Mar 18th - 10:58 am
Last week, John Catsimatidis’ campaign made much of the fact that the Democrat-turned-Republican supermarket and oil mogul had landed the support of former Gov. George Pataki for his NYC mayoral bid.
Pataki even went so far as to offer a not-so-subtle dig at Catsimatidis’ GOP rival, former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, by saying Catsimatidis isn’t a career politician. Lhota, of course, served as a deputy mayor under former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is strongly backing his former top aide’s campaign.
The fact that the NYC mayor’s race has once again divided Pataki and Giuliani, who didn’t get along terribly well after the latter endorsed the former’s Democratic rival (ex-Gov. Mario Cuomo) in 1994, but patched up their relationship after 9-11, was also noted by several reporters.
As it turns out, however, while the former governor was lavishing praise on Catsimatidis, his old political machine was lavishing cash on Lhota.
Topping the list of one-time staffers, donors or appointees of the ex-governor is Pataki’s former chief of staff – and current law partner – John Cahill, who not only penned a fund-raising appeal for Lhota, but also ponied up $4,950 on his own.
Other former Patakites giving to Lhota include: Vince Balascio ($500), Rob Cole ($1,000), Tom Doherty ($400), Chapin Fay ($100), Michael Fragin ($100), Jonathan Greenspun ($400), Peter Kalikow ($4,950) Mary Kalikow, ($4,950), and David Mack ($4,950).
Also on Lhota’s donor list is David Malpass, who ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010. He and his wife, Adele, gave $1,500 and $2,000, respectively. Malpass has long-standing ties to Pataki, and his Senate bid was run by former aides to the governor.
A number of members of the upstate GOP establishment also cut checks for Lhota, including former Senate Finance Secretary Abe Lackman ($1,000), Election Law attorney Jeff Buley ($400), and ex-state GOP, SRCC Executive Director Ed Lurie ($150).
Of course, the Giuliani set is well represented on Lhota’s donor list. The former mayor himself gave $4,950. A GOP insider who reviewed Lhota’s filing counted another 32 contributions made by people connected to Giuliani in one form or another, which only serves to further complicate the candidate’s task of distinguishing himself from his old boss and proving that electing him won’t simply be Giuliani, Take II.
Dec 20th - 1:59 pm
Joe Lhota may not be a declared candidate yet, but that hasn’t stopped New York City mayoral hopeful George McDonald from attacking his possible Republican primary opponent over the latest MTA fare hike.
McDonald released a statement this afternoon criticizing Lhota a day after he announced he would stepped down as MTA chief by the end of the month:
“As Staten Islanders struggle to recover from the devastation wrought by Super Storm Sandy, it is mind boggling that the MTA and its Chairman would approve a $15 cash toll on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Just weeks after Sandy and months after the last Port Authority toll increase, the people of Staten Island deserve economic relief, not another body blow,” said McDonald.
“I’m running for Mayor in large part because I believe in lower taxes, lower fees, and greater opportunity for all New Yorkers. Today it’s clear I’m the only candidate who stands behind those principles. That’s why I’m calling on the MTA and Chairman Lhota to set aside higher tolls on the Verrazano and give Staten Island residents the relief they deserve,” concluded McDonald.
The fare hike — which was not a development that caught transit observers off gaurd — will likely become a major opening for the New York City mayoral field should Lhota push the button on his campaign. Earlier, a backer of Council Speaker Christine Quinn raised the issue even as the news leaked Lhtoa would resign.