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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by Facts About Herbalife: CITY HALL vs. Cuomo -- CUOMO vs. CUNY -- MARGARET SULLIVAN joins WashPost

02/23/2016 07:17 AM EDT

By Azi Paybarah in Manhattan, Jimmy Vielkind in Albany, and Mike Allen in D.C., with Daniel Lippman

CITY ACCUSES STATE OF POLITICAL MEDIA HIT IN LATEST HOMELESSNESS FIGHT - POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias: City Hall is accusing Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration of recklessly leaking a false report of a gang rape in a homeless shelter to a tabloid, in what a city commissioner described as a "political media hit" designed to make the city look bad.

That charge - laid out in a letter sent by Human Resources Administration commissioner Steve Banks to Sam Roberts, commissioner of the state's office of Temporary Disability and Assistance - represents another extraordinary escalation in the public battle between Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio over the city's homelessness problems. On Friday, Roberts wrote a letter to Banks saying that an OTDA inspector who inspected the Bellevue shelter for homeless adult men in Manhattan heard a story from a security guard about a gang rape that had happened there. Roberts wrote a letter to City Hall, demanding to know why the incident hadn't been reported and why the state hadn't been informed. Just after the letter was sent, the New York Post published an article about the incident. At City Hall's direction, the NYPD investigated and found no evidence that the rape occurred.

In a two-page letter sent Monday, Banks blasted the Cuomo administration's actions as irresponsible and potentially criminal . "This political media hit resulted in the predictable screaming tabloid headline 'Cuomo demands probe into alleged 'gang rape' at the Bellevue Men's shelter,'" Banks wrote. New York state law prohibits making "gratuitous reports to law enforcement," in circumstances where the false report would result in "public alarm," Banks wrote. Further, the false report could scare homeless people living on the streets out of coming into shelter for help, undermining both the city and state's efforts to get homeless individuals off the street. "We are advising the outreach teams that your allegations are false. But the damage has already been done," Banks wrote.

CUOMO'S CUNY DISLIKE - POLITICO New York's Dana Rubinstein and Conor Skelding: It was late summer 2012, and then-mayor Michael Bloomberg was trumpeting a "hugely significant agreement:" The City University of New York and New York's pre-eminent cancer treatment center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, were going to drop $215 million to build a complex befitting the hype, one that would solidify Sloan-Kettering's hold on the East Side cancer corridor and finally give nursing and physical therapy students at CUNY's Hunter College access to state-of-the-art facilities and top-flight neighbors. Its name notwithstanding, City University is a state-run institution. But the governor, who got along poorly with Bloomberg, was not involved in planning the press conference, and was invited to it at the last minute. He did not attend. Afterwards, Cuomo's then top aide, Larry Schwartz, rang up CUNY executives and bawled them out.

The Cuomo administration's expression of pique has since become legendary among CUNY insiders, because it seemed to herald a worsening of relations between the public university and the governor. In its aftermath, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering half of the project is poised to move forward, once the building's foundation is complete. CUNY's portion might not, because three and half years after the Bloomberg announcement, Cuomo has yet to include funding in his budget. And now things are getting worse.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "A lot of what's going on is very self-interested. Koch brothers are not doing what they're doing to help kids get pre-K. They're doing a lot of what they're doing to help their business. So I think there are differences." -- Bill de Blasio, on his fundraising, via Observer's Will Bredderman:

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We have to assume he could be the Republican nominee. We have to assume he has a legitimate shot at the presidency, and take that deadly seriously." -- de Blasio on Trump, via DNAinfo's Jeff Mays:

EXTRA BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We could probably get a crowd for public hangings, sell tickets and make some money, but we don't do that," -- Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, on her opposition to Mixed Martial Arts, via WSJ's Michael Vilensky:

DATA OF THE DAY: A map that lets you find the local filming location of television shows shot around the city, via WNYC:

TABS -- Post, with image of Trump: "Hair' to the Throne" -- Daily News: "HEROES' $183M JUSTICE: Jury slams city in '05 Black Sunday blaze; Kin of 5 Bravest to share near-record pay" -- SEE THEM:

-- amNY: "DE JA POOCH: For second straight year, French Bulldog is Big Apple's top dog" -- Hamodia: "Democratic Christie Hearings Cost Taxpayers $10M" -- El Diario [translated]: #WorkNYC Hot jobs

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 1-col., above the fold: "Cruz Takes Hit And Fires Aide for Rubio Clip" -- WSJNY , 5-col., below the fold: "Mixes Martial Arts Faces Fierce Albany Foe"

ITHACA MAYOR PROPOSES MEDICALLY SUPERVISED HEROIN USE - David Klepper for the Associated Press: "The mayor of Ithaca in upstate New York wants his city to host the nation's first supervised injection facility, where heroin users would be able to shoot illegal drugs into their bodies under the care of a nurse without getting arrested by police. Canada, Europe and Australia are working to reduce overdose deaths with these facilities, but in the United States, even the idea of creating supervised injection sites faces significant legal and political challenges. That has to change and quickly, said Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick. 'My father was a drug addict. He split from the family when I was 5, 6 years old,' the mayor, now 28, explained in an Associated Press interview. 'I have watched for 20 years this system that just doesn't work. We can't wait anymore for the federal government. We have people shooting up in alleys. In bathroom stalls. And too many of them are dying.'"

-- Supervised injection is one of five pillars of an "Ithaca Plan" that has been under development for two years, according to The Ithaca Voice.

** A Message from Facts About Herbalife: Like millions of others, Rosa thought that selling Herbalife products could help her achieve the American Dream. Instead, she lost her life savings from a pyramid scheme that preys on minority communities and aspiring entrepreneurs. Watch The American Dream Denied: Herbalife Victims Speak Out: **

CUOMO LAUNCHES RV TOUR IN SUPPORT OF MINIMUM WAGE HIKE - Ken Lovett in the Daily News: "Cuomo Tuesday is hitting the road in an RV specially-designed to promote his push to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The "Drive for $15" tour will start in Manhattan Tuesday with stops in the Bronx and Long Island. The idea is to take the RV across the state in coming weeks to try to drum up support for his minimum wage plan, a Cuomo aide said. On Tuesday, the events other prominent officials, including Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, city Controller Scott Stringer, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and labor leaders Ward and Mario Cilento. The RV is being paid for by the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice, which has raised money, including from unions supporting the higher minimum wage. The current rate is $9 an hour."

DE BLASIO'S DARK MONEY - Watchdog Group Asks for Inquiry Into Nonprofits Tied to de Blasio - Times' J. David Goodman: "A government watchdog group filed a formal complaint with New York City officials on Monday against Mayor Bill de Blasio and the outside political groups tied to him, requesting an investigation into whether their fund-raising and spending violated the law. The move is the latest salvo in two years of public complaints by good government advocates over the groups, run by close allies of the mayor, that grew out of Mr. de Blasio's 2013 campaign and have since advocated for his policies, beginning with the push for universal prekindergarten and, now, the battle over rezoning and affordable housing.

"The most prominent of the groups is Campaign for One New York, which has hired the mayor's top outside political consultants and, as a nonprofit, has raised money for his political agenda outside of the city's limits on campaign donations. In a five-page letter sent Monday, the government watchdog group, Common Cause New York, requested that the city's Campaign Finance Board and its Conflicts of Interest Board look into the mayor's actions and that of the groups, which, Common Cause asserts, run afoul of broadly worded sections of the city charter and of campaign finance law, 'as well as the spirit' of those regulations."

-- Flashback: "The transactional mayor returns" - POLITICO New York:

-- Flashback: "Who is Jonathan Rosen? The Most Powerful Man in Politics - Outside City Hall" - via NY1:

-- WSJ's Josh Dawsey: "Mr. de Blasio's Progressive Agenda Committee has been funded by contributions from the Campaign for One New York. That group has declined to disclose its donors, but a spokeswoman said they would be provided later this year."

-- POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias and Sally Goldenberg, on the mayor's explanation: De Blasio, who railed against corporate spending in politics when he was public advocate, defended the fundraising on Monday at an unrelated press conference. Common Cause's "allegation doesn't make sense to me," he said. Although 501(c)4s-which all three entities are-do not have to disclose their donors under federal law, de Blasio has voluntarily released his donors and expenses for Campaign for One New York.

"It's not dark money if it's disclosed," de Blasio said. All his activities involving the nonprofits have been "legal and appropriate in every way" and he obtained clearance for his involvement from the city's Conflicts of Interest Board, he added. As public advocate, de Blasio routinely voiced his opposition to the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United decision, which allowed unlimited corporate spending in elections. He has since insisted his situation is different. "What we saw after Citizens United was very powerful interests using their wealth to try and subvert the democratic process and not disclosing what they were doing," de Blasio said. The decision was "trying to undermine the democratic process" and "work against the needs and interests of the people," de Blasio added. By contrast, he said, his own nonprofits and their donors have nobler goals, such as "fighting for more affordable housing" and "pre-K for all."

HEADLINE OF THE DAY -- "De Blasio Says Unlimited Fundraising Is OK-As Long as It's for a Progressive Cause" -- via the Observer:

-- Post editorial: "A formal investigation is long overdue. It's time to determine whether de Blasio is breaking the law - or is just a hypocrite."

-- Daily News editorial: "The [CFB and COIB] should already have been on the mayor's case. Adept at punishing little guys like sanitation workers over $10 gifts, the conflicts panel, especially, must prove it is worth a damn."

WHY CUOMO SOLD A 1973 FIREBIRD - Gannett's Joe Spector: "Cuomo recalled Monday how he had a 'beautiful' 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, and he blames his family friend, Rep. Nita Lowey, for making him sell it. Lowey lived in the Queens neighborhood where Cuomo grew up in the 1970s, and she was close with Cuomo's father, Mario, the three-term governor who once appointed Lowey, D-Harrison, Westchester County, as his deputy secretary of state. But when Mario Cuomo was first breaking into politics, the younger Cuomo said, the congresswoman came to his family's house and discouraged him from keeping his prized possession."

SHARPTON QUESTIONS RIKERS CLOSURE GOAL - POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: The Reverend Al Sharpton, one of Mayor Bill de Blasio's closest supporters and frequent validator echoed de Blasio's concern on Monday about the possibility of closing Rikers Island. "When I heard the proposal to close Rikers Island as the solution, my fears were immediately well - where are we going to put everyone?" Sharpton said to a large crowd gathered at National Action Network House of Justice in Harlem.

Sharpton hosted a town hall style meeting on Monday evening to discuss the possibilities for reform at Rikers. The panelists included Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officer's Benevolent Association and recently elected Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark. Although the town hall was billed as an opportunity to discuss the possibility of closing Rikers, the discussion mainly focused on what the union considers to be the increasingly dangerous working conditions for officers on the island, as well as some discussion about the treatment of inmates and the reforms being installed now. "I wanted to hear the side of the union on this issue," Sharpton said, before introducing Seabrook. "Norman and I have agreed and disagreed on politics but always on civil rights issues we have been straight forward."

TRUMP WARNING - de Blasio says Donald Trump could win nomination - New York Observer's Will Bredderman: Two days after Queens-born real estate mogul Donald Trump triumphed in the South Carolina Republican primary, Mayor Bill de Blasio today said that the firebrand front-runner stood a good chance of clinching the Republican nomination-and even of winding up in the White House. Mr. de Blasio, a liberal Democrat, ominously intoned the growing political threat the Manhattan developer posed. Mr. Trump has so far won two states, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and come in second in the Iowa Caucus.

"I think there's a very good chance he could become the Republican nominee. I think no one should underestimate him at this point," Mr. de Blasio said at an unrelated event in Brooklyn. "We have to assume he could be the Republican nominee, we should assume he has a legitimate shot at the presidency, and take that deadly seriously." The mayor insisted that his pet issue, income inequality, has fueled the ascent of the billionaire populist-who has built a base of blue-collar support around a platform attacking illegal immigration, free trade and incompetent leadership as the causes of American economic decline.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO TALK ABOUT? "New Yorkers Talk to Their Neighbors Mostly to Gripe About Noise: Study," by DNAinfo's Amy Zimmer: "46 percent of New Yorkers have argued with the neighbors about noise, according to a survey of 1,000 city residents released Monday by search In a town where neighbors don't often talk to each other - the survey found that at least 34 percent of New Yorkers went more than a week without speaking to those living nearby - they do often hear each other, and noise was the No. 1 reason for fights between neighbors."

THE TALK OF WALL STREET -- "Republican Marco Rubio winning Wall Street fundraising race," by Reuters' Ginger Gibson and Grant Smith: "The U.S. senator from Florida has received more than $4 million from the employees of banks and investment firms like Bank of America Corp, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs Group Inc since launching his bid for the presidency last year, according to the analysis of individual donations totaling more than $200 each. ... Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush ... came in second in Wall Street donations, accumulating $2.45 million in contributions, while Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton took third place with $723,361."

-- "A New Breed of Trader on Wall Street: Coders With a Ph.D," by NYT Dealbook's Landon Thomas: "[A]s ... firms have grown, so has the demand for a new breed of Wall Street trader - one who can build financial models and write computer code but who also has the guts to spot a market anomaly and bet big with the firm's capital. In a word, these are not your suit-and-tie bond and stock traders of yore, riding the commuter train into Manhattan. They are, instead, the pick of the global brain crop."

MEDIA MORNING -- "[NYT public editor] Margaret Sullivan joins The Post as media columnist" -- Liz Seymour, the Post's executive features editor emails the staff: "She is overflowing with story ideas about the rapidly changing media environment ... [Her] weekly column ... will encompass everything related to digital media, and how that transformation is affecting people's lives and work, along with journalism, news literacy, privacy and free speech, and media personalities. Margaret is a huge consumer of culture, especially pop music, literary fiction, theater, art, and movies, and will pull these elements into her column. She has had a long and distinguished career in journalism, mostly at the Buffalo News, where she was editor and vice president for 12 years."

--"Newt Gingrich to Fox News: You 'Invented' Donald Trump," by The Daily Beast's Andrew Kirell: "After ... Brian Kilmeade [said]: 'The billionaire is spending the least amount of money and running away with this thing' ... that's when Gingrich got real. 'Well, that's because of you guys,' he asserted in the clip first spotted by Media Matters. 'Donald Trump gets up in the morning, tweets to the entire planet at no cost, picks up the phone, calls you, has a great conversation for about eight minutes, which would have cost him a ton in commercial money, and meanwhile his opponents are all out there trying to raise the money to run an ad.'" Video

FUTURE OF NEWS - Per Politico Media Pro: Good Morning America will broadcast live in virtual reality this morning. The segment, "GMA on Safari," will have correspondent Amy Robach in Tanzania, reporting on the poaching threat affecting the country's wild animals.

HILLARYWATCH - Hillary using "we" more than "I" now -- WSJ's Laura Meckler: "Sen. Bernie Sanders ... consistently frames the challenge in terms of what 'we' can and will accomplish. Now there appears to be a subtle shift under way in Mrs. Clinton's rhetoric.

In her speech after the Iowa caucuses earlier this month, she used 'I' 37 times, and 'we' or 'we're' 25 times. After her win in Nevada, it was the reverse: she used the word 'I' only 11 times, and the words 'we' or 'we're' a whopping 47 times."

IF BLOOMBERG RAN -- Bloomberg 2016 takes more from Sanders than from Cruz-Trump -- POLITICO New York's Dana Rubinstein: If Mayor Michael Bloomberg were to enter a presidential race in which he was running against Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate and either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz as the Republican, he'd hurt Sanders the most, according to a new poll out Thursday. The Quinnipiac University poll first asks how the Vermont senator would fare against the senator from Texas. In that match-up, Sanders would best Cruz 49 to 39 percent. But that's only if the former mayor isn't in the race."

via Quinnipiac poll, overall voters:

Sanders -- 48

Trump -- 42

Sanders - 38

Trump - 38

Bloomberg - 12

Sanders -- 49

Cruz -- 39

Sanders - 39

Cruz - 33

Bloomberg - 12

FULL poll results:

REAL ESTATE -- TENANT TROUBLES-"De Blasio administration voices opposition to landlord harassment bill," by POLITICO New York's Mazin Sidahmed: "The de Blasio administration on Monday came out against a series of City Council bills that aim to stop landlords from harassing tenants. One of the four bills, sponsored by Councilman Brad Lander, would require developers to obtain a 'certificate of no harassment,' before doing any construction or demolition to their properties. Vito Mustaciuolo, deputy commissioner for the Department of Housing Preservation & Development, voiced some of the administration's concerns. 'HPD is concerned that requiring the certification of no harassment, as proposed in this bill, would be an overly broad, poorly targeted, after-the-fact approach to preventing harassment,' Mustaciuolo said during a Council committee hearing. 'That will impose considerable costs upon all development.' The administration's position puts it at odds with tenant advocacy groups, with whom it is traditionally aligned."

CHECKING IN-"Meatpacking district development flips from hotel to offices," by Crain's Daniel Geiger: "A hotel planned for the north end of the meatpacking district will instead rise as an 18-story office tower with annual rents as high as $150 a square foot, in the latest sign of a growing market for high-priced office space in one of Manhattan's trendiest neighborhoods. Boston-based Rockpoint Group is leading a consortium to build the 270-foot-high, 130,000-square-foot building at 412 W. 15th St., between Ninth and 10th avenues. Hotel operator and developer Highgate Holdings remains a partner in the project, along with the Meilman family, which leased the land to Rockpoint. The tower will connect to 85,000 square feet of office and retail space Rockpoint is creating in renovated buildings on West 14th Street."

PRICE POINTS-"Extell lowers sellout target at One Manhattan Square," by Real Deal's E.B. Solomont: "At One57, Extell Development raised prices at least 10 times to push some of the world's richest buyers to their limits. But at its latest project on the Lower East Side, the developer is flipping the script by lowering the target sellout. Extell dropped the sellout price at One Manhattan Square by $207.3 million to a total of $1.87 billion, according to a Jan. 22 amendment to the building's offering plan. 'We're going to be very conservative here,' Extell chief Gary Barnett told The Real Deal. He disputed the notion of having cut prices per se, instead describing the markdown as a change to early placeholder prices to better match the current market, which is showing signs of a slowdown at the top."

INDUSTRY MOVES-"Tishman Speyer's Katherine Farley leaving firm," by Real Deal's Rey Mashayekhi: "Katherine Farley, a top executive at Tishman Speyer and wife to co-founder Jerry Speyer, is leaving the firm, The Real Deal has learned. Farley, who oversees the development giant's operations in Brazil and China as well as its global corporate marketing division, will step down after more than 30 years at the company and focus on her roles at various nonprofits, according to an internal company memo. A spokesperson for Tishman Speyer confirmed the news Monday. Earlier this month, Farley - who has served as chair of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts since 2011 - was named co-chair of the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid and relief organization where she already served on the board of directors."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Meaghan Dolan, newsroom supervisor at Business Wire [h/t Facebook]

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Raptors 122, Knicks 95: Thoroughly outclassed, the Knicks got 23 from Carmelo Anthony, but it wasn't nearly enough. Jimmer Fredette did hit a three in his Knicks debut.

-- The day ahead: the Nets are in Portland. The Rangers face the Devils at The Rock. The Islanders are in Minnesota.

CIGAR BREAK -- "Dirty cop and drug dealer launch cigar line named after Brooklyn precinct," by Post's Larry Celona, Dana Sauchelli and Danika Fears: "One of the most crooked cops in NYPD history has created a cigar line with a drug dealer he was in cahoots with - and has named it after the Brooklyn precinct he disgraced. Former Officer Michael Dowd, 55, spent 12 years behind bars for shaking down cocaine dealers, swiping their drugs and reselling them while working in Brooklyn's 75th Precinct in the late '80s and early '90s. Now he's teaming with a former drug cohort, gang leader Adam Diaz, to sell cigars from the Dominican Republic under the brand name The Seven Five - after Dowd's old precinct."

#UpstateAmerica: "Upstate NY oboist with anger problems fired after sabotaging orchestra rehearsals."

** A Message from Facts About Herbalife: Like millions of others, Rosa thought that selling Herbalife products could help her achieve the American Dream and support her family. Instead, she lost her life savings - and nearly her daughter - from a pyramid scheme that preys on minority communities and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Learn about Herbalife's deceptive business practices at The American Dream Denied: Herbalife Victims Speak Out: **

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