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October 26, 2011

What's the real Marty Markowitz like? Lawsuit depositions point to a calculating, volatile politician (and some questionable management by Markowitz's then-deputy)

Atlantic Yards Report

Oy vey.

What's the real Marty Markowitz like? "The people in Brooklyn know me," the Brooklyn Borough President yesterday told the New York Times, waving off criticisms about private fundraising from companies doing business in Brooklyn. (Common Cause was not convinced.)

But do they? Those who know only showman Markowitz may smile, but the real Marty is far more calculating and volatile, as detailed in documents in a sex discrimination suit filed in December 2007 by a former staffer against both him and his office.

Some of the headlines--prompted by the plaintiff's effort to lend momentum to her case by sharing depositions--have been lurid, magnifying relatively small incidents: Suit: Marty ran the Beep’s office like a frat-house and Marty Markowitz blasts 'Tinkerbell' ex-staffer.

By my reading of the extant depositions--surely not the whole record--ex-staffer Regina Weiss has a case, though it's not a slam dunk. No, Markowitz's office doesn't resemble the testosterone-fueled atmosphere of, say, a trading floor. Still, there may be evidence of disparate treatment toward male and female staffers.

The real Marty

More than anything else, the lawsuit pulls back the curtain on Markowitz, showing he recognizes the division between policy and his "shtick," can be a "screamer" beneath his jovial exterior, practices retail politics by pumping out proclamations, blurs the already-fuzzy line between governing and campaigning, and obsesses about his Brooklyn!! promotional publication, which aims to mention or honor as many people as possible.

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Posted by eric at October 26, 2011 10:26 AM