Malliotakis Calls for More Transparency & No More Bundling. The Mayor Needs to Come Clean on His Relation$hip with Jim Capalino
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, the Republican nominee and common sense alternative to Bill de Blasio in the race for mayor, held a Wednesday morning news conference in front of the scandal plagued Rivington House on Manhattan’s Lower East Side where she called for a a ban prohibiting lobbyists from bundling campaign contributions, public disclosure of all city employees lobbied on behalf of a client and a prohibition on city officials soliciting lobbyists, and lobbyists from offering city officials funding for ceremonies and events. Each of these points highlights the disturbing relationship between Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City mega-lobbyist, Jim Capalino.
Malliotakis was joined by her ticket-mate, the GOP nominee for Public Advocate, JC Polanco. During her remarks Assemblywoman Malliotakis said, “It’s time for Bill de Blasio, the most ethically challenged mayor in recent history, to get honest with the voters and explain who calls the shots in his relationship with lobbyist Jim Capalino.
Capalino, the CEO of Capalino + Company a top new York City lobbying firm, has been a financial contributor and bundler of donations to Mayor de Blasio’s campaign as well as to organizations like the Mayor’s now defunct Campaign for One New York or the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, a non-profit run by de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray. Capolino and his firm have been the common denominator in a number of questionable real estate deals, including: Rivington House, the RAL project adjacent to Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park and the nearby site that once housed Long Island College Hospital. In 2013, the last year of the Bloomberg administration, Capalino + Company generated fees of $4.6 million; by the end of 2016 the firm was generating $13.5 million in fees, making it the city’s top grossing lobbying firm. In other words; his firm has become very successful since Bill de Blasio took office.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said, “Today, we stand in front of Rivington House, a name that has become synonymous with the word “scandal” because of the questionable dealings of Bill de Blasio, his administration and their favorite lobbyist Jim Capalino. For decades the property was restricted and could only be used for a nonprofit residential health care facility…enter Capalino and two deed restrictions are lifted to allow the healthcare facility to be turned into luxury condos. Bill de Blasio was right…there is a tale of two cities and its Bill de Blasio’s donors and friends vs. the rest of us.”
“Nearly 3 weeks ago, with Michel Faulkner the Republican candidate for Comptroller at my side, I held a news conference in front of the Water’s Edge Restaurant in Long Island City to discuss its operator, Harendra Singh and his pay-to-play relationship with Bill de Blasio and his administration.
“I’m joined today by JC Polanco, the Republican candidate for Public Advocate, as we discuss pay-to-play on a much grander scale and the role lobbyist Jim Capalino has played in it. The Public Advocate’s mission is to act as the eyes and ears of the electorate and represent the public’s interests in dealing with our municipal government.”
“Anyone who holds public office is rightfully held to higher ethical standards than the general public. Sadly, Bill de Blasio doesn’t seem to appreciate that fact and over the course of his first term he’s continually thumbed his nose at both the intent and the letter of the law. As he runs for reelection, it’s time for Bill de Blasio, the most ethically challenged mayor in recent history, to get honest with the media and the voters by explaining who calls the shots in his relationship with lobbyist Jim Capalino.
“In questionable deal after questionable deal made with the de Blasio administration there has been one common thread and that’s the involvement of Jim Capalino and/or his lobbying firm. It’s time for Bill de Blasio to end the charade and explain to the voters how much influence Jim Capalino had in Rivington House and the following deals:
- The RAL Development project of 2 residential towers in Brooklyn Bridge Park, adjacent to Pier 6.
- Long Island College Hospital, a hospital Bill de Blaso pledged to save in 2013. Now 4 years later the main hospital buildings have been demolished to make room for residential towers that the community opposes.
- Agrinasli Deal that allowed a developer to construct a building 100 feet taller than the zoning allowed.
- MDG Design and Construction, a firm which was caught cheating its employees out of pay and was then hired by the de Blasio administration to oversee redevelopment of public housing projects in far Rockaway.
- The World Series celebration reenactment that was staged on the front steps of city hall for a client of Capalino and then billed to the city.
“Today, in an effort to protect the public interest, I’m calling for a ban prohibiting lobbyists from bundling campaign contributions, public disclosure of all city employees lobbied on behalf of a client and a prohibition on city officials soliciting lobbyists, and lobbyists from offering city officials funding for ceremonies and events.”
JC Polanco, the Republican candidate for Public Advocate said, “The Public Advocate is meant to speak out as a representative of the people and for their interests. It has become evident over the past 3 years that the voice of the Public Advocate has remained silent when it comes to pay-to-play in the de Blasio administration. It’s time we had a Public Advocate who wasn’t afraid to stand up and speak out when the actions of our mayor warrant it.
“The fact the matter is, an effective Public Advocate should have been speaking out since the transactional nature of the de Blasio administration became apparent through reports in the media. And while the mayor and his associates have yet to be caught breaking the letter of the law, it has become abundantly clear that they are adept at challenging the intent of the law.
“So far, the citizen’s watch dog of New York’s municipal government, the Public Advocate has, for the most part, sat silently by as a for sale sign has been has been posted on the front door of the mayor’s office. Sure, she has criticized actions by various individuals and agencies within the de Blasio administration but, a wink and a nod later, she can be seen praising the mayor and endorsing him for a second term. That’s reason enough why we need a new Public Advocate fighting for the people and the neighborhoods of New York City.”