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 >

Schneiderman Sues Erie County Company Over Synthetic Pot Sales

schneidermanerieAttorney General Eric Schneiderman launched lawsuits on Monday against an Erie County-based company the AG’s office says has been involved in the shipment of hallucinogenic and psychotropic drugs, along with street-drug alternatives.

The suits, filed against distributor Surrealistic Sensations and its Rockland County-based operator Michael Jamail and retailer Liquid Shop, alleges the companies are in violation of state law by selling and promoting the substances — known as designer drugs — and have given the false impression that they are harmless through their labeling.

“The proliferation of illegal designer drugs is a national health crisis that is hurting New York families and communities,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “After successfully stopping more than 20 head shops across our state from selling these dangerous drugs, my prosecutors and investigators are tracking down dealers who sell these drugs online and in stores. There is one set of rules for everyone, and if your trade is selling dangerous, mislabeled drugs anywhere in New York State, you must stop — or we will stop you.”

The lawsuit comes after an investigation conducted by the attorney general’s office found the substances were being sold online to consumers in the Bronx and elsewhere. The retailer Liquid Shop was found to have sold the drugs at a storefront location in Nyack. More >

Gillibrand Raises For Former Aide’s House Bid

GillibrandU.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday sent out a fundraising email backing her former aide’s campaign for a central New York Congressional district.

In the email, Gillibrand writes Colleen Deacon’s bid to unseat Republican incumbent John Katko “the heart of what our Off The Sidelines movement is all about” — a reference to the state’s junior senator’s effort to elect more women to Congress.

As a single mother, Deacon “understands, acutely, what it’s like to go without a paycheck” while raising a family.

“As my former regional director for the past six years, I’ve trusted Colleen to help me bring the voices of hardworking Americans to Congress,” Gillibrand writes, adding, “Colleen is running in the NUMBER ONE swing district in our entire country. And she’s going to need this team’s help to win.”

The central New York House district has traded hands between both parties with regularity over the last several election cycles. Katko won the district only a year ago, unseating Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei, who had held the seat for two non-consecutive terms.

Gillibrand herself is a former House member, serving the only 20th congressional district until she was appointed in 2009 to replace U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Senate.

Faso Gets Fundraising Boost From GOP House Delegation

fasocongressNew York’s Republican House delegation is helping raise money for GOP congressional hopeful John Faso, who hopes to replace Rep. Chris Gibson in the 19th district.

The entire GOP delegation from New York — save for Gibson himself, who is not endorsing a candidate to replace him before an expected primary next June — is participating in the fundraiser for Faso, a former Assembly minority leader from Kinderhook in the Hudson Valley.

Tickets for the Oct. 6 event in Washington, D.C. range from $500 to $2,700.

Faso, a 2002 candidate for state comptroller and 2006 Republican nominee for governor, launched his first bid for elective office in nearly a decade in September, but a number of Republican candidates are seeking the seat being vacated by Gibson.

In addition to the backing from Republican House members, Faso’s fundraiser will also be attended by former Reps. Tom Reynolds and Bill Paxon.

The backing from the full delegation, though, is eyebrow raising, especially this early in the process. Faso is expected to face a primary challenge from at least one and as many as three fellow Republicans later next year.

Also attending is a member of the House Republican leadership: Tom Cole, the Oklahoma Republican and deputy majority whip, who led the GOP’s fundraising between 2006 and 2008.

Businessman Andrew Heaney filed to run for the seat earlier this summer, making a pitch to Republican leaders in the district that he is not a career politician — a reference to Faso’s resume as both a state lawmaker and attorney for an Albany-based lobbying shop. More >

Kaminsky Kicks In For Senate Dems

senate1From the Morning Memo:

Freshman Long Island Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, whose profile rose in the wake of Speaker Sheldon Silver’s arrest earlier this year on corruption charges, contributed $5,000 to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, a filing with the Board of Elections shows.

The contribution — listed as a transfer on the filing for the Senate Democrats — comes as Kaminsky is a potential candidate to run for the seat currently held by the other former state legislative leader awaiting trial for corruption charges: Nassau County Republican Dean Skelos.

In a statement provided to Capital Tonight, Kaminsky insisted the money was aimed at backing a Democratic takeover of the chamber, and he encouraged other New Yorkers to do the same.

“The Legislature’s number one priority should be to pass stricter, smarter laws to prevent corruption and make our government more accountable to New Yorkers,” Kaminsky said in the statement. “Albany cannot function as effectively as possible without improving our constituents’ trust in those elected and appointed to serve them. The leadership of the Senate Democrats has stood up for reform and has the will to make real change in Albany. I strongly support that effort, and I encourage other New Yorkers who care about reforming our government to support a leadership change in our state Senate however they can.”

More >

Senate Dems: $680K In The Bank

From the Morning Memo:

The fundraising arm of the Senate Democratic conference raised $172,558 and is holding $679,066 in cash on hand, a filing with the Board of Elections shows.

The conference, which had struggled for years with debt in their campaign account after losing the majority in 2010, has been debt-free for several fundraising cycles.

Senate Democrats are entering a position in which they have near-cash parity with Senate Republicans, whose coffers have typically dwarfed the mainlined conference in the chamber.

Senate Republicans reported late last week $1.1 million in cash on hand, but have spent heavily, especially to shore up GOP candidate Fred Akshar in the Southern Tier-area special election.

Nevertheless, Senate Democrats are encouraged by their chances in a presidential election, in which more Democratic voters come out, and tend to boost down-ballot races.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Monroe County with no public schedule.

At 8 a.m., NYC Council Transportation Committee Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez hosts a summit with leading transportation advocates, attendees include NYC Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission Commissioner Meera Joshi, NYU Rudin Center, 295 Lafayette St., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray deliver remarks at the groundbreaking of the Staten Island Family Justice Center, Grand Jury Room, 126 Stuyvesant Pl., Staten Island.

At 10:15 a.m., Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan joins state Sen. Martin Golden on a walking tour and media availability in Gerritsen Beach, starting in front of 3078 Gerritsen Ave., Brooklyn.

At 10:30 a.m., AG Eric Schneiderman will announce a major crackdown on distributors of synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs, Bronx County Courthouse, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

At 11 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul addresses students and faculty at Niagara University about Cuomo’s Enough is Enough campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses, the Gallagher Center Multi-Purpose Room, 5795 Lewiston Rd., Lewiston.

Also at 11 a.m., Rep. Elise Stefanik visits and tours Applejack’s Orchard, 751 Brand Hollow Rd., Peru.

Also at 11 a.m., the New York National Guard will honor Chester A. Arthur, the 21st President of the US with a formal wreath laying on his grave at Albany Rural Cemetery this morning (Oct.5), which is the 186th anniversary of his birth, Cemetery Avenue, Menands.

At 11:30 a.m., St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital (SLCH) will make a major announcement about its future healthcare delivery plans in the Hudson Valley, Main Lobby, SLCH Newburgh campus, 70 Dubois St., Newburgh.

At 1 p.m., Hochul and Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster tour Walnut Avenue homes to showcase neighborhood revitalization efforts, Corner of 6th and Walnut Avenue, Niagara Falls.

Also at 1 p.m., the state Thruway Authority’s finance and audit committees meet, Thruway Authority, 200 Southern Blvd., Albany.

At 4 p.m., Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell attend a Fall Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Kickoff event, The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park.

At 6 p.m., Rep. Joe Crowley hosts an event to celebrate Italian Heritage Month with the Bronx-Queens Italian-American community, with state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. giving a keynote address, F & J Pine Restaurant, 1913 Bronxdale Ave., Bronx.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio attends the Feminist Press annual Feminist Power awards ceremony, where McCray is scheduled to be honored, Tribecca Rooftop, 2 Desbrosses St., Manhattan.


On the heels of the nation’s latest mass shooting, Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton will issue proposals today in New Hampshire to curb gun violence, including holding out the potential of using executive actions.

Republicans – including Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove, a potential GOP AG candidate, are accusing Gov. Andrew Cuomo of using the Oregon community-college massacre to boost his own national image, and say if he’s serious about stopping gun crimes, he’ll seek tougher penalties here and not look to Washington.

The US Supreme Court’s new tern kicks off today, and the justices will consider cases that could gut public sector labor unions and roll back affirmative action at state universities, delivering potential wins to conservatives. However, uncertainty surrounds cases on abortion and immigration.

A concrete company co-owned by the head of the state Senate Labor Committee, Long Island Republican Jack Martins, has been sued numerous times for alleged labor violations.

As the clock ticks closer to Election Day and further past the usual date for finalizing ballots, two legal appeals have the potential to solidify Cuomo’s control of the Women’s Equality Party.

Two subway riders injured in last month’s G train derailment have filed notices to sue for damages, alleging they were victims of a feud between the city and the MTA over the funding of repairs to the system.

Representatives from more than 45 counties and multiple statewide organizations will be in Syracuse today to build support for legislation that would force the state to assume the cost of indigent legal services that local officials say are the state’s responsibility anyway.

A seminar that brings together homicide detectives and forensics experts from across North American and Europe is being held in Albany for the 28th year, and kicks off today.

NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering in Brooklyn is getting a $100 million contribution and will change its name today in recognition of the large gift.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio attempted this weekend to sell wary churchgoers on his administration’s plan to rezone East New York.

The leadership of the Bronx Republican and Conservative parties nominated a local lawyer, Robert Siano, to run against former Democratic state Supreme Court Justice Darcel Clark for the borough’s district attorney spot.

Questions continue about economic development practices by Cuomo’s administration – including the proposed sale of valuable piece of land from NYSERDA to SUNY Poly for $1. Board member Kenneth Daley, who is the head of the utility company National Grid, said he’d like an independent legal opinion before signing off on the deal.

Top SUNY Buffalo State officials are urging heightened safety awareness and vigilance across campus after a string of five criminal incidents since the beginning of the school year in late August.

More >