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POLITICO New York Playbook: DE BLASIO horse money examined -- AG probes BOE -- UBER, city maneuver on accessibility

04/21/2016 07:20 AM EDT

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

ANOTHER PROBE -- Money raised for NYC horse carriage ban examined -- WSJ's Rebecca O'Brien and Josh Dawsey: "Coordinated federal and state investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio's fundraising operations are examining efforts by a politically connected group to ban horse carriages in New York City, people familiar with the matter said. ... The offices of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. are considering, among other matters, whether fundraising efforts circumvented state election laws and whether donors were promised or given official benefits, people familiar with the matter said. ... The two donors behind the proposed horse-carriage ban, Wendy Neu and Steven Nislick, haven't been accused of any wrongdoing. ... Ms. Neu and Mr. Nislick gave more than $100,000 to the Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit that was run by the mayor's allies and supported Mr. de Blasio's policy and political agenda, records show. They also financed an independent campaign against former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a rival to Mr. de Blasio in the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary."

DONATION 'DIVERTED,' SAID CATSIMATIDIS -- Gave to county committee, at de Blasio's request -- POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias and Bill Mahoney: Not long before the 2014 election, a number of scattered county Democratic committees began receiving large checks from groups primarily based in New York City. Combined, the committees in Putnam, Ulster, Monroe and Nassau Counties brought in $304,600 from CWA District One in the fall before the election, $127,300 from 32BJ SEIU, $200,000 from 1199/SEIU, $120,000 from the New York Nurses Association and $100,000 from the United Federation of Teachers.

"When I was at the Al Smith dinner, de Blasio asked me for a donation. I didn't know what it was for. I'm thinking at the time, 'the mayor wants to get somebody elected up in that county,'" said Catsimatidis, who told POLITICO New York he had not been contacted or subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney's office. "Before I know it, somebody from the Senate Democrats is coming up to me and thanking me. The money got diverted," Catsimatidis said.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "No one was disenfranchised" and "What we did see was a concerted effort by some folks to apparently protest New York's closed primary process by showing up to vote when they weren't registered to vote. We tracked down dozens who say they were disenfranchised and as it turns out they weren't registered in the parties that they were trying to vote for."-- Michael Ryan, executive director of the NYC Board of Elections, via to Fox 5 NY: WATCH IT:

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Leave, or I'm gonna hit you! ... This job, this money is nothing to me." -- unnamed NYC BOE poll worker, threatening a credentialed journalist at a poll site in Brooklyn. via Gothamist's Christopher Robbins:

TABS -- Daily News: "Oil protect you, sire: Amid rage over his shielding of Saudis 9/11 lawsuits, Bam gets cozy with king" -- Post: "RIP' ROARING: Betrayed 'Live' host mad as Kel" -- El Diario, with a pic of de Blasio [translated': "We stop gentrification -- SEE THEM:

-- Hamodia: "Orthodox Areas in NYC Outliers on Primary Day" -- amNY: "SPRING REAL ESTATE PREVIEW" -- Metro: "TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA AMBASSADORS" -- Newsday: "TRANSPLANT PATIENT,, DRIVER, KILLED"

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 3-col., above the fold: "Sanders Confronts Trickier and Narrower Road" -- WSJNY, 4-col., above the fold: "Carriage Campaign Probed" -- SEE THEM:

MULGREW MUSCLE - POLITICO New York's Jimmy Vielkind: Thumping his chest after a special election on Long Island went his way, United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew promised his union will fight any candidate backed by charter school supporters in November's elections. Mulgrew delighted at Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky's victory over Chris McGrath, a Republican lawyer from Nassau County's north shore, whose campaign to succeed Dean Skelos in the State Senate was backed by nearly $1.3 million worth of ads from a super PAC formed by the pro-charter Students First NY. "If you want to work with us, we're fine. If you want to work with people who we know, in the end, want to destroy public education, we're on the other side. I have been very clear with that message with everyone in Albany," said Mulgrew, who mobilized UFT members for Kaminsky. "These elite rich folks are always trying to come in and buy the races, and we will be jumping in whenever they do it. It doesn't matter if you're a Republican or Democrat, if you go with them, we're jumping in."

STORYTELLER IN THE SPOTLIGHT -- Moth champ Adam Wade gets a cameo in HBO's "Girls,"-- New Yorker's Sarah Larson: "Wade started out as a comedian; he found his way to storytelling circuitously, after realizing, essentially, that he needed to be himself. That self is gentle, smart, humble, and weird, with dreams of love and fulfillment so fervent that you can hear them quavering in his voice. He grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire, and has an old-time New England accent. Sometimes when he's telling an emotional story, his voice breaks; sometimes you can hear him tear up. He tells stories about humiliation and heartache, about small but thrilling human connections and tiny victories that feel huge. The rise of nerd culture has no doubt helped him. Onstage, he seems to be the adolescent misfit within everyone's soul." [h/t Anna Sale]

EXAMINING THE VOTE -- SCHNEIDERMAN to investigate --WNYC's Brigid Bergin: "The New York State Attorney General's Office is launching an investigation into the New York City Board of Elections following widespread irregularities during Tuesday's presidential primary vote. The news follows a series of reports from WNYC about 126,000 voters who were purged from the voter rolls before yesterday's election."

-- Times' Vivian Yee: "Schneiderman's office said it had received more than 1,000 complaints from voters across the state, dwarfing the roughly 150 reports it received for the 2012 general election. Many people said they had tried to vote, only to be told that they were not registered - the most common complaint, according to Mr. Schneiderman's office. Among complaints from New York City, the largest chunk sprang from Brooklyn, where there were reports that the voter-information books in some polling places were missing multiple pages."

WILL THE REAL UNCLE SAM PLEASE STAND UP - Times' Sam Roberts: "Samuel Wilson, meet Isaac Mayo. Now, will the real Uncle Sam please stand up? A history professor in Nebraska tracing the origin of the popular personification of the United States government has fleshed out a reference to Uncle Sam that predates the traditional wisdom that the nickname was derived from Wilson, an upstate New York butcher who would stamp the meat he delivered to the military with the initials 'U.S.' during the War of 1812. That notion was popularized in 1830, in The New York Gazette and Daily Advertiser. Wilson's claim to the name was recently buttressed by Christopher K. Philippo, who is researching a book on cemeteries in Troy, N.Y.; he discovered a letter from the Rev. Robert Russell Booth, who presided over Wilson's funeral, and wrote that he 'often talked with him about the circumstances which led to the singular transfer of his popular name to the United States.'"

UBER BEAT - "Uber and de Blasio aides quietly push dueling accessible-taxi proposals," by Dana Rubinstein : "In discussions with taxi industry stakeholders, Uber has suggested that the city levy a small per-trip fee on'for-hire' vehicles, a classification that includes Uber. The money would go to a fund that the city would administer. Via that fund, the industry would offer sweeteners to bases and drivers to get them to deploy accessible vehicles. It's a cap-and-trade approach to accessible car service, one Uber argues would enable it to provide that service as needed, much as it now supplies vehicles with car-seats to customers with children. ... At the same time that Uber is developing an accessibility plan, Meera Joshi, Mayor de Blasio's taxi commissioner, has been formulating a proposal of her own, one that would require all black and livery car companies to ensure a percentage of their trips involve wheelchair accessible vehicles, even if those vehicles aren't actually picking up people in wheelchairs, according to industry sources."

ANNIE LEIBOVITZ pic -- "Queen photographed with youngest royals to mark 90th birthday," by The Guardian's Caroline Davies: "Family portrait shot by Annie Leibovitz shows first nonagenarian monarch surrounded by her five great-grandchildren and two youngest grandchildren."

FUTURE OF NEWS -- "AOL Inc. To Acquire Immersive Media Company & Virtual Reality Content Studio RYOT": "RYOT will join The Huffington Post, a leading global source of breaking news, opinion, entertainment and community, to deliver award-winning films, linear video, 360°, and VR content. RYOT will also dramatically enhance the content capabilities of Partner Studio by AOL, by providing cutting-edge, immersive solutions for its brand partners. ... RYOT shares The Huffington Post's editorial voice and content philosophy with its action-oriented, cause-driven journalism and provides immediate access to a VR production arm and Oscar-nominated documentary film expertise to complement The Huffington Post's video operations."

--BuzzFeed is launching their sixth overall, and first political podcast: "New episodes will launch every Thursday ... No One Knows Anything will be a major storytelling tool for, and capture the personality of, BuzzFeed Politics. There will be a rotating cast of BuzzFeed political reporters who will guest host alongside Evan, which allows us to tap into our experts who cover unique and diverse beats like Darren Sands who covers the Black Lives Matter movement, and Adrian Carrasquillo who heads up our Latino coverage." Subscribe page ...

--"NBC Nightly News Anchor Lester Holt Named 2016 NABJ Journalist of the Year": "The annual award recognizes a black journalist who has distinguished himself or herself with a body of work that has extraordinary depth, scope and significance to people in the African Diaspora."

HILLARYWATCH -- "Women will be on Hillary Clinton's vice president list," by The Boston Globe's Annie Linskey: "Clinton wants 'the best person to make the case to the American people,' her campaign chairman, John Podesta, told the Globe. 'We'll start with a broad list and then begin to narrow it. But there is no question that there will be women on that list,' he said, adding that staffers are still focused on clinching the primary. The development immediately injects liberal darling Senator Elizabeth Warren's name into the growing speculation about who Clinton will choose as her running mate now that she is almost certainly on track to become the nominee."

KATIE COURIC interviews ROBBY MOOK -- On whether the Bernie Sanders campaign had gone too far: "I think the Sanders campaign resorted to some pretty personal attacks, calling Hillary unqualified - some of the surrogates called her some unsavory names." ... On Hillary Clinton's love of hot sauce: "Well, all I can attest to is that she loves pepper, you know the hot peppers, and she just eats them straight - so I have seen her put hot sauce on a lot of things... It's a health thing, she's counseled me before that this is a very healthy thing to eat those peppers."

REAL ESTATE - "East New York rezoning clears City Council," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: "East New York - a section of Brooklyn that is home to some of the city's poorest residents, lowest-performing schools and highest crime rates - is poised to undergo sweeping changes as the de Blasio administration rezones a 190-block area to invite more residential and commercial development and other civic amenities. The City Council on Wednesday cleared the project by a 45-1 vote, paving the way for taller and larger buildings in exchange for more below-market-rate apartments. East New York is the first of 15 neighborhoods the de Blasio administration is planning to rezone in a broader effort to create 80,000 new units of low- to moderate-income housing and preserve another 120,000 by 2024. The mayor is also calling for 160,000 additional market-rate apartments. In pushing to rezone East New York just weeks after the council approved a policy to require low- to middle-income housing with all city rezonings, the mayor's team has sparked a citywide debate about whether gentrification of blighted areas is halted or hastened by government intervention."

-"Isaac Chetrit, Yadidi plan Midtown tower of up to 80 stories," by The Real Deal's Mark Maurer: "Investors Isaac Chetrit and Ray Yadidi are planning a mixed-use skyscraper of up to 80 stories in the Garment District, after closing Wednesday on the missing piece of an assemblage spanning 375,000 square feet, sources told The Real Deal. The block-long assemblage on Sixth Avenue between West 36th and 37th streets consists of two existing buildings and 235,000 square feet of adjacent air rights. Himmel + Meringoff Properties sold the air rights affiliated with the landmarked Haier Building at 1352-1362 Broadway, also known as 981-987 Sixth Avenue for an undisclosed price, sources said. The Haier Building itself is not part of the assemblage. Given the as-of-right zoning, sources said the most probable use of the property is a mix of residential, hotel and retail. Chetrit and Yadidi, who respectively run AB & Sons and Sioni Group with their families, have allocated a total of $280 million in investment. This includes the property and air rights acquisitions and pre-construction costs."

THE HOME TEAMS - POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Phillies 5, Mets 4: A Bourjos infield single won it in the eleventh.

Athletics 5, Yankees 2: The Yankees couldn't solve Kendall Graveman.

Panthers 2, Islanders 1: The series is now tied, 2-2.

The day ahead: The Athletics go for the sweep of the Yankees. The Penguins-Rangers play Game 4 at The Garden.

BIRTHDAYS: former State Senator Craig Johnson ... John Waldman, a former City Council staffer now doing community affairs for the city Department of Buildings ... Marco DeSena, policy analyst for Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign and adjunct professor at Baruch ... Joe Reubens, a partner at The Parkside Group ... John Reinish, a senior vice president at SKDKnickerbocker ... and Jada Yuan, contributing editor at New York magazine, snowboard enthusiast, Steve Nicks explainer ... Also: Queen Elizabeth, II and Iggy Pop.

CONCERT BREAK -- "AEG Closer to Seizing New York Concert Industry With Bowery Deal," by Times' Ben Sisario: "The booming concert industry, already dominated by two corporate powers, is getting even more consolidated. AEG Live, the second-largest company in the global concert business, is close to completing a deal to acquire a majority of The Bowery Presents, an independent promoter in New York ... The Bowery Presents puts on dozens of shows each month in clubs such as Terminal 5 and the Music Hall of Williamsburg in New York, as well as at major sites such as Madison Square Garden, where in September it will present six concerts by Adele. Concert industry executives said that the deal would effectively turn the New York market into a battleground between AEG and Live Nation Entertainment, the industry's biggest power."

#UpstateAmerica: The Polish mayor of Lackawanna abruptly shut down a bocce court because the old Italian guys who played there were arguing too much, and too loudly.

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

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