Thursday, November 11, 2010

Voice warns Cuomo to steer clear of lobbyists, says closest firm to governor-elect is DKC (which works for Ratner)

Wayne Barrett's cover story in this week's Village Voice, headlined PECKING ORDER: Andrew Cuomo Goes to Albany, Where Lobbyists Are Waiting, offers a blunt warning to Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo to change the way he does business in Albany.

I wouldn't bet on it, but Barrett lays down the line:
If he doesn't take dramatic executive order action in his early days as governor to blunt the sway of lobbyists, they will chip away at his credibility, and voters will come to believe over time that all that has changed are the names of the ins and the outs. He can finance his next campaign without them. He can't restore public faith in state government with them.
Dan Klores firm has direct pipeline

Guess what: the firm with the most direct pipeline to the new governor is DKC, the firm that Forest City Ratner hired to massage its message. (This goes unmentioned in the Voice, which hasn't covered Atlantic Yards very closely.)

Writes Barrett:
A pecking order of the caste closest to Cuomo has already emerged.

John Marino, who chaired the state party for five years under Mario Cuomo and ran three of his campaigns, launched a government affairs unit at his public relations firm, Dan Klores Communications (DKC), last September. It's run by Allison Lee, the wife of Congressman Maurice Hinchey and a former aide to Andrew in his days at HUD under President Clinton. When Cuomo was nominated for governor at the state party convention this May, it was Marino who introduced him.

The founder of the firm, Dan Klores, is so close to Andrew that they used to throw joint birthday parties. Klores, who says he's sold his interest in the firm to Marino and other employees as part of a long-term "arrangement," spends most of his time now producing plays and movies, but he was on the phone often in 2003, talking to reporters about Andrew's breakup with Kerry Kennedy. He put $101,700 into Cuomo's 2006 campaign for attorney general and supplied his campaign press secretary and first communications director in the AG's office. Marino, Klores, Klores's wife, and Lee have given $42,250 to Cuomo since January 2008, and their government affairs attracted 10 clients the day they opened, and a total of 27 clients since.

Marino tells the Voice that he "ain't ever going to lobby the governor or anyone on the executive side," promising to restructure the firm in such a way "as to not share in the profits" of the government affairs unit. Klores said much the same, indicating that under the terms of his sale, "I don't have anything to gain" from the firm's future lobbying income. That still leaves Lee and others at the firm with their own ties to Cuomo, as well as the allure of the big names at the top of the letterhead.

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