It’s not yet clear what Mayor de Blasio’s one city might look like. But at times it seems as if he’s traded Bloomberg’s banker favoritism for another kind of exceptionalism in his dealings with the Rev. Al Sharpton.
In early April a Smoking Gun report revealed new details about Sharpton’s collaboration with the FBI. In the 1980s Sharpton was a confidential informant who met with the Gambino crime family several times to record their conversations on behalf of law enforcement. According to Sharpton, this was a selfless act of civic duty, but the report counters that the FBI had him on a potential drug charge, and flipped him in return for his freedom.
So it was odd to see Mayor de Blasio stick up for Sharpton’s version of events: “I’m very proud to be his friend. I think he has done a lot of good for the City of New York and this country…. He was asked by the F.B.I. to support their efforts and he agreed to help, and that’s what a citizen should do.” To suggest that Sharpton did anything other than act in his own self-interest is as absurd as Bloomberg’s defense of Jamie Dimon, who took a taxpayer bailout and then got a bonus... As several former prosecutors explained on background, Good Samaritans cannot simply pick up the phone and volunteer to act as agents of the police....
His history with the FBI aside, Sharpton isn’t exactly a pillar of sacrifice and virtue.Sharpton, it should be remembered, has been a vigorous cheerleader for Atlantic Yards, and a recipient of Forest City Ratner's largesse.