Early on Wednesday morning, Norman Seabrook, the president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, was arrested at his Bronx home on federal corruption charges. According to the New York Daily News, Seabrook, who has blocked reforms at Rikers Island, was under investigation for allegedly receiving kickbacks from a hedge fund that work with the union.
In a meeting last week described by one staffer as “the most depressing pep talk,” Bill de Blasio, New York City’s beleaguered mayor, asked members of his administration to keep the faith amid proliferating controversies. “He told us that no one is going to thank him for ‘not being dead,’” the staffer told Gothamist, “because the homicide rate is down and Vision Zero is working.”
Bill de Blasio’s attempts to deliver on his promise to ban Central Park’s horse and carriage industry on “day one” of his mayoralty have produced little more than a federal investigation into the animal-rights interest group backing his candidacy. Now, the mayor is obligated to give those very same drivers raises.
This week, NY1 reported that City Hall had denied its request for email correspondence between Bill de Blasio and Jonathan Rosen, a powerful political consultant who meets frequently with the mayor and whose firm helped get him elected. As it turns out, Rosen isn’t the only one granted such privacy.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who rode into office on a wave of populist anger—buoyed in no small part by promises of transparency—has denied an open-records request from local news channel NY1 for emails between his office and a high-powered political operative Jonathan Rosen, whose consulting firm BerlinRosen is deeply entwined with his administration.
Several of Bill de Blasio’s closest aides and political allies have been hit with subpoenas as part of the unfolding investigation by federal and state prosecutors into the mayor’s fundraising activities. De Blasio himself “has not been personally served,” Maya Wiley, counsel to the mayor, told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday night.
The ongoing federal investigation into corruption in the NYPD expanded this week, as the chief financial officer of an Orthodox volunteer security force was arrested Sunday. He is accused of bribing officers in the NYPD’s Licensing Division to exchange for handgun permits. The mayor’s office has frozen two City Council grants, totaling $35,000, allocated to the organization.
Freewheeling rebels with nothing to lose, de Blasio and his safety cronies are coming for you. If the one thing keeping you in New York is the knowledge that riding shotgun in NYC’s taxis means the cool breeze blowing behind your neck and back, the life-affirming push of your hand against the dashboard during a stop made too short, and best of all, a chance to feel fear again, then you’re not gonna like the mayor’s latest: De Blasio is trying to make it illegal to ride in the front passenger seat of an NYC taxi without a seatbelt.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York state legislators have carved out $300 million in next year's budget for New York City's prekindergarten programs. Mayor Bill De Blasio promised an expansion of NYC's pre-k offerings loudly and frequently during campaign season and to pay for it with a tax increase on the city's highest earners; the deal in Albany does not provide for such an increase.
Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to skip New York's St. Patrick's Day parade, due to the parade's perennial ban on marchers identifying themselves as gay. One-man right-wing publicity shop William Donahue responds: "I do not want to march with a public official who does not want to be associated with Irish Catholics."