Liz Benjamin

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A prosecutor called former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver a “master of deception” as summations began in the Manhattan Democrat’s closely watched corruption case.

“The defense all boils down to this: this is all just a coincidence,” said Andrew Goldstein, the assistant U.S. attorney who gave the summation. “You know the quid and the quo are connected. It’s obvious. It’s common sense.”

Arriving at court today, Silver continued to insist he’ll be “vindicated.”

Glenwood Management, the real estate developer at the center of the corruption trials of both Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, gave half a million dollars in 2011 to the Committee to Save New York, a business-backed advocacy group that focused solely on supporting Cuomo’s agenda.

The Court of Appeals rejected efforts to make public the testimony heard by the Staten Island grand jury in the death of Eric Garner.

The state Gaming Commission is putting forth a series of sweeping rules regarding the use of drugs for Thoroughbreds following their report on a series of allegations that PETA made following an investigation they conducted during the 2013 racing season at the Saratoga Race Course.

The Syracuse Common Council voted 5-3 to appoint veteran politician Joe Nicoletti to fill the vacancy left by Pam Hunter, who resigned this month after winning a seat in the state Assembly. Some councilors were angered by the speed with which he had been chosen.

Frank Parlato Jr.’s unusual role as a newspaper owner writing about his own criminal case prompted the prosecution to ask for a gag order. The judge in the case said no.

Horse racing and wagering is now legal on Palm Sunday, thanks to a bill Cuomo signed into law this past weekend.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg expressed little faith in the ability of state and federal elected leaders to make progress on climate change, saying that business, consumers and mayors will have a much greater impact.

Bronx Assemblyman José Rivera shared a bizarre photo of himself sitting in the washroom of an airplane with his Facebook friends yesterday.

Nassau Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves said lawmakers have reached a deal they hope will avoid steep budget cuts from NIFA.

Cuomo also signed a bill that would create a commission for the state women’s suffrage 100th anniversary commemoration in 2017.

A Central New York man was charged with masterminding a $1.6 million scheme to sell high-tech audio earbuds to state employees while charging their insurance carrier for hearing aids.

The US Senate Democrats’ campaign arm outraised its Republican rivals in October by about $1.5 million. The DSCC brought in $3.8 million compared to the NRSC’s $2.3 million.

NYC is looking at bringing in drones for everything from catastrophic fires and natural disasters to tree pruning and traffic jams.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump suggested he would be open to running for president as an independent if he concludes the GOP isn’t treating him “fairly.”

Raising For Kaminsky

From the Morning Memo:

As the federal corruption trial of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his adult son, Adam, continues in Manhattan today, two top Democrats will be hosting a fund-raiser for a freshman assemblyman mentioned as a potential contender for Skelos’ Long Island seat.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs are headlining the event for Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, a former federal prosecutor, at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse tonight, according to an invitation provided to CapTon.

Thanks to his record of prosecuting public corruption cases, Kaminsky, who was elected in 2014 to fill the seat of retired former Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, is viewed by Democratic leaders as an attractive candidate for the Senate next fall regardless of whether Skelos is found guilty and forced to resign, or weathers the legaI storm and seeks re-election.

Kaminsky, who also happens to be the great-nephew of comedian Mel Brooks, hasn’t said one way or another whether he’s interested in running for the Senate, though he did tell liberal Democratic activist and radio host Bill Samuels this weekend that he would be “a fool not to want to at least think about it.”

“I don’t think it’s ripe for discussion yet,” Kaminsky said yesterday on AM 970’s “Effective Radio with Bill Samuels”, adding: “As long as Senator Skelos is the senator…it’s a long time until next November. If he’s not the senator, then obviously that will certainly prompt some discussion.”

“…But I just have a lot to do on Long Island to fight for people in my district, to fight for the middle class,” the assemblyman continued. More >

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with a Thanksgiving-related event in the afternoon.

The federal corruption trials of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver continue (separately) in New York City this morning, with closing arguments scheduled in the Silver case.

A full calendar of the day’s events appears at the end of this post.


Frustrated by the pending shutdown of two nuclear power plants on Lake Ontario, which he hopes to delay, Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to order state regulators to mandate that, by 2030, half of all power consumed by New Yorkers be generated from renewable sources that emit much less carbon dioxide.

In Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s corruption case, in which no witness testified directly to knowledge of an illegal quid pro quo, how Judge Valerie Caproni tells jurors to interpret the evidence as it relates to the law could sway deliberations. Two relatively low profile lawyers – the “law guys” – are trying to influence that process.

The head of a breakaway faction of state Senate Democrats, IDC Leader Jeff Klein, says his group is not ready to abandon its five-year alliance with the chamber’s Republican majority just because former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was caught on tape trashing them. “Nothing changes,” Klein said. “Coalition government is bigger than one person.”

The push by a JCOPE commissioner appointed by Silver to legislators applying for exemptions from new financial disclosure rules — passed in the wake of Silver’s corruption indictment earlier this year — to submit the paperwork seeking exemptions by hand, in person, and not just by email, could weaken future corruption cases.

As a January deadline looms, real estate industry and union leaders have yet to hammer out a deal on 421-a abatement.

A bill to allow illegal immigrants in New Jersey to apply for driver’s licenses is fueling impassioned reactions in both parties as state lawmakers consider whether the goal of improving road safety outweighs concerns about national security.

Faced with a neighborhood backlash against his zoning plans for affordable housing, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio went to a Bronx church to pitch his plan as a needed bulwark against New York becoming a “gilded city.” He argued that since development is inevitable, the city is better off working to make sure it doesn’t totally leave out the poor and middle class.

A slew of prominent communications firms may be forced to register as lobbyists under a proposal by the state ethics commission, JCOPE. The plan would force private consulting groups that have helped craft messages for lobbying efforts to register with the state. Until now, their activities have not been considered lobbying.

Cuomo insults the legacy of his late father, liberal icon Mario Cuomo, by claiming that businesses paying the minimum wage “steal” $2 billion from taxpayers because their workers can get government subsidies, according to Empire Center for Public Policy President E.J. McMahon.

When political analysts added up turnout figures from the Nov. 3 elections, they could find only one word to describe a year when a mere 24.5 percent of registered voters showed up at the polls in Erie County: Abysmal.

Andrew Hevesi, the chairman of the state Assembly Social Services Committee, called on Cuomo to tap into $2.1 billion the state has collected from legal settlements to help address the city’s growing homeless problem.

Cuomo vetoed bipartisan legislation that would have provided fare relief to NYC commuters who have to take two buses and a train to reach their destination.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer is pushing legislation to ban known or suspected terrorists from legally buying firearms and explosives. He says 2,000 people on the terror watch list have purchased guns in the US, and blames the National Rifle Association for blocking the measure in the past.

Long Island has even more excess power than previously projected, enough to forestall the need for a big new generating plant until 2028, according to an updated analysis by PSEG Long Island.

Nurses are hoping the Buffalo Common Council will get behind state legislation to mandate minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. The city’s Legislation Committee unanimously endorsed the resolution Nov. 17 to the cheers of dozens of nurses, and the Council is expected to adopt it Tuesday.

The owners of Liberty Ridge Farm, Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were fined $13,000 after refusing to host a lesbian wedding, are appealing the ruling. The couple’s attorneys will make their case before a mid-level appeals court today in Albany.

More >

The Weekend That Was

Trying to reassure a nation on edge, President Obama said the Islamic State group “cannot strike a mortal blow” against the U.S., and he warned that overreacting to the Paris attacks would play into extremists’ hands. “We will destroy this terrorist organization,” he vowed.

The governor urged residents to begin taking the necessary steps to prepare for accumulations of lake effect snow that will impact parts of western and northern New York tonight through early tomorrow morning.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer vowed to fight “tooth and nail” against the National Rifle Association to make it a a crime for anyone to sell guns to terrorists.

Wading into the national debate about potential security risks posed by refugees fleeing violence in Syria, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said he is more concerned with people on terrorist watch lists being able to purchase firearms.

Former Rep. Dan Maffei has a new job lined up at the Federal Maritime Commission, an independent federal agency that regulates international shipping. Officials were loathe to say how much he’ll be paid, but it’s likely about $155,500.

The NYPD is following through on NYC Mayor Nill de Blasio’s pledge to stop locking people up for carrying small amounts of pot. Police cuffed 18,120 individuals on this charge through Oct. 20 — a 40 percent plummet from the 29,906 pot busts in the same period last year, state Division of Criminal Justice records show.

Western New York real estate developer-turned-newspaper publisher Frank Parlato Jr.’s battle with federal prosecutors, four years in the making, escalated when a grand jury accused him of cheating the Internal Revenue Service and two heirs to the Seagrams liquor fortune.

Following the terrorist attacks on Paris, Staten Island Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is calling on de Blasio to stop issuing municipal ID cards to undocumented immigrants.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says de Blasio would do better as mayor of the capital of Syria than New York. “Given the way he’s talking, and not worried about the security and safety of the people of New York, maybe he should be mayor of Damascus,” Christie said on CNN’s State of the Union.

The Rev. Al Sharpton gave himself a 71 percent raise last year after his National Action Network group drew a record $6.9 million in donations.

Cuomo on Saturday vetoed a bill for the second time that would have sought additional protections for mute swans that the state Department of Environmental Conservation have deemed as an invasive species.

Some believe the governor forced the hand of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown when it came to giving public employees of the city a minim wage increase to $15 an hour. Conservative Chairman Ralph Lorigo called the move an “impediment” to party backing should Brown run for a fourth term in 2017.

New York labor leader Dennis Rivera, the former SEIU 1199 president, funneled $1.1 million of his nonprofit’s money to a “sham” charity tied to former presidential candidate and then-New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the NY Post reports.

New York’s liberal-leaning Working Families Party is working to broaden its reach with a new emphasis on local, down-ballot races around the state. The labor-backed party is best known for its involvement in statewide races and political campaigns in New York City, but in this month’s election, it recruited and supported 111 candidates in local races. Seventy-one of them won.

Tom Precious says the wiretapped conversation between former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, about the relationship between the GOP and the IDC proved “Albany politics are raw, alliances and friendships are highly fleeting, and even worries about the health of fellow politicians are not always centered on empathy but political survival.”

Denise Jewell Gee notes that the debate over whether daily fantasy football betting is legal is “besides the point” for those who are trying to help problem gamblers because “they’re already seeing people who need help because they’ve lost control to the game.”

Outgoing Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman still thinks the mandatory retirement age of 70 is “ridiculous” in the year 2015. That said, he doesn’t hold a grudge at his forced departure from the high court bench.

In September, log-grown mushrooms were recognized as an official crop in New York, bringing tax breaks and validation for fungi farmers.

Conde Nast Traveler released their list of the 15 most beautiful lakes in the country, citing that they’re gorgeous and worth a visit any time of year. Lake George in the Adirondacks is the only lake in the northeast to make the cut.

RIP Sheila Fuller, whose leadership resume included a 10-year run as town supervisor in Bethlehem. She is being remembered for the respect and care she held for the town and its citizens.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo might not be running for president, but he is systematically putting himself on a bigger political stage in his second term.

The governor has just over a week to select a successor from the list of seven names provided to him for retiring Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg says his relationship with his successor, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, has “never been bad,” telling reporters: “I don’t know where you guys get this stuff.”

De Blasio said failing to get ahead of the city’s homelessness problem and explain it to New Yorkers is the biggest mistake he has made so far in office.

RIP John E. Zuccotti, the real estate investor and former deputy mayor who championed the revival of lower Manhattan in the wake of 9/11, has died at the age of 78. His namesake park was the center of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement.

Republican 2016 candidate Donald Trump backed off discussion of a mandatory database to track Muslims after a torrent of criticism from both Republicans and Democratic opponents.

The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame is moving from Amsterdam in the Mohawk Valley to Wichita Falls, Texas early next year.

Democratic 2016 candidate Bernie Sanders has two new TV ads that will hit the airwaves in New Hampshire and Iowa this weekend.

Democratic chairs in NY-19 have launched an effort to draft Ulster County Executive Mike Hein into the race.

Veteran reporter Marcia Kramer gets her due.

Penn State has put a moratorium on recreational class trips to New York City and Washington D.C., since both cities are, in the eyes of the university, highly volatile targets of inevitable terrorism.

Adele Malpass, the chairwoman of the Manhattan Republican Party, wants former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to challenge de Blasio on the GOP line in 2017.

A review by the state Farm Bureau found that the cost of the average Thanksgiving meal in New York is increasing 3 percent this year compared to last year.

The Atlantic magazine’s Alana Semuels, in a piece headlined “How to Decimate a City,” cites research showing Syracuse has highest rates of concentrated poverty among black and Hispanics in the nation.

The DEC is investigating the deaths of waterbirds found along the shores of Lake Ontario in Wayne, Oswego and Jefferson counties. The dead birds started turning up in mid-October.

Queens is getting its first-ever marathon to be run entirely in the borough. The 26-mile race is scheduled for April 30th, 2016 at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Interim Rochester School District Superintendent Daniel Lowengard will make $195,000 — the same salary as Bolgen Vargas, whom he replaces — when he assumes control Jan. 1.

In the battle for New York City riders, Uber isn’t the only smartphone-driven car service gaining ground. Its smaller rival known for pink mustaches (Lyft) is also racing ahead.

In a woman’s presence, men eat 93 percent more pizza, according to researchers at Cornell University.

Senate GOP Plans Health Republic Hearing

From the Morning Memo:

Concerned over the fallout from the demise of the nation’s largest health insurance co-op, Health Republic, the Senate Republicans will hold a “forum, roundtable or hearing” early next year to determine if legislative action is necessary to help clean up the mess.

“I think it’s certainly something that we need to look at,” said Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Jim Seward during a CapTon interview last night.

Seward stopped short of saying the exact purpose of this hearing would be to determine who’s at fault for Health Republic’s failure, even as some of his GOP colleagues – particularly Rep. Chris Gibson – have suggested the Financial Services Department bears the brunt of the responsibility, and should be the subject of an outside investigation.

The senator did say, however, that he has “issues” with DFS, adding: “It’s their responsibility to make sure that these health plans are financially solvent, and then all of a sudden we find out that Health Republic, there’s no money there.”

“So, I think that’s certainly something we need to look at, in terms of what is the process at the Department of Financial Services to make sure that these health plans are solvent and these claims can be paid,” Seward said. More >

Here and Now

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

At 7:30 a.m., Reps. Chris Gibson and Sean Patrick Maloney deliver remarks and meet with constituents at the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast, Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital, Poughkeepsie.

At 9 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on WOR 710 AM to discuss security and the Paris terror attacks.

At 9:30 a.m., CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Murphy Institute and University Student Senate host “Labor 101,″ a presentation on union structures and history, followed by a discussion with NY1’s Errol Louis, the Times’ Sarah Maslin Nir, Columbia’s Ari Paul, and CUNY’s Shomial Ahmad, Room 308, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Rep. Gregory Meeks and NYC Councilman Donovan Richards join city and state agencies and The Bluestone Organization to mark the start of construction on Beach Green North, an energy-efficient, resilient, affordable housing development, 44-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens.

Also at 10 a.m., de Blasio, former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Parks Commissioner Mitchel Silver, FAICP and actress Bette Midler to celebrate the planting of the one millionth tree of the MillionTreesNYC initiative two years ahead of schedule, Joyce Kilmer Park, East 163rd Street & Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

Also at 10 a.m., staff from the state Board of Elections and the New York City Campaign Finance Board preview new state campaign finance data reporting and discuss how to make the data easier to use, Civic Hall, 156 Fifth Ave., 2nd floor, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie joins Assemblyman Kevin Cahill on tour of SUNY New Paltz, Student Union Building, 1 Hawk Dr., New Paltz.

At 10:10 a.m., “The Albany Report,” state Sen. David Carlucci’s radio show, features East Ramapo Interim Superintendent Dr. Deborah Wortham, WRCR AM 1700.

At 11 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul speaks at the New York Botanical Gardens Green Zone groundbreaking ceremony, 2900 Southern Blvd., Main Gate, the Bronx.

At 11:15 a.m., Heastie visits the Agri-business Child Development Center, ABCD Center, 6 Adams St., Kingston.

At 11:45 a.m., Heastie holds a media availability, Maritime Center, 50 Rondout Landing, Kingston.

At noon, Hochul addresses the 21st annual Rockland Economic Development Corporation’s awards luncheon, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 3 Executive Blvd., Suffern. (A media availability will follow).

Also at noon, NYC Councilman Carlos Menchaca, advocates and New Yorkers who would qualify for immigration relief call on the Supreme Court to remove a legal barrier to President Obama’s administrative relief programs after a year of legal delays, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at noon, Heastie meets with local elected officials, Ole Savannah Restaurant, 100 Rondout Landing, Kingston.

At 1:30 p.m., Hochul addresses over 1,000 Long Island leaders at the 4th annual Smart Growth Summit, Melville Marriot, 1350 Walt Whitman Rd., Melville.

Also at 1:30 p.m., in honor of Military Family Appreciation Month and the upcoming holiday season, Sen. George Amedore and AT&T will announce a month-long partnership with the nonprofit Cell Phones For Soldiers, AT&T Store, Crossgates Mall, Albany.

At 2:20 p.m., US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Paul Tonko will announce new bipartisan legislation to address the skills gap and enhance job training with apprenticeship programs and tour McD Metals, LLC, 20 Corporate Circle, Albany.

At 4:30 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer joins Nigerian officials and African immigrant community leaders to hold vigil and moment of silence for victims of Boko Haram terrorist attacks, Nigeria House, 828 Second Ave., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Assemblyman Richard Gottfried attends the Empire State Pride Agenda’s release of a report, “Transgender Health and Economic Insecurity: A report from the 2015 NY State LGBT Health and Human Services Needs Assessment,”LGBT Community Services Center, 208 W. 13th St., Manhattan.


Republicans and many Democrats in the House – including a number of New Yorkers – defied President Barack Obama’s veto threat and overwhelmingly approved a bill that makes it harder for Syrian and Iraqi refugees fleeing civil war to enter the United States.

US Senate Democrats, saying the bill is unnecessary at best and xenophobic at worst, indicated they will block it.

Hundreds of people turned out for a rally in front of County Hall in Buffalo to protest Legislator Joseph Lorigo’s call for a public hearing regarding the potential threat posed by Syrian refugees.

Security measures vary at concert halls, theaters and large retail stores in New York City, raising concerns among some New Yorkers after last week’s attacks at similar “soft targets” in Paris left 129 dead.

“The whole city is a soft target,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said. “Even with 35,000 cops, we cannot be everywhere.

State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said law enforcement and anti-terror officials have long viewed the Watervliet Arsenal and Fort Drum as potential targets. And they had upped security at many locations in the wake of last week’s Paris attacks by ISIS, even before news of a video warning about the arsenal being named as a possible target.

FBI Director James Comey said there was no credible threat of an attack on US soil similar to the ones last week in Paris and that his agency had taken terrorism investigations “up a notch.”

Increasing his use of executive powers, Cuomo is marrying his drive to get things done with a distinctly liberal vision — a vision that has taken on new personal urgency since the New Year’s Day death of his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, whose soaring defense of liberalism made him an icon of the left.

Patrick Foye, who led the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey during one of its most turbulent periods, is stepping down as the agency’s executive director early next year.

In a “dear colleague” letter, Foye said that he had opted to leave when the agency’s board decided to extend its search for a chief executive – a new position that he had unsuccessfully sought.

One of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature initiatives hit an obstacle this week, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration curbed a financial resource critical to building low-income housing.

Con Edison’s failure to inspect and test a plastic joint in an underground gas pipe led to the 2014 East Harlem building explosion that killed eight people and injured 50, the PSC said in a new report.

Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos wasted no time “badgering” New York’s largest political donor, Leonard Litwin, owner of real-estate firm Glenwood Management, about getting his son, Adam, a job, saying his adult offspring was “struggling and needed help” within weeks of becoming one of the three most powerful men in state government, Glenwood Vice President Charles Dorego testified.

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver filed a Hail Mary motion to get all the corruption charges against him tossed out, but the judge overseeing his trial indicated she wouldn’t be letting him off the hook.

More >


Hillary Clinton outlined a strategy to defeat the Islamic State – an “intensification and acceleration” of President Obama’s strategy in Syria and Iraq combined with an effort to block the group’s access to the Internet, vital supplies and new fighters.

The House easily passed a bill that would suspend the program allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. until key national security agencies certify they don’t pose a security risk.

Four New York House members – Sean Patrick Maloney, Kathleen Rice, Louise Slaughter and Steve Israel – were among the 47 Democrats who voted “yes” on the Republicans’ refugee bill.

In another apparent dispute between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, the governor has threatened to cancel funding for federal tax-exempt bonds that would finance the mayor’s affordable housing plan.

Oswego County’s economic development agency launched an ad campaign urging Cuomo and others to prevent the “unfathomable” shutdown of FitzPatrick nuclear plant, one of the county’s key employers and taxpayers.

The New York Times is still trying to get the governor to call a special session to pass more ethics reforms.

Bon-Ton Stores has settled a discrimination claim involving a victim of domestic violence who worked at the Eastern Hills Mall location.

New York’s top court ruled that a Brooklyn man whose lottery winnings were confiscated because he had been on public assistance is, in fact, entitled to keep his prize money — thanks to federal minimum-wage laws.

Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye plans to resign his post in four months, he told agency employees today.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said homelessness in New York City has “exploded” over the past two years – including in his own Upper East Side neighborhood – and is presenting a challenge to his police officers.

More changes at Albany’s top-grossing lobbying firm, Wilson Elser: Sam NeJame, whose clients include the Real Estate Board of New York and SL Green, is leaving for Greenberg Traurig.

Former Giuliani administration deputy Randy Mastro provided some colorful commentary at today’s hearing on a restaurateurs’ challenge to the proposed minimum wage hike for fast food workers.

The wells of real estate company largesse are drying up for politicians and political organizations, following corruption allegations against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver involving bribery and kickback schemes.

The IDC, (minus Sen. Tony Avella, who’s testifying), issued a statement in response to questions about a wiretapped conversation played yesterday at the federal corruption trial of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, saying (in part): “We cannot speculate on the motives of Sen. Skelos.”

A collection of good government groups is calling on Cuomo to insert funding in his 2016-17 executive budget for two election reform proposals

An inmate at the Oswego County jail faces additional charges after deputies say he broke a window and used a sharpened piece of metal to saw through a metal bar during an escape attempt.

There is such a thing as professional daily fantasy sports players.

Remember City Room? The now-defunct blog sparked the New York Times’ digital evolution.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany and New York City.

The federal corruption trials of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver continue in Manhattan.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is in Yonkers. NYC Mayor Bil de Blasio holds events in the city.

A full listing of the day’s events appears at the end of this post.


NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed a new ISIS propaganda video in which images of Times Square were shown, and underscored the assessment that there is no “specific, credible threat” against New York City. They urged New Yorkers to keep going about their business as usual.

“The people of New York City will not be intimidated,” de Blasio said, standing in the middle of Times Square, one of the locations featured in the ISIS video.

Nearly 500 of the City of Buffalo’s lowest-paid workers would be getting a series of raises starting next year and ultimately earn $15 per hour by 2021 under a plan revealed by Mayor Byron Brown, who made this announcement with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, also joined by Cuomo, announced a similar minimum wage increase in her city.

De Blasio’s announcement that his administration will make an unprecedented investment in housing for the homeless puts more pressure on Cuomo to follow the mayor’s lead. De Blasio and Cuomo had been in talks about supportive-housing, but hadn’t reached an agreement.

“Talk to me like that again and I’m going to smash you’re f—ing head in,” Adam Skelos’s supervisor, Christopher Curcio, quoted the state Senate Majority Leader’s son as telling him when he demanded he occasionally show up at work.

Skelos was so furious at Cuomo’s adoption of anti-fracking rules last Dec. 17 that kept Adam from cashing in that the two discussed a possible run for governor by the senator to “kick” Cuomo’s behind, according to a wiretap played at their federal corruption trial.

The conversations were played during the first full day of testimony at the Skeloses’ bribery and extortion trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan while prosecutors questioned Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat, about the procedures and legislation.

The government wrapped up nearly three weeks of testimony and evidence in its corruption case against former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, resting its case after calling two witnesses who testified in support of the money-laundering charges against the assemblyman.

Silver will not be taking the stand in his own defense. In fact, his attorneys don’t plan to call any witnesses at all, but instead will present only documents to back up their arguments.

Silver invested $700,000 in his wife’s name as a way to dodge disclosure of his money, Jordan Levy, a Buffalo-based investor, testified. Prosecutors say that move was intended to conceal the money.

The owners of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County say talks with state officials to keep the facility open have been “unsuccessful,” and they have filed a notice with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission indicating they would close the money-losing plant.

Embroiled in a long-term, internecine conflict with Cuomo, de Blasio has embraced a second high-level feud, exchanging harsh words with Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey over the refugee crisis in Syria.

More >


US Sen. Chuck Schumer has recommended Kathleen Sweet, a former president of the Bar Association of Erie County, to President Barack Obama to fill the vacancy created by District Court Judge William Skretny’s move to senior status. She would be the Buffalo area’s first-ever female federal judge.

Barclays will pay an additional $150 million to the state Financial Services Department to resolve allegations that it rigged foreign exchange trading by putting the bank’s interests ahead of those of its clients.

The MTA is losing some $10 million a year thanks to the growth of Uber, authority officials said, and that number is expected to grow.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s comments on refugees while brandishing the iconic picture of the drowned 3 year-old Syrian refugee, Aylan Kurdi.

Rep. John Katko asked a committee of House and Senate members Wednesday to restore $12 million in funding for Centro and billions for other public transit systems that were cut in a highway bill the House passed earlier this month.

A Suffolk County Democrat has filed a complaint with the FEC against Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Long Island Republican, alleging he illegally used funds from his state Senate campaign to aid his successful 2014 congressional campaign.

The state’s top court upheld the conviction of the final defendant in a mortgage-fraud scam that involved dozens of homes in Nassau County.

In a breakthrough for advocates of renewing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have agreed to support a permanent extension of the act’s expired health program.

The state will seek to add another $5 million to its tourism budget and fund more television ads through the “I Love NY” program.

A closely watched town supervisor race on Long Island that may have implications in the battle for control of the Senate next year might be decided in court.

Two years after leaving City Hall, former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg is still playing a huge role in politics as the nation’s largest bipartisan individual donor in the nation.

Melania Trump, alongside her billionaire, presidential candidate spouse, will sit down with ABC’s Barbara Walters for a special episode of “20/20” airing Frida

Former state education commissioner John King must recuse himself from decisions directly related to New York, even when he takes over as acting US secretary of education after Arne Duncan steps down, according to a federal official.

The ingredients are in place for a short but intense lake effect storm late this weekend in Upstate New York.

At the corruption trial of Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, an ex-supervisor of the senator’s son, Adam, testified that he had been threatened by the younger Skelos after questioning his work attendance.

Comcast Corp. dropped the YES Network, home of the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets, after the two sides couldn’t come to terms over a new carriage agreement.

Radio host and political activist Frank Morano explains his love of all things Staten Island.

A video surfaced from the hacktivist group Anonymous warning that the Watervliet Arsenal and several other military locations across the country of ISIS attacks.

Former SUNY-ESF trustee Tom Buckel Jr. said that the addition of last-minute items to the college’s board led to his resignation.

More tales of disarray in New York’s yet-to-go-online medical marijuana program.

Now we know where Ben “BuzzFeedBen” Smith eats. (Happy Birthday, Ben!)