Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, January 12, 2015

Meet Andrew Cuomo's New Top Aide

From the NY Times:

Larry Schwartz, the governor’s top aide and a longtime confidant, is leaving to take a job in the private sector. Mr. Schwartz, known as a fierce defender of the governor, has held the job since July 2011. In a statement, Mr. Cuomo said he has worked with every secretary to the governor for the last 30 years, and “Larry Schwarz is by far the best there is.”

Mr. Schwartz also served as secretary to former governor David A. Paterson and was credited with helping to create New York’s health exchange. But he has recently found himself of interest to federal investigators. Mr. Schwartz, 57, was questioned last year by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan over the Cuomo administration’s handling of the Moreland commission, an anticorruption panel the governor created in 2013 to monitor the Legislature, but quickly disbanded.

 William J. Mulrow, an executive at the Blackstone Group, the world’s largest private equity firm, will replace Mr. Schwartz as secretary to the governor. Mr. Mulrow, 58, is currently the governor’s appointee on at least two state agencies. He ran for state comptroller in 2002, but lost to Alan G. Hevesi, who was forced out of office in 2006 and later convicted on corruption charges.

A Wall Street Journal reporter points this out in a tweet:

A bit of the story, to give you a sense of what the Wall Street elite are like when they think no one else is around (with the part on Cuomo's new aide Bill Mulrow in bold):

I’d heard whisperings about the existence of Kappa Beta Phi, whose members included both incredibly successful financiers (New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Goldman Sachs chairman John Whitehead, hedge-fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones) and incredibly unsuccessful ones (Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld, Bear Stearns CEO Jimmy Cayne, former New Jersey governor and MF Global flameout Jon Corzine). It was a secret fraternity, founded at the beginning of the Great Depression, that functioned as a sort of one-percenter’s Friars Club. Each year, the group’s dinner features comedy skits, musical acts in drag, and off-color jokes, and its group’s privacy mantra is “What happens at the St. Regis stays at the St. Regis.” For eight decades, it worked. No outsider in living memory had witnessed the entire proceedings firsthand.


After cocktail hour, the new inductees – all of whom were required to dress in leotards and gold-sequined skirts, with costume wigs – began their variety-show acts. Among the night’s lowlights:

Paul Queally, a private-equity executive with Welsh, Carson, Anderson, & Stowe, told off-color jokes to Ted Virtue, another private-equity bigwig with MidOcean Partners. The jokes ranged from unfunny and sexist (Q: “What’s the biggest difference between Hillary Clinton and a catfish?” A: “One has whiskers and stinks, and the other is a fish”) to unfunny and homophobic (Q: “What’s the biggest difference between Barney Frank and a Fenway Frank?” A: “Barney Frank comes in different-size buns”).

Bill Mulrow, a top executive at the Blackstone Group (who was later appointed chairman of the New York State Housing Finance Agency), and Emil Henry, a hedge fund manager with Tiger Infrastructure Partners and former assistant secretary of the Treasury, performed a bizarre two-man comedy skit. Mulrow was dressed in raggedy, tie-dye clothes to play the part of a liberal radical, and Henry was playing the part of a wealthy baron. They exchanged lines as if staging a debate between the 99 percent and the 1 percent. (“Bill, look at you! You’re pathetic, you liberal! You need a bath!” Henry shouted. “My God, you callow, insensitive Republican! Don’t you know what we need to do? We need to create jobs,” Mulrow shot back.)
David Moore, Marc Lasry, and Keith Meister — respectively, a holding company CEO, a billionaire hedge-fund manager, and an activist investor — sang a few seconds of a finance-themed parody of “YMCA” before getting the hook.
Warren Stephens, an investment banking CEO, took the stage in a Confederate flag hat and sang a song about the financial crisis, set to the tune of “Dixie.” (“In Wall Street land we’ll take our stand, said Morgan and Goldman. But first we better get some loans, so quick, get to the Fed, man.”)

 A few more acts followed, during which the veteran Kappas continued to gorge themselves on racks of lamb, throw petits fours at the stage, and laugh uproariously

This is who Cuomo just hired to replace his top aide, Larry Schwartz - a guy who takes part in a little "comedy skit" that is premised on making fun of income inequality and protests over it at a Wall Street soiree for the 1% (and only the 1%.)

The Times article says the following about Bill Mulrow:

On Sunday, state government watchers appeared cautiously optimistic that the staff changes might signal a change in the tenor of Mr. Cuomo’s relationships with his adversaries.

“Bill has a more diplomatic approach and likes to involve everyone,” Bruce N. Gyory said, a Democratic political consultant who has known Mr. Mulrow for years. “He complements the governor’s approach with an instinct for building bridges.” Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Mulrow did not respond to requests for comment.

Cautiously optimistic that Mulrow will change the tenor coming out of the governor's office?

Given the disdain he showed for the vast majority of Americans in his "comedy skit" at the Kappa Beta Phi soiree, I'm not all that optimistic.

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