Sunday Summary: De Blasio Vs. Cuomo and Other Political Battles


Sure, we’ve known about the bad blood between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a very long time…

But, even we were not prepared when de Blasio’s press secretary, Bill Neidhardt, replied to a question about Cuomo’s latest needling of the mayor thusly:

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“Serial sexual assaulter says what?”

We’re not kidding. He really said that. And we’ll hand it to Neidhardt: He has taken trolling to the next level.

The strange thing about raising the volume to 11 on this particular spat is that it was low-quality stuff, as far as the Cuomo/de Blasio feud was concerned. It started on Thursday, when Mayor de Blasio announced that offices, theaters, stores, stadiums, restaurants, hair salons, gyms the whole megillah would be allowed to reopen at full capacity on July 1.

At 11:16 a.m. NY1’s Pat Kiernan Tweeted:

“Place your bets now. How many minutes into 11:30 @NYGovCuomo briefing before he says something to contradict @NYCMayor’s July 1st ‘fully open’ target date?”

Cuomo made it roughly an hour before declaring: “I want it opened on Monday. I want to open up New York City on Tuesday. I want it open on Wednesday.” He then said that he didn’t think one needed to wait all the way until July before the city was back.

That’s when Neidhardt threw down.

Granted, the mayor and the governor have loathed each other for years. Many commentators and politicos have tried to isolate the root of their mutual disregard, but nobody has ever reached a fully satisfactory explanation. As for the latest snipe from Neidhardt … it might have been one of those straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back kind of deals. Even kind, temperate folks like, say, Ned Flanders, have been known to snap at bad moments.

But, speaking of New York’s elected officials, neither Cuomo nor de Blasio had as bad a week as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose apartment was raided and who is, according to former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara, probably in a lot of legal jeopardy.

Nor did they have as bad a week as mayoral hopeful Scott Stringer, who was accused by political lobbyist Jean Kim of sexual assault in 2001. In addition to allegedly groping her, Kim said that Stringer offered to make her a Democratic party district leader, but “you would have to prove yourself to me.”

Stringer, who had been one of the three best-polling candidates for mayor, and had bagged extremely valuable endorsements from the United Federation of Teachers and the Working Families Party, called the accusations “false” and “inaccurate,” saying that he had a consensual relationship with Kim over the course of a few months back then.

Should Stringer’s campaign suddenly bite the dust, one wonders who will pick up his supporters.

Ray McGuire could use the lift. As a former Citigroup executive, he has been very appealing to real estate professionals. And McGuire has managed to rope a number of interesting supporters into his camp: Obama administration alums Valerie Jarrett and Loretta Lynch; former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill. He picked up support from Orlando Magic point guard Cole Anthony (who happens to be McGuire’s stepson), as well as hip-hop superstars Diddy, Nas and Jay-Z. His campaign got money from Laurie Tisch and Ken Langone. Spike Lee directed one of his campaign videos.

And, yet, the campaign has not caught fire. In recent polling, he’s the first choice of only 6 percent of New Yorkers.

So far, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is doing much better. CO spoke to Adams about his real estate plans should he get the nod.

Getting back.

During the Battle of the Bulge, Gen. Anthony McAuliffe responded to a long, detailed German communique, informing him he was surrounded and demanding that he surrender within two hours with a single word:


It was the 1940s equivalent of “go screw yourself.” (Apparently, the Germans weren’t sure whether Gen. McAulliffe’s reply was positive or negative; either way, they lost.)

This week, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) offered their version of “Nuts!” to all those work-from-home-until-the-end-of-eternity types, when the bank announced that workers nationwide would be expected back at the office in July.

Indeed, we sense a great deal of optimism about returning to the workplace. There were big leases all around the country. In L.A. L’Oreal USA took 100,000 square feet at Hackman Capital Partners’ 888 North Douglas Avenue in El Segundo, and Roku took 72,000 square feet at Boston Properties (BXP)’ Colorado Center in Santa Monica. Medical Properties Trust grabbed 14,000 square feet at L&L’s 425 Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Steven A. Cohen’s hedge fund Point72 Asset Management took 9,000 square feet at Nuveen’s 701 Brickell in Miami; Thoma Bravo scooped up 37,000 square feet at 830 Brickell; and Microsoft, Apple and ViacomCBS are all on the hunt for Miami office space.

Moreover, we’re starting to see more tenant tours, multifamily showing signs of recovery, and the bankers practically feeling 1980s-you’ve-just-gone-to-the-bathroom-at-Studio-54-level giddy. (On the other side of the ledger, HSBC announced that they were cutting their office space by 20 percent. You can’t win ‘em all.)

Breaking a mother’s heart. And her credit.

Among the stranger stories that have cropped up over the course of the last few weeks has been that of Mitch Kossoff.

The lawyer is embroiled in lawsuits, after having vanished on his partners and several real estate clients with the cash in their escrow accounts mysteriously gone.

Kossoff was hit with another suit this week … by his own mother.

Apparently, Phyllis Kossoff is claiming that her son forged her signature on three notarized merchant cash agreements.

“I am 94 years old and have been the victim of a terrible fraud,” the elder Kossoff said in an affidavit filed in New York Supreme Court. (Although, it’s not unheard of in real estate. Remember when Harry Macklowe sued his son Billy?) Phyllis is also one of the only people who has spoken to Mitch since this whole thing started, getting a phone call from him last week, informing her of the forgery.

The Kossoffs were not the only legal entanglement we were watching this week. Walter & Samuels filed a suit against WeWork for $37 million in New York Supreme Court for failing to pay a $584,500 security deposit and skipping its January, February and April rent.

“It is our belief that this litigation is meritless given the fact that there is no default on our lease whatsoever — we are current on rent and all other obligations under the lease,” a spokesperson for WeWork (WE) said in a statement.

Have a better Sunday than Stringer, Rudy, WeWork, or Phyllis Kossoff!