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The state ethics commission has opened a new investigation into a sexual harassment complaint against Assemblyman Micah Kellner, news organizations are reporting. The complaint stems from 2009 and was kept quiet at the time by a top Assembly lawyer. The lawyer has been dismissed since The New York Times initially reported about the case back in July. "After four years, I’m glad that this is finally being looked at,” said Eliyanna Kaiser, a former chief of staff for Kellner who took the complaint to the Assembly's central staff, in the Times. The Daily Newswrites that the new investigation could further threaten Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's leadership. Kellner, who is running for City Council, has apologized for his behavior. He also said he welcomes the investigation and would cooperate with it.
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Why Is Voter Turnout So Low In The Bronx? (WNYC)
NYC Agrees To Scale Back Aspect Of Police Stops (NY Times)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s legacy on education is facing new scrutiny as the state prepares to release new test scores later today that are expected to be significantly lower than in previous years.
Over the weekend, the city acknowledged there would be a dramatic decline in this year’s test scores due to new Common Core standard — with Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott predicting a 30 percent drop.
Bloomberg has pinned his reputation, in part, on his success at being the education mayor.
Democratic candidates hoping to be the next mayor have taken the release of the new test scores as an opportunity to criticize Bloomberg.
“The current administration has forced teachers to implement new standards without giving them the curriculum they need to do it successfully,” said Bill Thompson, a former Board of Education president who has been endorsed by the United Federation of Teachers.
Yesterday the Campaign Finance Board denied $3.5 million in matching funds for John Liu's mayoral campaign, citing evidence of pervasive violations of campaign finance laws. It is largest penalty in the history of the program. Liu's lawyer called it a "death penalty." The campaign has already spent hundreds of thousands on legal fees and only has $1.5 million left. Liu argued that the irregularities were due to the make up of his donors, who are "overwhelmingly immigrant and first-time donors to any campaign." But a probe by the firm Thacher Associates found straw donors and other problems with the campaign's fundraising.
Court Strikes Down New York City’s ‘Prevailing Wage’ Law (NY Times)
City Asks Top Court To Review Big-Soda Ban (Wall Street Journal)
Reform Group Ponders Endorsement Of Former Benefactor (Crain's)
Democratic mayoral candidate John Liu is scheduled to appear before the city's Campaign Finance Board this morning to learn whether he will be denied over $3.5 million in public matching funds. The Wall Street Journal reported that the board's staff recently sent a letter to Liu's campaign advising that "they are inclined to make an unfavorable recommendation." Losing the money would likely hobble -- or at least injure -- Liu's bid for mayor.
Questions around his campaign's fundraising tactics have hounded the candidate. His former campaign treasurer and a former fundraiser were convicted of fraud charges this past spring.
Supporters of Liu, currently serving as the city's comptroller, are planning to rally outside the board's headquarters during the public meeting that is set to get underway at 9 a.m. A live video stream of the meeting can be viewed here.
NEW IN THE GOTHAM GAZETTE: A Conversation With Mayoral Candidate Christine Quinn On The NYPD IG Bill, Member Items & More
Weekend Roundup: Bloomberg's Education Reputation Could Be Challenged With Release Of Test Scores (The New York Times) Six political groups not tied to candidates aim to spend millions shaping city races (Daily News) | Why Won't Weiner Drop Out? (The Associated Press)
Yesterday Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn filed a request to close in bankruptcy court. Most of the patients the hospital serves are without insurance and the hospital has suffered greatly since the state slashed Medicaid reimbursements. Unless there is some sort of bailout the hospital will close its emergency room in September and close totally in November. The news comes as Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill is on the verge of closure. Public Advocate and Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has made the hospital issue a focus of his campaign and has gone to court to keep LICH open. He has also released a plan that would create a super-authority to oversee Brooklyn Hospitals that would be run by the mayor and governor. De Blasio has continued to press his long-time friend Gov. Andrew Cuomo to act to save the hospitals. Meanwhile, the Cuomo administration holds out hope that the federal government will approve a request to use $10 billion the state saved from restructuring Medicaid payments to buoy the Brooklyn hospitals.
Campaign Finance Board Seeks to Deny Liu Public Funds (Wall Street Journal)
Did De Blasio Have Council Staff Watch His Kids? (NY Post)