Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Billion Dollar Misunderstanding

It looks as id Ron Lauder may be a tad confused about the deal he and Mayor Mike apparently struck on term limits. When it comes to the Wall Street trader it is imperative that you pay close attention to the fine print. Or maybe Lipstick Ron wasn't properly briefed by professor Rubenstein. According to the NY Daily News: "Another problem surfaced when billionaire cosmetics mogul Ronald Lauder, a term limits foe who supports giving the mayor four more years, suggested he would oppose the bill unless it's just a one-time waiver for Bloomberg."

Lauder went on to tell the News: "The term limits debate is growing more difficult and divisive by the day," Lauder said in a statement. "At this point, I see no benefit in having anything more to say until I have had the opportunity to talk with Mayor Bloomberg personally, hopefully when he returns Wednesday." Aw, come on, a deal is a deal!

Or is it? "In London yesterday, Bloomberg chalked the confusion up to a "misunderstanding," but he didn't elaborate. Spokesmen for both men said Sunday the two had brokered a deal." Let's call it the billion dollar misunderstanding.

Which raises the question about the legality of the arrangement-we thought that such a quid pro quo was against the law. Maybe there are two sets of laws, just as there are often two sets of books down in the canyons on Wall Street; one for the rubes, and another for the inside traders.

We seem to remember that Assemblyman Alan Hochberg went to jail when he tried to bribe Co-Op City rent strike slickster Charlie Rosen: "The strike made Mr. Rosen one of the most powerful figures in the Bronx, and it led to the downfall of an assemblyman, Alan Hochberg. In 1976, Mr. Hochberg, a Democrat, was convicted of offering Mr. Rosen a $20,000-a-year do-nothing job with the Assembly, a promise of a $5,000 contribution for a future political campaign and a $3,000-a-year job for Mr. Rosen’s brother-in-law, if Mr. Rosen agreed not to run against Mr. Hochberg."

Why is the Bloomberg/Lauder deal different? Because it doesn't involve the kind of money that the two billionaires leave their doorman for Christmas? This is about the public trust-and the mayor's abuse of it in plain sight. Let's hold him to the same high standards we have had for the Hochbergs of the world.