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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by Nuclear Matters: PREET's next move -- TRUMP-CRUZ-KASICH, by NY region -- CLINTON lead holds

04/13/2016 07:30 AM EDT

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

SOURCES: Preet probing Rivington land deal -- POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg and Colby Hamilton: U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara is looking into the de Blasio administration's lifting of a deed restriction on a Manhattan nursing home that is now slated to become luxury condos, several sources confirmed to POLITICO New York. The matter is already under investigation by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the city Department of Investigation and City Comptroller Scott Stringer. ... Karen Hinton, de Blasio's spokeswoman, said in an email, "We have no knowledge of this but will cooperate fully with any investigation." ... It is unclear whether anyone at DCAS ever informed anyone in City Hall about the deed transaction in real time. Hinton said she is unaware of anyone at City Hall being told."

-- Related: Preet's warning shots, from Common Cause gala last night: "We will keep looking hard at corruption in our legislative branch as we have been, but not just there, but in the executive branch, too - both in city and state government, ... [executive branches are] far from immune from a creeping, show-me-the-money culture that has been pervading New York for some time now ...[It would] be nice ... to have our elected leaders say, 'Stay tuned' - and for that to mean something. It would be nice to hear them say, 'Stay tuned for reform. Stay tuned for change. Stay tuned for greater transparency, and greater accountability ... Stay tuned as we finally hold the executive branch accountable.'" POLITICO New York's Colby Hamilton:

PREVIEWING THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY - POLITICO New York's Bill Mahoney: While Donald Trump has a commanding lead in the polls heading into the state's April 19 presidential primary, a plurality in New York doesn't guarantee a monopoly of the delegates awarded by the state. It is technically possible that one candidate could win the popular vote but have less representation in Cleveland than one of his opponents. Most Republican delegates in New York will be determined by the share of the votes candidates win in individual congressional districts. If a candidate wins a majority, he will get three out of three; if he wins a plurality, he'll receive two.

In order to get a sense of how the primary will play out, it thus makes sense to see where things stand in the state's different regions. Here's a look at which upstate counties most closely match the demographics of counties in other states that have backed Trump, why New York City might be an unexpected pitfall, and why the usually moderate Long Island electorate seems to be all-in for the race's most divisive candidate.

-- Trump has maintained his huge lead among likely Republican voters in New York State's upcoming Republican presidential primary, a Siena poll released today found, but Ohio Gov. John Kasich is gaining momentum. The poll found that Trump has the support of 50 percent of likely Republican voters, with Kasich trailing in second place at 27 percent, up from the 18 percent he received from registered Republicans in a Siena poll in March.

ROLE REVERSAL -- "Cruz's message to Wall Street: Help me," by Morning Money's Ben White: "This Monday, assorted bankers, traders and Wall Street lawyers will gather inside the neo-Georgian walls of the Harvard Club in midtown Manhattan to write big checks to an unlikely recipient: Ted Cruz. Cruz, who attended Harvard Law School, isn't one to trade too heavily on old school ties and friendships at the likes of Goldman Sachs, where his wife works. ... But now he's desperate: Cruz, who has already received $12 million in support from the financial industry, needs Wall Street money more than ever."

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing 61 percent of the state's carbon-free electricity, New York's nuclear energy plants are a necessary and valuable part of the state's energy mix, and deserve the support of state lawmakers for their role in providing New York with reliable electricity while protecting the environment. Learn more: **

AIR WARS -- "'Stolen Recovery': #NeverTrump PAC Launches Ad in New York": "The initial spot, entitled 'Stolen Recovery,' questions Donald Trump's use of 9/11 recovery funds that were intended for small businesses harmed by the terrorist attack."

TABS -- Post: "COP RAGE: Victimized for the truth" -- Daily News: "Why we choose Hil over Bernie" -- SEE THEM:

-- Hamodia: "Paul Ryan Rules Out Presidential Bid" -- Newsday: "NASSAU POWER PLAYER ARRESTED" -- amNY: "LIGHTS! CAMERA! TRIBEBCA!" -- Metro: "DOWNTOWN MOVIES" -- El Diario [translated]: Fighting the blues

-- NYT, 1-col., above the fold: "Losing Steam, Trump Blames G.O.P. System; Attacking Process After Being Outflanked" -- WSJNY, 2-col, above the fold: "U.S. Attorney Probes Land Deal" -- SEE THEM:

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I think the reporting on this has been very irresponsible. ... The idea that just because the cops work for the city of New York and a donor that gave to mayor de Blasio means he's been investigated is, I think, really irresponsible the way it's getting reported." -- Anthony Weiner on NY1:

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I did use the word p-y with respect to saying that people acted cowardly, but it was not referring to either Mina or the other woman." -- CCRB Chairman Richard Emery, via Post's Julia Marsh:

THE TALK OF WALL STREET -- Verizon strike? -- WNYC's Ilya Marritz: "More than 36,000 Verizon workers across the eastern United States, including 15,000 in New York State, may go on strike Wednesday morning unless they reach a last-minute deal with their employer. The workers have been without a contract for close to ten months, and labor negotiations have reportedly stalled. Bob Master of the Communications Workers of America said the union has big plans to take the dispute public. ... The company says it has already trained thousands of replacement workers to ensure service is not disrupted. Verizon claims the average worker's yearly pay and benefits package is worth more than $130,0000."

--"JPM to Support Summer Jobs in Convention Cities": "JPMorgan Chase will announce that their support for the conventions will focus on providing summer jobs to young people in Cleveland and Philadelphia. Aligned with the bank's focus on creating economic opportunity, they will provide a total $300,000 divided between Youth Opportunities Unlimited in Cleveland and the Philadelphia Youth Network to support about 80-90 summer jobs in each city. Cleveland will be announced this week. Both programs will include opportunities for young people to engage in service projects and to hear from elected and community leaders at each convention about the importance of voting and civic participation."

EAT BEAT -- Pepsi sign, landmarked -- amNY's Ivan Pereira: "The Pepsi Cola sign that greets visitors at the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge is now a permanent fixture in the New York.

The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the application to make the 90-year-old fixture the first free standing sign to be an official landmark Tuesday. Advocates pushed to for the designation for decades because of its place on the Long Island City skyline. Although the application was first submitted in 1988, it only received traction this year when the LPC looked at its backlog of requests."

TRANSPO BEAT -- New Metrocards coming soon -- POLITICO New York's Dana Rubinstein: Starting Wednesday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will launch a competition for a new fare payment system, one that allows for contactless payment, using devices like an iPhone. The MTA posted notification of the competition on its website this week and will make the request for proposal available to bidders on Wednesday. A spokesman for the MTA had no comment.

But an industry source forwarded notice of the upcoming competition to POLITICO New York on Tuesday. Blogger Second Avenue Sagas tweeted out more expansive documents Tuesday afternoon. The state authority has been exploring getting rid of the MetroCard system since at least 2006. In the meantime, transit systems in other cities have passed New York City by. In addition to allowing for the MTA to replace its antiquated MetroCard system with contactless payment, the technology will "establish the foundation" allowing Metro-North, the Long Island Rail Road, subway and bus riders to all use the same system, according to the posting.

DRAWING THE UPSTATE-DOWNSTATE LINE - Gannett's Jon Campbell: "Where is upstate New York? Voters can't seem to agree. A new poll from Public Policy Polling shows a deep divide among New York voters when it comes to the age-old debate of where the upstate New York boundary actually is. Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed said the best definition of upstate is anything north of Westchester County, according to the poll. But two other options were close behind: 25 percent said it's anything north of New York City, while 22 percent said anything north of Poughkeepsie. Just 7 percent said anything north of Poughkeepsie except for the Buffalo area, while 9 percent said 'something else' and 7 percent said they weren't sure. The upstate query is part of a broader Public Policy Polling poll examining New York's April 19 presidential primary, part of which was released Tuesday. The full results will be released Wednesday, according to the Raleigh-based polling company."

HOOSICK HOMEOWNERS STILL CAN'T DRINK WATER - POLITICO New York's Scott Waldman: More than 600 homeowners in Hoosick Falls still cannot drink the water. Over the past few months, the state has overseen the installation of 652 water treatment systems in homes with polluted wells, but just 16 of those systems have been cleared for use, state officials said Tuesday. As many as 100 could be working by the end of next week, officials said. State officials would only speak on background about the reason for the delay, acknowledging "bumps along the way" and said carbon for use in filters had to be shipped in from around the country because of the rapid rollout. The local water supply in the Rensselaer County village has been contaminated with the toxic chemical perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, which has been linked to a nearby factory that manufactures non-stick products. The state declared the factory, which is owned by Saint Gobain, a Superfund site after the federal Environmental Protection Agency warned residents late last year not to consume the water.

RETURN THE CASH -- Councilman will return donations from man at center of federal probe -- POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: Councilman Mark Levine is planning to return donations his campaign received from Jona Rechnitz, one of the two men reportedly at the center of a wide federal corruption probe that touches on Mayor Bill de Blasio's fundraising and the conduct of some of the NYPD's top officials.

"To avoid any hint of impropriety and out of an abundance of caution we are currently in the process of returning those donations," Levine told POLITICO New York. According to New York State Board of Elections data, Rechnitz and his wife donated $2,750 each to Levine in 2014. Levine represent parts of Northern Manhattan, including the Upper West Side, where the Rechnitzs reside. Levine said he met Rechnitz through his interactions at the New York Museum of Tolerance, where Rechnitz is a board member. Levine has worked with the museum through the City Council and the Jewish Caucus. "I met him at one or two public events through his role at the Museum of Tolerance, of which the council is a major supporter, but I have no relationship with him." According to Levine, neither Rechnitz nor his wife ever attended any of his fundraising events.


-- 2016: Why Long Island, "a quintessential American suburb and a power base for New York's Republicans," may help propel Trump to the nomination. NYT's Nicholas Confessore:

-- The Daily News endorsed Hillary Clinton.

-- The Observer, whose publisher Jared Kushner is Trump's son-in-law, endorsed Trump.

-- Out of order: A professor urges the city to shut down the criminal courts because "there are virtually no jury trials in the Criminal Court as defendants are pressured in myriad ways to plead guilty or resolve their cases in any way other than a trial." Prof. Steven Zeidman of CUNY School of Law, for Gotham Gazette:

-- Clinton lead steady at 13 points: Hillary Clinton's lead over Bernie Sanders is holding at 13 percent, a poll released Tuesday found, while Donald Trump is still winning an outright majority of likely Republican primary voters. The results from Quinnipiac University, which surveyed 550 Republicans and 860 Democrats between Wednesday and Monday, echo several recent polls, including two released Monday. Tuesday's survey showed Clinton winning support from 53 percent of voters, compared to 40 percent backing Bernie Sanders. It showed Trump with 55 percent of support, compared to 20 percent for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and 19 percent for Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The poll had a 4.2 percent margin of error for Republican likely primary voters and a 3.3 percent margin of error for Democratic likely primary voters. Here are the poll crosstabs: -- Dana Rubinstein

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union; John Gallagher, managing director at Mercury Public Affairs; Warren Gardiner, director of intergovernmental affairs and community relations at the NYC Department of Small Business Services; Pesach Osina of the NYC Comptroller's office; David Stone, EVP for communications and public affairs at NY's Columbia University; Allison Williams , actor on HBO's Girls and daughter of MSNBC's Brian Williams; and Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, who "at 33, drafted the Declaration of Independence."

MEDIA MORNING -- ONE HAPPY FAMILY: The New York Observer, which is owned by Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son in law, endorsed Trump in the New York Republican primary yesterday. "Donald Trump is the father-in-law of the Observer's publisher," the editorial reads. "That is not a reason to endorse him. Giving millions of disillusioned Americans a renewed sense of purpose and opportunity is." The endorsement, which rails against the media for not taking Trump seriously, comes a week after the Observer's news section changed its policy on how it would handle coverage of Trump. Read the editorial here:

-Observer editor Ken Kurson, who helped Kushner write a speech for Trump to deliver during an AIPAC conference, told Hadas Gold he wouldn't say who wrote the endorsement. "I write some editorials and other people write other ones, after the editorial board discusses the topics, which we do each week. It's not our policy to reveal who wrote which one."

-Speaking of endorsements, The New York Daily News endorsed Hillary Clinton, calling her "unsparingly clear-eyed about what's wrong with America." The Daily News, owned by longtime Clinton backer Mort Zuckerman, also took aim at Clinton's rival Bernie Sanders, whose interview with the Daily News's editorial board on Monday was met with widespread criticism.

-- "BuzzFeed missed 2015 revenue targets and slashes 2016 projections," by FT's Matthew Garrahan and Henry Mance: "BuzzFeed missed its revenue target for 2015 and has slashed its internal projections for 2016 by about half, raising questions about whether the online news and entertainment network can meet the sky-high valuations put on new media groups by investors. The company, known for its lists, irreverent content and fast-growing editorial operation, had projected about $250m in revenues for 2015 but generated less than $170m."

FUTURE OF NEWS -- "The New Yorker Débuts a New App for the iPhone, The New Yorker Today": "featuring editors' selections from all that The New Yorker publishes: blog posts written within the hour, stories from the current issue, classic articles from the archive, cartoons, and podcasts. The app, continually updated and showcasing the very best writers on the stories that matter, provides in-depth perspective on the events and ideas of the moment." Introductory post ... Animated video

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Marlins 2, Mets 1: Noah Syndergaard struck out 12 over seven innings, but the bats are still asleep in Flushing.

-- Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2: Jacoby Ellsbury broke a seventh-inning tie with an RBI single in the seventh.

-- Pacers 102, Knicks 90: The Knicks finish the season 32-50, which is a lot better than last season.

-- The day ahead: Mets-Marlins matinee at Citi Field. Yankees are in Toronto. The Nets host the Raptors. The Red Bulls play late out in San Jose.

#UpstateAmerica: Hollywood film crews will converge on Buffalo to shoot a movie about Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice.

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: New York's existing nuclear energy plants provide 61 percent of the state's carbon-free electricity and play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. Additional premature retirements of safe, reliable nuclear energy plants mean New Yorkers would pay more for electricity, the economy would suffer and we would face substantially higher carbon emissions.

New York has taken an essential step forward to address the premature closures of our nuclear energy plants. The proposed development of a Clean Energy Standard by the Public Service Commission would, for the first time, ensure that existing nuclear plants are valued for their carbon-free attributes.

We urge the state to include all of New York's existing nuclear energy plants, regardless of their geography in the state, in the proposed Clean Energy Standard. All nuclear energy facilities bring significant reliability and clean-air benefits to New York. Learn more: **

FOR MORE political and policy news from New York, check out Politico New York's home page:

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