Sunday, November 20, 2016


Lobbyist Capalino now working for old P.S. 64 dorm developers (Villager)

Rivington Deed Change, LICH Closed Capalino Still Making Millions During the de Blasio Era
De Blasio cronies are still making record amounts of cash (NYP)His firm, James F. Capalino & Associates, raked in $13.5 million in 2016 — $500,000 more than the roughly $12.9 million in payments it received in 2015.  Since de Blasio took office in 2014, Capalino has nearly tripled its earnings.  The new figures from the clerk’s office come as de Blasio faces probes into whether his administration illegally traded political favors for campaign contributions.  Capalino lobbied City Hall on behalf of the Rivington House nursing home to have deed restrictions lifted from the property just 16 days after de Blasio took office.  The sale and resale of the Lower East Side property — and the city’s eventual lifting of deed restrictions there — has sparked a number of federal and state probes.  Capalino so far has raised $44,940 for the mayor’s 2017 re-election bid and gave $10,000 to the Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit now under investigation by the feds that raised more than $4.3 million to back de Blasio’s pet projects.  

Capalino clients including Two Trees, Toll Brothers, Asphalt Green, Brookfield Properties and Douglaston Development also contributed to CONY. Capalino was the lobbyist who also pressed top de Blasio officials to back luxury condos at a former Brooklyn hospital site at the same time he was writing big checks to de Blasio’s political causes.  De Blasio last year said he would no longer meet with his “friend” Capalino on city business following claims that the veteran lobbyist was getting favored treatment. * New York City lobbyists took in a record-setting amount of money for the third straight year, and James Capalino, who is close to the mayor, remained at the top of the heap with his firm bringing in $13.5 million in 2016, the New York Post reports. * Bill’s belated awakening: De Blasio kicks his lobbyist pal to the curb (NYDN)
More About Lobbyists Capalino
The Privatization of the Tammany Hall Machine
DE BLASIO DILEMMA: Both Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change and LICH Hospital converting to luxury apartments...Both Under Fed Investigation . . .  Both Involve Lobbyist Capalino

de Blasio After the Investigation Kick Capalino to the Curb Berlin Rosen is Still In
de Blasio Not the Lobbyists Cause the Corruption - He Let Them Run City Hall
Bill’s belated awakening: De Blasio kicks his lobbyist pal to the curb (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio on Tuesday declared he’d cut off all contact with mega-lobbyist and campaign fundraiser Jim Capalino, linked too close for political comfort to the unmistakable impression that the mayor put City Hall up for sale. The separation came not of his free will, de Blasio made clear with all the moral insight of a teen grounded by his parents, but “because of the atmosphere we’re in, and the ongoing investigations.” As in the continuing investigations by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman into the circumstances around the $116 million sale of the former Lower East Side AIDS home called Rivington House to a luxury condo developer under de Blasio’s watch.  Elaborated a mayoral spokesman the following day: 

“The mayor’s made an ethical decision for himself.”An ethical decision — what a concept, one nowhere to be found when de Blasio decided before his 2014 swearing-in to found the Campaign for One New York, and then hit up lobbyists and their clients looking for favorable city actions for big donations to promote his political fortunes.Such contributions are strictly limited under the city’s public campaign finance system, precisely to inhibit the possibility of quid-pro-quo cash in exchange for political favors — making the Campaign for One New York a deliberate workaround. Ethics? What ethics? Certainly not in appointing a donor, Joseph Finnerty, to the city board controlling water bills, and then engaging him as a birthday fundraiser for de Blasio’s reelection — a clear-as-day violation of the city’s conflicts-of-interest rules. Finnerty resigned after inquiring on his own about the propriety of the arrangement and has been fined $1,000. And certainly not at Rivington House, where the taint is entirely on de Blasio, no matter how many lobbyists he decides to give the silent treatment.

On behalf of Rivington House owner VillageCare, which urgently sought to sell the property to settle debts, Capalino approached de Blasio’s deputies to request the removal of deed restrictions limiting sale to non-profit health facilities. At the same time, de Blasio’s top deputy mayor, Tony Shorris, helped find a buyer to save the day with a $28 million purchase and big talk to keep a nursing home there — only to have the rescue crumble when that buyer flipped the building for $116 million to a condo developer.  De Blasio blames bumbling bureaucrats. Surrounding evidence — including $500,000 in donations from health care union 1199SEIU to the Campaign for One New York coinciding with a desperate push to bail out Rivington House — suggests that’s far from the end of the story. While allowing for the very real possibility that lobbyists who’ve bundled or given huge sums still have the run of City Hall, including dozens of aides who make key decisions, de Blasio now declares his personal distance, adding: “I just have very, very little contact with lobbyists. I think in this atmosphere, it makes sense to have next to nothing to do with them.”He paints a distorted picture of lobbyists as snakes that invaded the sanctum of City Hall and now need to be exorcised.

In truth, the poison oozes from the mayor who invited the lobbyists and donors in to feed at his political profit.

Now That the Feds Look to Book Him the Media Discovers How Capalino and the Other Lobbyists Ran City Hall
De Blasio’s favorite lobbyist(NYP) Give mega-lobbyist James Capalino this much: He was merely telling the truth when boasting about his access to Mayor de Blasio and his top officials and aides.
The Wall Street Journal reported on those boasts in February, in a story on how the lobbying biz has soared since de Blasio took office. Now Politico has detailed how Capalino earned his pay, by looking at the e-mail trail between Capalino’s firm and City Hall for the first 16 months of the mayor’s term. Capalino and his staff exchanged messages with more than 120 administration officials — including every deputy mayor and nearly a dozen different agency heads. The lobbyists made a lot of requests for their clients — and look to have gotten action more often than not, even when the “ask” was at odds with the mayor’s progressive values. Of course, Capalino “earned” his access, having raised more than $45,000 for de Blasio’s 2013 campaign. Since then, he’s kicked in more cash to the mayor’s re-election bid, his nonprofit slush fund and even the private Gracie Mansion Conservancy  He’s now the city’s top lobbyist, with his firm’s earnings up 172 percent since 2013. But he’s also tied into at least two different scandals, with his firm subpoenaed by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. That prompted de Blasio to disclose last week, “I do not have contact with [Capalino] anymore.” Then again, a mayoral spokesman calls that an “ethical decision” the mayor made for himself alone — leaving other city employees free to make “ethical judgments every day in a wide variety of interactions with the lobbying industry. That won’t change.  Sounds an awful lot like a recipe for business as usual, as long as de Blasio’s fingerprints don’t show. Which would be par for the course for a mayor who pledged to drive special interests out of City Hall — but instead has welcomed them with open arms. * Sixteen months of emails between the de Blasio administration and Capalino + Company, one of the largest lobbying firms in New York City, show employees cajoling City Hall on behalf of his clients, often with favorable results, Politico New York reports. *  * Reports detailing de Blasio’s close relationship with lobbyist James Capalino shows that while the mayor once pledged to drive special interests out of City Hall, he has instead welcomed them with open arms, the Post writes. * City revokes registration of billboard group run by de Blasio backer (NYP)

Another Lobbyist Capalino de Blasio Pay to Play Fake Bid Central Park Bathhouse Contract Has Cause A Lawsuit  
De Blasio ethics stench hovers over Central Park boathouse (NYP) A restaurateur who lost out on the concession to run the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park — even though his offer was $19.5 million higher than the winner — is now suing the city, charging that he lost out to a bidder who should never have been involved in the process because he donated to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York. Robert Towers, who once ran the Bryant Park Grill, is suing the city to void the contract awarded to longtime Loeb Boathouse operator Dean Poll. The lakeside restaurant is among the city’s most popular wedding venues. Towers says in his Manhattan civil suit that Poll should have been disqualified from bidding for the 15-year concession, largely because he donated $10,000 to the mayor’s nonprofit, which is now shuttering amid an ethics probe, in what the state Board of Elections called a potential conflict of interest. The Post could not find a record of Poll donating to  The Campaign for One New York, but he did give $10,000 to the New York State Democratic Campaign Committee in October 2014. The State Board of Elections said in a January document that Poll’s donation to the committee may be a conflict of interest because it was made at the mayor’s behest while Poll had business before the city. Under city laws Poll “would not have been permitted to contribute more than $400…to the mayor directly,” according to the Board of Elections.  “Dean Poll’s donation to Mayor de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York can be characterized as one made to ‘pay-to-play’ to” continue running the Central Park landmark. Poll’s hiring of James F. Capalino Associates, a lobbying firm linked to de Blasio, coincided with the bid renewal process in late 2015 and early 2016, the suit says. That retention was prohibited by state law because Poll had a pending bid before the city at the time, according to court papers.m The Parks Department used “changed selection criteria” that “benefitted only Dean Poll” by downplaying his history of labor violations and underreported revenue. The Parks Department told Towers that Poll was the winning bidder even though Poll only offered a minimum $19.2 million in fees over 15 years to the city while Towers proposed $38.8 million.

Deptuy Mayor Capalino Emailed 120 Administration Employees 
LOBBYING DE BLASIO -- Emails show Capalino's reach in City Hall -- POLITICO New York's Dana Rubinstein, Sally Goldenberg, and Laura Nahmias: "When a construction company with a tarnished reputation sought a contract from Mayor Bill de Blasio's public housing authority, it got it. When City Hall seemed like it would delay, if not outright stymie, a prominent developer's plan for a so-called "poor door," the developer ultimately won the day - with some minor concessions. When an energy company wanted a show of support for a microgrid project in Brooklyn, it got that, too. All of these companies had one thing in common - they employed Capalino and Company, the lobbying firm whose founder and CEO Jim Capalino was such an ardent de Blasio supporter that he raised nearly $45,000 for his 2013 mayoral run and personally wielded a "Come Meet Bill" sign at a rally that year."
DURING THE FIRST 16 months of the de Blasio mayoralty, Capalino and his employees exchanged emails with more than 120 administration employees, including each of its deputy mayors and nearly a dozen individual agency heads. They offered praise. ("Kudos on Deputy Mayor Glen's excellent ABNY speech.") And they offered commiseration. When Capalino failed to secure de Blasio's attendance at a tribute to the late Ed Koch in April 2014, mayoral scheduler Lindsay Scola urged Capalino lobbyist Tom Gray to "Please keep me posted on any events in the future." "Will do," Gray replied. "In my opinion you have the hardest job in government (politics), I absolutely appreciate your level of communication." "Thank you, this means a lot," responded Scola. "I worked for bdb for 8 years," said Gray, referring to de Blasio. "I know some of ups and downs folks face over there well ;)" Gray was de Blasio's director of land use from 2009 to 2011, when the mayor was public advocate. He also worked for de Blasio from 2005 to 2009, when he was in the City Council. In another exchange, Ellyn Canfield Nealon, who handles special events for the mayor, was asked whether First Lady Chirlane McCray would attend several events. "I finally had my weekly FLONYC meeting this past week and pitched tour AND food bank meeting and they were amenable to both," she wrote to Gray on April 2, 2014. "Things move VERY slowly through that team but I will keep pushing that." READ MORE:* Mayor Bill de Blasio has added about 16,000 New York City workers via 

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