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November 20, 2011
Money cleanses: a Bloomberg anecdote
Atlantic Yards Report
There's a very interesting passage in City Hall's profile of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance:
Vance succeeded at mending the once-fractured relationship his office had with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Unlike Morgenthau, who was insulated from political pressure by dint of age and a half-century’s worth of political clout, Vance needs Bloomberg’s help. A key part of his platform, a family justice center, is still unfunded. A bill increasing domestic violence penalties that Vance hoped would pass the state Legislature fell prey to partisan infighting in the State Senate.
His office’s $91 million budget depends on a variety of sources, including the city’s budget, controlled by Bloomberg, and discretionary funds from both the City Council and the borough president.
But Vance also seemed to make a key decision deferential to the mayor. The office prosecuted John Haggerty, a consultant to Bloomberg’s 2009 reelection campaign, who was convicted of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the mayor’s campaign. Vance’s prosecutors took the unusual step of granting Bloomberg immunity in exchange for his testimony.
Experts wondered why Haggerty was the only person tried in a case where it seemed Bloomberg’s campaign had skirted campaign-finance laws—though Vance did score a much-needed victory when the jury convicted Haggerty of felonies.
Asked whether he’d deliberately courted the mayor’s favor to mend their relationship, Vance said, “It always is better to have people on your side than opposite you when you’re trying to achieve an objective.”
It's not clear whether that's an admission in response to a question about selective prosecution or a more general question.
But it does suggest how power works in New York City.
Posted by steve at November 20, 2011 9:52 PM