Wednesday, March 18, 2015

New York politics

From the New Yorker's lengthy article about Andrew Cuomo:

As the HUD Secretary, Cuomo presented himself as the spokesman for the nation’s poor, travelling around the country to show that, even in a time of prosperity, many people were left behind. He was given to fierce denunciations of those who, in his opinion, used federal dollars to mistreat the vulnerable. In 1997, the department sued A. Bruce Rozet, a HUD landlord, accusing him of taking kickbacks from a management company called Insignia Financial, which ran his buildings. According to a press release from HUD, which was cited in a 2006 Village Voice story, the department’s mission was to provide housing for the needy—“not to provide lives of luxury for con artists stealing from our programs.” Cuomo called the case “the largest ever brought by HUD” and condemned “the abysmal conditions” that he said tenants were forced to endure in projects that had been “poorly maintained” by Insignia.
After the election, Cuomo’s marriage disintegrated, in a rancorous battle chronicled in detail by the local tabloids. The divorce was eventually settled, without litigation, but Cuomo found himself an outcast—single, unemployed, and repudiated by the New York political establishment. His salvation began in an unlikely place. He was visiting a real-estate executive in New York, and another prominent businessman happened to be in the office—Andrew Farkas, who had been the chief executive of Insignia Financial, the company that Cuomo denounced in such strong terms as HUD Secretary.
Cuomo went to work for a new commercial real-estate venture that Farkas established, and, as the Times has reported, he was paid more than $2.5 million in three years.
When, in 2006, Pataki decided not to seek a fourth term, Eliot Spitzer, who had enjoyed great success as the state attorney general, had a clear shot at the governorship. Cuomo decided to run for attorney general. The finance chairman of his campaign was Andrew Farkas.