« Krugerpalooza: Tuesday Edition | Main | Filling in the gaps in the Post's Bruce Bender story: questionable behavor in Yonkers »

March 15, 2011

The Long Decline of Richard Lipsky

NY Observer
by David Freedlander

Just after evening came to the city last Friday, Richard Lipsky appeared in the lobby of the Normandy on Riverside Drive. Gone was the Bluetooth headset that seemed welded to his ear as he conducted his business in the lobby of City Hall or the State Capitol. Gone, too, was the thick red leather-bound restaurant-reservation-style book that Mr. Lipsky used to keep appointments for the one-man lobbying shop that battered and bent governors, mayors and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Instead of one of his famously dark suits, Mr. Lipsky was wearing a gray tracksuit with red stripes and sneakers; a gold chain peeked out at the neckline of a white undershirt. The bags under his eyes were larger than usual, and the eyes themselves stained a kind of bright red. He put his hand on The Observer's shoulder and guided us out into the still-gathering darkness of 86th Street, past the earshot of the doormen watching over one of the city's premier Art Deco addresses, where he owns a $1.6 million apartment.

The day before, Mr. Lipsky had surrendered to federal prosecutors who accused him of using his clients' money to buy off Carl Kruger, a powerful state senator from Brooklyn. Investigators found more than $100,000 in Mr. Lipsky's home safe and more than $4,000 in cash stuffed in a suit pocket.

His lawyer instructed him to not to talk to the press, but he advised us to read some of the clippings about him and to talk to his clients.

"I like to fight for the underdog," he said, before disappearing back inside. "That's just who I am."


NoLandGrab: Yeah, like that plucky little Bruce Ratner. Oh, wait — Lipsky's doing it for the kid$.

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, The Observer on "The Long Decline of Richard Lipsky"

The New York Observer has a long, gloomy piece on the once Observer-anointed, alleged bribe-giving lobbyist Richard Lipsky,The Long Decline of Richard Lipsky, which closes:

Unlike Mr. Lipsky, most lobbyists wanted those in office to stay-they relied on these relationships for business. He had burned so many bridges that he needed a whole new crop of lawmakers. It makes sense, then, they say, that Mr. Lipsky would be caught handing cash over to a longtime outer-borough lawmaker. It was the only way he could get anyone to take his calls.

"He wanted to start representing the fat cats, but because he was so obnoxious and aggressive, he didn't have that many successes," said longtime lobbyist Norman Adler. "When you are under pressure like that, you pull out all the stops."

Unmentioned is why Forest City Ratner might have wanted to hire Lipsky: to organize youth sports (as the developer claimed), to be an all-around weapon against Atlantic Yards opponents, and, perhaps most likely, simply to take him off the table so he wasn't available to those opponents.

Posted by eric at March 15, 2011 11:53 PM