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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by Americare: GOP DONOR on the lam -- BROOKLYN developers bend tax-break terms -- DE BLASIO dismisses critical 'hype'

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

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THE CURIOUS CASE OF A TOP GOP DONOR-POLITICO New York's Bill Mahoney: An investor who spent a year in China on the lam from the Southern District of New York became one of the New York State Republican Party's largest donors weeks after he settled with the federal government. According to a federal complaint , Luis Chang announced a $750 million cash tender offer for the Allied Nevada Gold Corporation in Jan. 2014. This offer came from China Gold Stone Mining Development Limited, a company which Chang claimed owned three mines and was worth $15 billion. The Securities and Exchange Commission, however, suggested it might not actually exist, saying that nobody at Allied Nevada - "a company in the gold mining industry - had heard of, or could find information about, China Gold."

Chang "fled to China" when the S.E.C. filed a complaint alleging he created a false bid to drive up his own hidden shares in Allied Nevada. He settled for $5.9 million in May, and gave the State G.O.P. $100,000 six weeks later.

BUILDINGS FLOUT TAX RULES -- Times' Mireya Navarro: "Developers of nearly 200 small buildings in New York City have flouted the terms of tax breaks they received by failing to place their apartments on the rent-stabilization rolls, state and city officials said. In letters that went out Tuesday, officials from three agencies told the owners to register their units as rent-stabilized or risk a range of penalties, including being required to return the value of their tax incentives. The action affects 2,472 apartments in 194 buildings scattered across the city, but mostly in Brooklyn."

OFFICE BOOM-"New York City office construction at 25-year high," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: "Office construction in New York City is at its highest level in a quarter-century, thanks to a building boom in Manhattan, increasing private-sector employment and continually low interest rates, an analysis from the New York Building Congress shows. The report by the construction trade organization indicates that by the end of next year, 9.7 million square feet of new office space will have been constructed in 2015 and 2016 in 19 buildings across Manhattan."

COSTUMED CHAOS, NOT JUST IN TIMES SQUARE -- Battery Park, Coney Island -- News' Erin Durkin: "They're spreading - like a plague. The annoying costumed characters who prey on tourists in Times Square are moving into other parts of the city - and taking their aggressive panhandling tactics with them. Hustlers dressed up as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Spider-Man and Luigi from Super Mario Brothers have been shaking down tourists in the Battery and sightseers disembarking the ferries from Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

-- "They've also invaded Coney Island. 'The costumed characters are getting very aggressive,' City Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn) said. ... 'This is an issue that really demands attention citywide.'"

REPORT WARNS OF UBER IMPACT ON MTA -- POLITICO New York's Dana Rubinstein: Add Uber to the myriad obstacles facing the agency that runs New York City's subways and buses. If the San Francisco-based car hail company with the more than $50 billion valuation continues its swift growth in New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority might soon find one of its funding sources a bit less reliable, according to the Citizens Budget Commission.

In recent years, Uber's black cars have become a dominant force on city streets, while yellow taxi trips have begun to wane. Because yellow taxi riders must pay a 50-cent, MTA-supporting surcharge on every trip, "if yellow cab trips decrease, MTA revenues will decrease as well," said Maria Doulis, vice president of the commission, which on Wednesday will release a report detailing the taxi revolution's fiscal implications for the MTA. An advance copy provided to POLITICO New York warns of a coming "erosion" in MTA revenue, something the report says should be of particular concern due to the MTA's already chronic funding gaps.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Who was mayor during time when NYC homeless numbered 25,000 in 2002 and jumped to 53,000 by 2013. Not @BilldeBlasio" -- Tweet from de Blasio spokeswoman Karen Hinton:

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We're on the verge of crossing the Rubicon and instead of being a joke, with Archie Bunker and aluminum siding, we're actually becoming a fascinating place to visit," -- Rob MacKay, director of public relations, marketing and tourism for the Queens Economic Development Corporation, via the Times:

TABS -- Post: "A LOAD OF BULL: Stocks soar - then collapse" -- News: "ASSAULT IN BATTERY: Minnie and Liberty in downtown brawl" -- amNY: "Exclusive: HOPE FOR HOMELESS ON SUBWAYS: Program has found housing for hundreds; Panhandling, peddling arrests plummet" -- Newsday: "NIFA to Nassau: DEFICITS COULD GROW 'DIRE'" -- El Diario [translated]: Labor sweep

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 2-col. above the fold: "Stocks Deepen Their Slide After a Rebound Collapses: Wildest Market Swings Since Last Crisis but U.S. Economy Is Chugging Along" -- WSJNY, 5-col. below the fold: "Democratic Lawmakers Face Dilemma on Iran Nuclear Agreement"

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#PatakiWatch: Pataki said on Morning Joe that he is "not optimistic" that Bill de Blasio will 'come to his senses' and act on rising homelessness.

CAPITOL MOVES: George Haggerty , deputy secretary for financial services, confirmed in an email to POLITICO New York that he will be leaving in the weeks ahead. A person familiar with the departure said his portfolio will be temporarily transferred to Brendan Fitzgerald, an assistant working on economic development. Also on Tuesday, American Airlines announced that it was hiring Darryl Towns-a former member of the State Assembly who ran the state's housing department-as regional director of government affairs.

EVERYONE'S APPROVED-POLITICO New York's Will Brunelle: Empire State Development has yet to reject a company for membership into the state's Start-Up NY program. In June, POLITICO New York filed a Freedom of Information Law request seeking all applications that had been rejected for membership into the program. ESD responded that there had been none. That means the 128 companies participating in the program - which allows businesses to operate tax-free for 10 years on or near college campuses - are the only ones that submitted full applications for approval.

MOMENTUM TO PRIVATIZE NYRA-Albany Business Review's Robin Cooper: "A group of bankers, politicians, horse breeders and real estate brokers is gaining momentum as they push Gov. Andrew Cuomo to re-privatize three New York thoroughbred tracks. 'It's probably our No. 1 challenge,' said Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. Shimkus and Charles Wait, CEO of Adirondack Trust Co., are part of the Concerned Citizens of Saratoga, a community group that has been working over the past few months to get state lawmakers' attention because they fear that the state is jeopardizing the horse racing industry. Over the past month, the group has met with Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Republican, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, to get their help pushing the Cuomo to put an end to the state's control of the New York Racing Association."

NOT BUYING THE HYPE -- De Blasio says voters not phased by media coverage -- POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias: Tuesday's call-in to the hip hop radio station HOT 97 is de Blasio's eighth since taking office in January 2014, and it comes after weeks of terrible news cycles for the mayor, from his handling of car-hail company Uber to his ongoing fight with Governor Andrew Cuomo, missteps that have fueled rumors of a number of potential challengers in 2017, when he seeks re-election.

-- D.J. Ebro Darden, the host ... said there were "factors" conspiring against the mayor to keep him from getting re-elected in 2017. "So Mayor de Blasio, there are factors, and I'm going to get real inside baseball political with you while I have you, because I'm watching the press come out against you, you know, and every day it seems like 'Mayor de Blasio did this, Mayor de Blasio did that.' "I appreciate what you're saying and I think there's a lot of truth there," de Blasio replied, before citing lower rates of stop-and-frisk and a continued low crime rate during his mayoralty. Those achievements, he argued, would ultimately outweigh what Darden referred to as the "propaganda machine." "I think people are smart,' de Blasio said. 'I don't think they'll buy the hype."

-- Hitting the airwaves: The radio appearance is de Blasio's second in a week, as his administration tries to put the summer of unflattering coverage behind him and focus on achievements that may have gotten less notice, like the administration's plans for new financing for affordable housing. Similarly, last week, de Blasio called in to WNYC to tout his progress on affordable housing and to remind voters of his universal pre-kindergarten program.

RELATED -- MSNBC's Joe Scarborough criticized de Blasio homeless policies, calling it "misguided liberalism at its worst." He also said, "I wonder how long New York City is going to put up with Bill de Blasio." Scarborough dismissed City Hall's explanation that the rise in street homeless was a result of cuts made by the Bloomberg administration. "That's just a lie," Scarborough said. MSNBC:

-- After George Pataki criticized de Blasio during an appearance on MSNBC, an NYPD spokesman tweeted "crime in New York City is down over 4 percent year to date. Period."

FUNDING ART -- POLITICO New York's Conor Skelding: Arts organizations in Manhattan get by far the most funding from the city's Cultural Development Fund each year, followed by groups in Brooklyn, according to an Independent Budget Office report released Tuesday. Manhattan organizations received 'just under $20 million' in 2015, according to the report. Those in Brooklyn received $6.5 million. The fund issued a total of $33.2 million in grants in 2015. Individual grants averaged $37,340. But Manhattan's share of the total grants has declined slightly since the fund was restructured in 2009. In that year, Manhattan organizations took 63.7 percent, but in 2015, they took 60.1 percent.

THE KELLY TAKE - former police commissioner on police safety and media coverage -- POLITICO New York's Azi Paybarah: Former New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly said in a television interview Tuesday morning that the number of law enforcement officials killed last year was "up 24 percent" from 2013 and indicated that media coverage, in part, has been a factor. Appearing on CNN's This Morning, host Chris Cuomo asked Kelly whether the increase was "a reflection of media coverage ... in skewed fashion," similar to how critics said recent events in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, were covered.

-- "I think possibly. I think we have to throw that into the equation," Kelly said. "We saw two New York City police officers assassinated sitting in their radio car, which was a direct result of some of the coverage that went on," of police abuse cases, Kelly said, referencing last December's killings of Rafael Ramos and WenJian Liu by a man who claimed he was getting revenge for Eric Garner and other police abuse victims.

HOW THEY SPEND IT -- "Joan Rivers' $28m NYC penthouse was bought by Muhammad bin Fahd who is 'ripping it to shreds' as neighbors stand by in shock," by The Daily Mail's Heidi Parker: "He is having the penthouse completely renovated by top designers ... The Upper East Side unit is 5,100 square feet with four bedrooms ... The Saudi Arabian royal has also asked that a private elevator be installed."

REAL ESTATE-LANDLORDS ON WATCH-"Nearly 200 Buildings in New York City Flouted Tax Rules, Officials Say," by Times' Mireya Navarro: "Developers of nearly 200 small buildings in New York City have flouted the terms of tax breaks they received by failing to place their apartments on the rent-stabilization rolls, state and city officials said. In letters that went out Tuesday, officials from three agencies told the owners to register their units as rent-stabilized or risk a range of penalties, including being required to return the value of their tax incentives. The action affects 2,472 apartments in 194 buildings scattered across the city, but mostly in Brooklyn."

CONSTRUCTION DEATH-"Worker dies in fall down elevator shaft at Manhattan construction site," by POLITICO New York's Conor Skelding and Sally Goldenberg: "A construction worker fell down an elevator shaft to his death Tuesday afternoon at a Midtown Manhattan site where a hotel is being built. Police found a 30-year-old man lying at the bottom of the elevator shaft at 577 Ninth Ave., according to published reports. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name has not yet been released, and an investigation is ongoing. The city served a full stop-work order after he fell at 12:58 p.m., according to the Department of Buildings website."

MARKET WATCH-"Real estate firms bloodied in stock market tumble," by Real Deal's Rey Mashayekhi: "From commercial brokerages to real estate investment trusts, it was hard to find a publicly-traded real estate firm that didn't take a beating on one of the most volatile days in the stock market's history. ... The city's major REITs were not exempt from that decline, with SL Green Realty's stock falling 5.7 percent to close at $105.25 per share and Vornado Realty Trust slipping 5.1 percent to $87.43. Boston Properties saw its share price drop 5.3 percent to close at $112.33 per share, while residential REITs like AvalonBay ($165.55 per share, -4.6 percent) and Equity Residential ($70.55, -5.2 percent) experienced declines of their own."

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Mets 6, Phillies 5: A two-run single by Michael Cuddyer broke a 4-4 tie and the Mets received a four-out save from Jeurys Familia. The Mets have won seven straight against the Phillies, and lead the Nationals by 5.5 games.

-- Astros 15, Yankees 1: Infielder Brendan Ryan's two scoreless innings on the mound came far, far too late.

-- The day ahead: Mets play in Philadelphia. Yankees host the Astros for a matinee. Red Bulls are in Chicago.

#UpstateAmerica: An artist who built a stone castle in Altamont is now renting it for weddings.

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As an industry leader, Americare offers services in all five boroughs of New York City, Nassau and Suffolk counties in Long Island, and Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster counties in the Hudson Valley. Visit our website to find out how Americare can help your family: **

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