail hiring to bolster profits. We’re hopeful that Wall Street’s robust first half will result in a good year. The securities industry continues to be a major contributor to the city’s economy and a large contributor to the state and city budgets.”

Profits on Wall Street have been considered relatively strong over the last two years, averaging $16.3 billion in spite of the continued uncertainty overseas, regulatory framework imposed since the 2008 financial crisis and a series of blockbuster settlements. More >

Faso’s Employer Gave To Democratic Causes

From the Morning Memo:

As some Republicans in the 19th congressional district quietly question the donation GOP candidate Andrew Heaney gave to President Obama in 2008, others are scrutinizing the giving by former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso.

No, Faso hasn’t given directly to a Democratic candidate or campaign.

But he has with regularity over the last decade given to the political action committee of his employer, Manat, Phelps and Phillips.

The Golden State PAC, as it is called, has given steadily in turn to Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid a combined $11,600 (Obama’s committee refunded his contribution after his 2004 Senate victory).

Meanwhile, the PAC has given to Democratic campaign causes on the federal level, including tens of thousands of dollars to the Democratic Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Both Faso and Heaney are running in the 19th congressional district, a Hudson Valley seat being vacated by Rep. Chris Gibson, who is considering a statewide campaign for 2018.

Another Republican Enters NY-19 Race

ny19From the Morning Memo:

A third Republican is looking at joining the 2016 race to replace Rep. Chris Gibson, who is retiring at the end of the year with an eye toward a possible run for governor in 2018.

Robert Bishop, a Delaware County native, local farmer and self-described “close personal friend” of Gibson’s, says he plans to soon formally announce his candidacy for the seat.

“I have been considering running for Congress for some time, and the next cycle looks like the best opportunity,” Bishop wrote in an email to CapTon.

“I have worked closely for Chris since he first campaigned, and now that he has announced he is not running again, I certainly think I am the one who can step up and continue the successes for NY-19 that he has achieved.”

Bishop, who has held several local elected posts, but has never before run for an office of this level, said he will provide an outsider’s view of politics.

So far, two Republicans – former Assembly Minority Leader and 206 GOP gubernatorial candidate John Faso and businessman Andrew Heaney – have declared their intentions to run for Gibson’s seat. More >

Hochul: Plenty Of WEP Candidates Not Facing Legal Challenges

hochulFrom the Morning Memo:

While dozens of candidates running on the Women’s Equality Party ballot line have been tossed or denied access, there are some candidates not facing any legal challenges, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Monday in western New York.

“Actually, in many parts of the state, there are no challenges whatsoever,” Hochul said. “I think that’s the story that’s not being heard, that there are candidates who are eligible for this who will be on the ballot this November. There are a few cases in which there have been challenges and we’re waiting for the court process to work its way through and we’ll know very shortly.”

Hochul did not say how many candidates will retain ballot status this November, the first off-cycle election for the fledgling ballot line that was formed last year during Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign.

Local candidates running in elections have been denied ballot access for the WEP, which was created by Cuomo’s re-election effort in order to promote women’s issues in the election. More >

Lawmakers Hope For Second Look At Teacher Evaluations

testsFrom the Morning Memo:

As a task force created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares to consider overhauling the state’s controversial Common Core standards, state lawmakers hope the latest teacher evaluation law will also be up for changes, too.

“We are seeing a reset button being hit in regards to Common Core, but it is going to have an impact on evaluations as well,” said Democratic Assemblyman John McDonald, who represents a Capital Region-area district.

Cuomo last week formed a new task force that will consider changes to the standards, which New York adopted in 2010, before he becamse governor. But Cuomo has felt the brunt of the opposition to the standards, with parents and teachers criticizing what they see as an over reliance on testing.

“The goal should be simple: The best education system for our children,” Cuomo said in a video released to promote the task force’s formation. “That’s it.”

Cuomo, too, signaled he was potentially open to considering changes to the evaluation system, which was updated with new criteria in the April state budget.

“No one wants an evaluation system that is inaccurate or unfair,” Cuomo said. More >

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

At 8:45 a.m., Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a 2016 GOP hopeful, discusses the “unique challenges facing businesses in the sharing economy that have resulted directly from outdated leaders in government”, followed by a discussion with New York Civic Hall Founder Andrew Rasej, Civic Hall, 156 5th Ave., Manhattan.

At 9:15 a.m., AG Eric Schneiderman will be a guest on NPR’s “The Takeaway” discussing the multi-state investigation into Volkswagen.

At 10 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli releases annual report on profitability of securities industry on a conference call with media.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia joins state Sen. Martin J. Golden at a school assembly to kick-off an Anti-Litter Essay Contest for elementary school students, P.S. 127, 7805 7th Ave., Brooklyn.

At 11 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks on behalf of the governor at the 18th annual New York State fallen firefighters memorial ceremony, Empire State Plaza, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner joins community leaders for a short parade marking formal opening of a new crosswalk along West St., 109 Otisco St., Syracuse.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio ill deliver remarks at the ribbon-cutting for the Brooklyn College Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School for Cinema at Steiner Studios, 25 Washington Ave., 6th Floor, Brooklyn.

Also at 11 a.m., the Assembly will hold a roundtable discussion on the interplay between child daycare and pre-kindergarten programs in the state, LOB, Room 711-A, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., Sen. Tony Avella and members of the Task Force on the Delivery of Social Services in New York City will hold a public forum titled, “The Current State of Homelessness in New York City,” 250 Broadway 19th Floor, Manhattan.

At noon, Queens elected officials, including Sens. Mike Gianaris and Toby Stavisky, Assemblyman Ron Kim and NYC Councilman Peter Koo, and community members will call for improved safety and awareness in the vicinity of College Point Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue in the wake of Sunday morning’s fatal hit-and-run, Southeast corner of College Point Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, Queens.

At 1 p.m., Hochul tours the New York State Education and Research Network (NYSERNET), 405 Jordan Rd., Tory.

At 2 p.m., Sen. Jose Peralta and NYC Councilman Costa Constantinides recognize the First Annual Organ Donor enrollment day and unveils bill to include assistance for kidney transplantation for undocumented New Yorkers, 78th St. and 37th Ave., Jackson Heights, Queens.

At 4:30 p.m., Hochul tours Equinox, 95 Central Ave., Albany.

At approximately 5 p.m., de Blasio will appear on WCBS 880.

At 7 p.m., NY1’s “Inside City Hall” host Errol Louis moderates a live debate between the Staten Island DA candidates, College of Staten Island.

Also at 7 p.m., Cuomo and de Blasio attend a 48th birthday celebration for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, La Marina, 348 Dyckman St., Manhattan.


IDC Leader Jeff Klein’s alliance with Republicans has paid off. The Bronx state senator has been awarded $11.7 million in earmarks over the last three years — more than triple the amount of any other member of the chamber.

Nearly $8 million in new capital project money publicly itemized for the first time by the Senate GOP is tied to five men no longer serving in the chamber. The money, which critics decry as pork-barrel spending, makes up nearly 11 percent of the total $74.7 million unveiled by Senate Republicans.

New Buffalo Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash has an ambitious reform agenda, but is realistic about the many roadblocks in his path. Knowing how past superintendents have been treated, he has rented, not purchased a place to live in the Queen City.

Nearly one of every four workers on the SolarCity construction project during July were women or minorities, exceeding the workforce diversity targets set for the $900 million solar panel factory, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.

Federal law-enforcement authorities are investigating an alleged bribery scheme involving payments to officials at the United Nations to gain support for real-estate development in Macau, people familiar with the matter said.

While promoting her new proposals to limit the availability of firearms, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton suggested at a town hall in New Hampshire that “responsible gun owners” should join together to create an alternative to the NRA.

Clinton is lashing out at the special House committee investigating the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya. She said in a televised interview that the panel’s inquiry was a partisan political exercise designed to “exploit” the deaths of four Americans.

The Oneida Indian Nation blasted Donald Trump after the GOP presidential candidate said he knows Indians who are proud of the Washington Redskins football team name, and he sees no reason to change it.

A nonprofit group filed a lawsuit challenging the recent move by the predominantly Hasidic village of Kiryas Joel north of New York City to annex land from the town of Monroe.

Advocates dressed up in fake pregnant bellies and wearing shackles rallied in front of Cuomo’s Manhattan office, pressing him to sign a bill that would strengthen a 2009 law that banned the shackling of incarcerated women during childbirth.

Federal prosecutors are turning over tens of thousands of pages of records, including those from 300 bank accounts, to attorneys for Harendra Singh, the prominent Long Island restaurateur, in preparation for his trial on bribery and other felony charges.

Ex-NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and former Department Chief Joseph Esposito made false and misleading statements about their email usage in sworn declarations they gave in a class-action lawsuit over department summonses, the plaintiffs’ lawyer alleges in court papers.

More >


Former Governor and former AG Eliot Spitzer tackles the prison brutality problem, saying the current AG, Eric Schneiderman, should be given power by the current governor, Andrew Cuomo, to investigate such cases, and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli should “conduct an audit to determine why the discipline of corrections officers has been so inadequate.”

A second body has been found at the site of Saturday’s gas explosion in Brooklyn, fire officials said.

Confidants of Vice President Joe Biden expect him to make a decision next weekend, or shortly thereafter, on whether to launch an epic battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, and several believe he’s leaning toward “yes.”

Harvard law Prof. Lawrence Lessig raised more than $1 million in one month for his insurgent presidential campaign – a haul that he is using to bolster his argument that he should be included in the Democratic debates.

Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia has checked himself into an alcohol rehab facility and will not be able to pitch for the team this season.

After a six-year absence, legislative earmarks — and howls about “pork” spending — have returned to the Capitol.

Shortly after NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez called on his colleagues to pass a resolution supportive of congestion pricing, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that while he’s open to the idea, Albany – which must sign off on the idea – is not.

Punching back at a series of newspaper ads from the TWU blasting de Blasio, liberal allies of the mayor accused the union of doing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s dirty work in his ongoing feud with City Hall.

The “Hunger Games” applications are due today.

New York’s first legal hemp seeds are one step closer to being grown by universities and local farmers after the state made a new round of revisions to the regulations.

New York residents are increasingly dependent on natural gas produced in other states to heat their homes, according to new federal data.

The New York Times now has more than one million digital-only subscribers, more than any other publication in the world.

Long Island’s largest labor group is taking a pass on endorsing either candidate in the hotly contested Nassau district attorney race between the acting District Attorney Madeline Singas, a Democrat, and her Republican challenger, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray.

A $2.5 million federal grant will enable two South Buffalo public schools to address many of the outside learning obstacles that hurt their students.

A group of ministers and elected officials is calling on Cuomo to ensure that 30 percent of the $4 billion plan to rebuild LaGuardia Airport is handled by firms owned by minorities at the highest levels of the project.

PEF President Wayne Spence has announced that the union’s new lead negotiator for contract talks with the state will be Mark Richard, a Miami-based labor lawyer with long-time ties with the American Federation of Teachers.

NYC Public Advocate Tish James, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and Assemblyman Keith Wright got into the spirit (and costumes) at MedievalFest.

A plane with 152 aboard and headed for Boston was diverted safely to Syracuse this morning after a pilot died.

Cuomo: WEP Opponents Fear Its Power

cuomogunsThe effort to derail the Women’s Equality is rooted in the fear its opponents have over its potential power, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters late last week.

In a gaggle with reporters in New York City Friday evening, Cuomo noted he received more than 50,000 votes on the ballot line last year — a testament, he said, to the desire for a party that promotes women’s issues.

“It really gained a lot of traction because women know their voice has not been fully heard and I think that’s why you have a lot of other political forces who are afraid of it trying to stop it,” Cuomo said.

Candidates seeking to run on the line this November have been tossed or denied access in recent weeks after a broader Supreme Court ruling determine a majority of the candidates who ran statewide last year on the line have to sign off on rules to govern the organization.

Among the candidates who failed to gain access to the line was Senate hopeful Barbara Fiala, a former DMV commissioner in Cuomo’s administration who briefly led the party was interim chairwoman in July.

Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul have signed a package of rules, but Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli have not. More >

The WEP Remains In Debt

womensequalityThe Women’s Equality Party remains weighed down by more than $40,000 in debt, recent campaign finance filings show.

The party reported on Friday with the Board of Elections having raised no money since July, and reported having spent $3,500 on mail costs since July. The part also reported a $25 bank fee.

Overall, the ballot line formed last year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign has $3,131 in cash on hand, down from the $6,656 it reported this summer.

But the party itself continues to carry a heavy debt load: $40,730, the bulk of which appears to from $34,835 owed to 80/20 Consulting left over from 2014.

The line was formed last year as a way to promote women’s issues in the statewide elections, but drew criticism from liberals that it was siphoning votes from the labor-backed Working Families Party.

The filing comes as candidates around the state running in local races this November were tossed from the ballot line or denied access. More >

Judge Rejects Libous’s Bid For A New Trial

libous1U.S. District Court Judge VIncent Briccetti has rejected an effort by Republican former Sen. Tom Libous to have his felony conviction tossed, determining the evidence in his trial was sufficient enough to determine that he lied in an interview with federal law enforcement.

Briccetti’s ruling, which came down late last week, is a blow to Libous’s legal battle and came after his attorneys filed motions in an effort to toss the July conviction or seek a new trial.

The ruling was first reported by Gannett.

Libous automatically lost his seat in July when he was convicted on a charge of lying to the FBI in a case stemming from his son receiving a job from a politically connected law firm.

Libous’s son, Matthew, earned $150,000 a year at the Westchester County law firm, was sentenced to federal prison for six months following his conviction on tax evasion charges. More >