Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Follow Bloomberg's Money

A campaign cash scandal from the last mayoral coronation, er, election, continues to dog Mayor Moneybags.

It's become such a problem that even the shills at the NY Post think that prosecutors need to get to the bottom of the scandal:

Sunlight may be about to fall on one of the more curious episodes of last year's mayoral campaign.

Manhattan DA Cy Vance has convened a grand jury to investigate a Bloomberg campaign consultant's disposition of $750,000 -- money he received after the mayor donated $1.2 million to the state Independence Party.

As The Post reported in January, Bloomberg wrote two checks totaling $600,000 to the Independence Party right before Election Day.

The party promptly paid $750,000 to a shadowy outfit called Special Election Operations, run by campaign consultant John Haggerty.

Ostensibly, the money was for workers to guard against poll-booth shenanigans.

But it's not clear if the firm's staff did so. In any event, the company didn't register with New York's secretary of state until nearly a month after the election.

Perhaps more to the point, Haggerty now can account for barely $150,000 of the cash. So, where did the rest go?

Was, as some suspect, Haggerty running a "street money" operation -- handing out cash to get voters to the polls? Or did he just pocket the remainder?

Haggerty associates now claim that he had a deal with the campaign to keep any leftover cash -- a charge former campaign spokesman and current Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson denies.

Is this just a simple case of a political operative ripping off the campaign and/or the Independence Party?

Or was he working at the behest of both organizations?

Billionaire Bloomberg was hardly shy about spending whatever it took last year -- on campaign personnel, advertising, mailings, etc.

Thus, the last-minute cash influx to the Independence Party and transfer to Haggerty rightly raises some eyebrows.

Rather than just make Haggerty the fall guy, Vance's grand jury needs to follow this money trail wherever it leads.

Bloomberg has played fast and loose with the cash and ethics throughout his reign.

Many in the press have looked the other way, perhaps because his 69% approval ratings deterred any real critical look at his stewardship, perhaps because they do not want to piss off a powerful media mogul at a time when fewer and fewer media outlets with journalism jobs exist.

For whatever the reason, Bloomberg has gotten a free pass from the press on scandals.

But third terms are funky. things have a way of popping up that even powerful media moguls with cash to burn and evil people like Howard Wolfson on staff cannot quell.

Just ask Ed Koch.

So we'll see where this thing goes.

Bloomberg plans on running for president in 2012. He's got the cash (reportedly plans to drop $150 billion or more on the race), he has been putting the campaign staff in place, and he's been practicing his "It's time for a politician who is above party to run things" jive on Meet The Press and elsewhere.

The last thing he wants is some two bit Gordon Liddy like Haggerty bringing down his dreams of buying prime D.C. real estate at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I hope as his poll numbers plummet after the budget cuts and layoffs go through (and they will - the last time his approval was below 50% was during the '02 recession when he made many cuts in services and agencies), the politicians in city government and the press charged with covering this will ACTUALLY have the guts to investigate Mayor Moneybags and his fast and loose plays with the billions.

Because when he was up in the polls, they did not have that fortitude.

We'll see.


  1. The Independence Party, dominated by Lenora Fulani - she of the Newmanite cults of thr 70's and 80's - is as scummy as they come.

    Then again, Bloomberg has always used his money and "philanthropy" to leverage his political power.

  2. He may use that leverage all the way to the White House.

    About the only thing worse for public education than the re-election of Barack Obama would be the purchase of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue by Mayor Moneybags.

    At least when a Repub wins and tries to privatize the system, the Dems fight him.