Tom Suozzi

Cuomo-Mangano Bromance Continues

From today’s Morning Memo:

The fond relationship between Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano has been well documented over the past several years.

Not only did the two team up in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, with Cuomo praising Mangano for his leadership during the storm, but the governor also said nothing when the county executive ran a TV ad during last year’s campaign that seemed to indicate he had Cuomo’s endorsement for his re-election bid.

The ad in question featured Cuomo lauding Mangano for his support of the 2 percent property tax cap – a major policy initiative of the governor’s first year in office.

Technically speaking, Cuomo endorsed his fellow Democrat, Tom Suozzi, as he sought to take back the job from which Mangano had ousted him in 2009.

But the fact that Suozzi, who once harbored gubernatorial aspirations of his own, failed in that effort didn’t seem to bother Cuomo in the slightest.

Today brings yet more proof that the Cuomo-Mangano bromance is still going strong.

Cuomo’s public schedule calls for him to be in Bethpage at 10 a.m. to attend Mangano’s swearing in ceremony. (Caveat: The weather might force the governor to change his plans, or turn his Nassau County appearance into an impromptu emergency storm update).

There have been a lot of these ceremonies all across the state as newly elected and re-elected officials – some of them even Democrats! – take office. And the governor opts to attend a Republican event.

Cuomo did call off his traditional New Year’s Day executive mansion open house to attend New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s public inauguration yesterday in Manhattan along with Democratic luminaries like former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

But the governor really could hardly afford to skip that one, since his absence would have set the rumor mill into overdrive with speculation about 2016 tensions between him and the former first lady.

Long Island is again going to be a battleground in this year’s battle for control of the state Senate.

We learned on the final day of 2013 that now-former GOP Sen. Chuck Fuschillo would no longer be serving in the chamber as of 11:59 p.m. that very night.

There will be a major fight for that open seat, which the Democrats think they have a chance to win, thanks to their enrollment edge in the district.

Another Long Island seat – the one currently held by Republican Sen. Lee Zeldin, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop this fall, is up for grabs.

Cuomo did not do much to assist his fellow Democrats in their quest to win the Senate majority in 2012, and he also didn’t block the power sharing deal between the GOP and IDC that prevented the Democrats from exercising the power of their numeric majority.

He has yet to say one way or another whose side he’ll be on in the 2014 battle, though his willingness to hang out with the top GOP elected official in Nassau County – home to Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos – speaks volumes.

Dolans Give $80K To Suozzi

The Dolan family, long political patrons of Nassau County Executive candidate Tom Suozzi, made a batch of last-minute contribtions to his re-election bid, 24-hour notices on the state Board of Elections website show.

Cablevision Charles Dolan gave $20,000, as did his son, James Dolan, the company’s president.

All told, members of the family contributed $80,000 to Suozzi’s comeback effort.

Suozzi, after losing the county executive post in 2009 to Republican Ed Mangano, would join Cablevision as an advisor as the cable provider was expanding his coverage of high school sports on MSG. He now works at the political connected law firm Harris Beach.

In addition to the last-minute help to Suozzi from the Dolans, the Democrat also received a $37,500 contribution from Jay Jacobs, the Nassau County Democratic chairman and former head of the state party.

Mangano, Suozzi Join Forces For Cuomo’s Casino Amendment

ICYMI, this was item No. 2 in today’s Morning Memo, and the event in question is about to take place (at noon) on the steps of the Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola:

A fascinating press release landed in our inbox bright and early this morning, announcing Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and his Democratic opponent, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, plan to declare a truce in their increasingly nasty re-match today to unite (albeit briefly) behind the governor’s casino amendment.

The duo will join Long Island Association President and CEO Kevin Law, Long Island Federation of Labor President John Durso in urging Long Islanders to vote “yes” on Prop. 1, and also will detail the $63 million worth of revenues for schools and local governments that Cuomo says will come to the area if non-Indian run casinos are approved.

Regardless of whether the casino amendment fails or succeeds, two VLT parlors are coming to Long Island. And, in fact, if the referendum goes down, an additional parlor will be added to the mix for Nassau County.

But voters don’t get a say on any of that.

It’s interesting, but not entirely surprising, that the idea of more casino revenue in local government coffers appeals to both Mangano and Suozzi. What’s amazing is that Cuomo, who won’t be anywhere near this Long Island event today, has managed to get these two to cooperate with just three weeks remaining until Election Day.

Then again, Cuomo hasn’t yet bestowed an endorsement on anyone in this race, and there has been speculation that he favors Mangano over his fellow Democrat, Sozzui, who was once a gubernatorial contender himself.

Suozzi, of course, would very much like to receive the nod of the popular governor – especially since a recent Siena poll showed him trailing rather badly – and Mangano would like to maintain the perception that he has the governor’s ear. So, there’s definitely more than sufficient incentive for both of them to make nice for an hour or so.

The Return Of Tom Suozzi

Newsday broke the news last night (right in the middle of the State of the Union address) that former Democratic Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi has decided to seek a re-match against the Republican who ousted him in an upset election back in 2009, Ed Mangano.

Suozzi has since posted a campaign announcement on his re-launched website, in which he pledges to restore Nassau County to the “ideal suburb” he believes it used to be.

“We need to make Nassau County an attractive and affordable place to live once again,” Suozzi wrote in a statement on his website.

“For over three years Ed Mangano has presided over the decline of our County. I’ve seen the county taken over by a state agency. I’ve seen the county mismanaged from one man-made crisis after another and I’ve seen no one even talking about a vision for our future.”

“That’s why I am running for Nassau County Executive. We have to do better. We have to do better for our children, our grandchildren, and ourselves. And I know we can.”

Suozzi will be joining his long-time ally, Nassau County Democratic Chairman (and former state chair) Jay Jacobs, to discuss his candidacy at a noon press conference in Mineola today.

Jacobs had trouble recruiting a candidate to challenge Mangano, and even said at one point that he would run himself if no one else was willing to do so.

So far, retired Wall Street trader Adam Haber is the only Democrat to formally announce his candidacy against Mangano.

North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman announced recently he would be establishing a campaign committee to explore a run, too.

Nassau County Democrats have been trying to draft Suozzi into the race for some time, but until now, he has insisted he would not run.

Suozzi was once considered a rising star in the New York Democratic Party, even after his quixotic – and eventually failed – primary challenge to then-AG Eliot Spitzer in 2006.

He was often mentioned as a potential statewide contender, much to the reported consternation of Spitzer’s replacement (and governor-in-waiting) in the state AG’s office, Andrew Cuomo.

Suozzi got a lot of traction out of his “Fix Albany” campaign, which he launched shortly before his 2006 run and used to target incumbent state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

He talked about the need for property tax and Medicaid reform long before these were run-of-the-mill hot topics for New York elected officials.

Suozzi’s loss in 2009 to the little-known Mangano was a big surprise, but not to those who closely followed the race, who said he was disengaged and failed to heed internal polls that showed him in trouble as Election Day neared.

According to his Jan. 15 financial filing with the state Board of Elections, Suozzi is sitting on just over $1 million worth of campaign cash.

As of mid-January, Mangano had $2.3 million on hand.

DiNapoli To Mangano: Don’t Sue

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a Nassau County resident and former assemblyman, weighed in today on the news that a state oversight board has seized control of the county’s finances.

DiNapoli, who ran an unsuccessful camapign for Nassau County executive (he was the party favorite when he lost the 2001 Democratic primary to Tom Suozzi, who subsequently lost to the current executive, Republican Ed Mangano), urged the interested parties “not to focus on the takeover itself, but on the steps necessary to restore fiscal stability to Nassau County.”

“Protracted litigation will only delay the inevitable hard choices that must be made to put Nassau back on solid fiscal ground,” DiNapoli said.

Mangano has threatened to sue NIFA if he made good on its long-standing threat to do what it did today in a 6-0 vote.

DiNapoli went on to lament Nassau County’s “stagnant sales tax revenue” (Mangano tried unsuccessfully to convince the state Legislature to let him increase the sales tax and also proposed a budget that contained some $20 million worth of state aid that never materialized and $61 million worth of what have been deemed “phantom” labor concessions).

“Also, it has been disappointing to see that after more than 10 years, it has been reported the County has not been able to reduce their borrowing for tax certioraris, which is one of the main issues NIFA was designed to assist with,” the comptroller continued.

“It’s just not acceptable to continue down the path of burdening future generations with this growing debt. Nassau taxpayers already pay some of the highest local taxes in the nation. They need and deserve responsible, strong action to restore fiscal responsibility to their county.”

Suozzi Supports Cuomo’s Tax Cap

The pushback has begun in earnst against the week-long campaign in opposition to Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo’s property tax cap by local mayors, county executives and school districts.

Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, who made property tax relief a hallmark of his failed 2006 gubernatorial bid and then chaired the Spitzer-appointed commission that first formally proposed a cap, released the following statement this afternoon:

“The property tax burden in New York State has grown to a crisis. To continue to allow property taxes to climb unabated is unfair to every single homeowner in this state.”

“As the former Chair of the NYS Commission on Property Tax Relief, I understand that state mandates place a significant burden on municipal budgets, but the solution cannot be more property tax hikes on homeowners.”

“Governor-Elect Cuomo’s plan to cap property taxes, eliminate unnecessary and costly state mandates for localities and schools, and impose pension reforms to control costs, will break the cycle of skyrocketing property tax bills and gives New Yorkers long overdue relief.”

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Jacobs: Cuomo Ponies Up $1M For State Party

Here’s state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs giving me some details during a CapTon interview last night about the new coordinated campaign approach being rolled out this week, starting with a trio of upstate rallies today.

The party’s standard-bearer, Andrew Cuomo, hosted a meeting last weekend with representatives from all the statewide candidates – including state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, whom the AG still has not endorsed – as well as DACC and DSCC.

Jacobs told me Cuomo will soon hit the hustings with some of the Senate Democrats’ candidates in key districts and “doesn’t look at this as a race for him alone.”

The chairman also told me Cuomo has he’s been very free with the dollars”, which translates into just over $1 million pumped into the state party’s coffers by the Cuomo campaign since late August.

While purusing the state party’s 32-day pre-general election filing, I was struck by the fact that it owes $125,000 to former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, who made the loan back in December 2009, shortly after his surprise loss to Republican Ed Mangano.

Jacobs is also Nassau County Democratic chairman and he and Suozzi are allies.

The party’s biggest expense – actually its only expense since the last filing – was $295,237 for TV ads attacking Carl Paladino.

Cuomo To Rally With Mangano On Tax Cap

AG Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic gubernatorial designee, is scheduled to appear today with Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano to call for passage in Albany of the statewide property tax cap Cuomo proposed in his “New New York Agenda.”

(For the uninitiated, Cuomo’s cap would limit increases in property taxes, both for local government and schools, to two percent annually or the rate of inflation – whichever is lower. This is more stringent that the cap proposed by Gov. David Paterson, which would be 4 percent and exempt the so-called “Big Five” cities and NYC).

Where to start?

First: Mangano, as you’ll recall, was one of the surprise winners of the 2009 election cycle. He ousted Democratic incumbent Tom Suozzi, who was viewed as a rising star in the party – possibly even a gubernatorial contender (ahem) or a running mate for Gov. David Paterson.

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Suozzi To Advise Lazard

Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi has landed another post-government gig as a senior advisor to Lazard Ltd., the financial advisory and asset management firm announced this morning.

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Officially speaking, Suozzi will “work in conjunction with Lazard as it advises infrastructure companies and governments in matters relating to financial transactions and public-private partnerships in the US.”

The former Democratic lawmaker will not lobby, he told me during a brief telephone interview this morning. He’s also keeping his gig as a consultant to Cablevision’s high school sports venture, MSG Varsity.

George Bilicic, Lazard’s Global Head of Power, Energy Infrastructure, touted Suozzi’s “years as a government reformer” and his experience in the office he lost in a upset last fall to Republican Edward Mangano, saying it provided him with a unique understand of public-private partnerships and “real-life insight into the workings of government.”

There’s also a quote from Felix Rohatyn, who recently returned to Lazard as a special advisor, who said: “Infrastructure must become a top priority both for the long-term health of our transportation and power systems but also for job creation.”

Suozzi has been trying to keep his name in the news, particularly given the increased interest of late in Albany reform – an issue on which the former county executive was somewhat ahead of the curve with his 2006 “Fix Albany” campaign and longshot gubernatorial primary challenge to then-AG Eliot Spitzer.

Suozzi was once considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, and he hasn’t completely ruled out a return to the public arena, albeit probably not in the near future.

Incoming! LaValle Bats For Levy

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy’s campaign has deployed his hometown county GOP chairman, John Jay LaValle, to push back against shots fired over the past 24 hours by state Democratic Party Executive Director Charlie King and “boss” (as per Team Levy) Jay Jacobs.

LaValle accused Jacobs, who is also the Nassau County Democratic chairman, of presiding over “one of the worst abusers in the history pay-to-play during the Suozzi administration; a simple review of his filings would prove this.” (No supporting documentation was provided).
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