Joe Crowley at an unrelated event in the district.

Crowley’s Treasurer Under Investigation

One of Queens Democratic Leader Rep. Joe Crowley’s closest allies, his campaign treasurer Scott Kaufman, is under investigation by the state Office of Court Administration. He may have violated the rules by receiving court appointments that allowed him to earn over the limit, taking home over $550,000 in court contracts over the last decade.

Kaufman received all these contracts from a judge whose sister works for Crowley, who also appoints judges. He told the Post that he had complied with all rules.

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Julissa Ferreras-Copeland with her then-newborn son and husband.

Pol Bows Out to Spend Time with Family… and Means It

Normally when a politician says they are retiring to spend more time with their family, we’re skeptical. But Queens Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland seems to really mean it, describing the anguish of not being able to spend enough time with her husband and son. Though she was widely-seen as a rising star, Ferreras-Copeland says she’s putting her happiness first.

Why it matters:

  • This shakes up the race to be the next Council Speaker, perhaps the second most powerful role in City politics after the Mayor. Ferreras-Copeland was seen as a serious contender for the position which is voted on by the City Council. While insiders pointed to her as de Blasio’s preferred candidate, her strained ties with Queens Democratic Leader Rep. Joe Crowley might have been a stumbling block.
     
    Without Ferreras-Copeland in the race for Speaker, there are no other serious candidates from Queens, leaving Crowley free to wheel and deal. Look for him to throw his support (and the votes of the dozen-or-so Councilmembers loyal to him) to whichever candidate will deliver the most for him.
     
  • Ferreras-Copeland’s retirement highlights the plight faced by women in government. We mentioned this issue last week whenthe New York Times reported on how many women left working for Mayor de Blasio amid complaints about mismanagement and a hostile workplace. There were suggestions that Ferreras-Copeland couldn’t be Speaker because of her young family, an accusation that virtually never comes up for fathers. 
  • With Ferreras-Copeland leaving, only 8 out of 51 City Councilmembers are likely to be women next year. The successor to current Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a Puerto Rican woman, is also very likely to be a white man (probably Upper Manhattan’s Mark Levine or Corey Johnson from Chelsea). While both are progressives, many activists are dismayed at the lack of diversity in the New York City Council.

Who’s going to succeed Ferreras-Copeland?

Jackson Heights Assemblyman Francisco Moya is running to succeed Ferreras-Copeland. He has the support of the Queens Democratic Party and is widely-known thanks to his current position, making him the instant frontrunner for the Council seat.

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The Brothers Crowley: Sean and Joe

Power Corrupts: Crowley Delivers

We’ve mentioned Rep. Joe Crowley, before. He’s one of New York’s most powerful representatives and leads the Queens Democratic Party.

What’s new?

Now comes the latest story from the New York Post: Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative (in the Bronx) hired Sean Crowley, brother of the Queens representative. In 2013, Rep. Joe Crowley secured $10 million for the Hunts Point market. Making everything go full circle: Sean’s firm (Davidoff, Hutcher and Citron), their employees, and people connected to Hunts Point Terminal donated more than $70,000 to groups associated with Congressman Crowley.

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Does Adriano Espaillat still stand with Marisol Alcantara?

Congressional Democrats to IDC: Rejoin the Party

The ongoing feud about control of the state Senate took another turn last week.

Remind me: what’s going on?

Even though there are 32 Democrats and 31 Republicans in the Senate, Republicans control the body because nine of the Democrats support the Republican leadership. Eight of the nine are members of the Independent Democratic Conference and they’ve been under pressure recently because of the Senate lulu payroll scandal–three of them were paid for leadership positions they didn’t hold. Brooklyn Senator Simcha Felder, the ninth defector, said that he’d rejoin the Democratic Party if they did, too.

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Steve Pigeon is in trouble for a donation he got for Gov. Cuomo.

Corruption Watch: Pigeon and Crowley Sibling Relations

Buffalo Fixer Steered Illegal Donation to Cuomo
Legendary Buffalo political operative Steve Pigeon was already headed to trial for violating election laws. Now, he faces one more charge: helping a Canadian online gambling company make an illegal $25,000 contribution to Gov. Cuomo’s 2014 re-election campaign. Doesn’t look like Pigeon will be able to fly the coop.

Queens Congressman Pays His Brother for an Office Outside the District
The New York Post reports that Congressman Joe Crowley is using campaign funds to pay his brother, Sean Crowley. Crowley’s campaign rented an office from his brother’s company, Killean Enterprises LLC, even though the office isn’t even in his district. Crowley, a top Congressional Democrat and leader of the Queens Democratic Party, spent $69,700 in donated funds for the space.

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