Would-be governor and sometime Spitzer-stalker Tom Suozzi lashed his rival earlier today for his “hypocritical stance” on the controversial Turning Stone Casino in Verona New York — and he raises some rather bold questions:
Did Eliot Spitzer, fearless crusader against Wall Street bad boys and white shoe scam-mongers, decide not to go after the upstate gambling den because one of his very generous donors is a lobbyist for the casino’s owner, the Oneida nation? Or did he simply do some election-season math and decide that trying to shut down a large upstate employer wasn’t such a wise idea while running for governor?
The way Suozzi lays it out, Spitzer’s initial stance, as of May at least, was that he would consider taking legal steps to shutter the casino (the compact that allows the casino to operate is apparently invalid, and the land on which it operates is not allegedly Oneida land). Then, in June, Spitzer said, “nobody is going to immediately move to close a business that is…employing thousands of people.” Suozzi also notes that the Oneida Nation lobbyist, Pat Lynch, has donated $49,500 to Spitzer’s campaign and pledged to raise a hefty $235,000.
“Apparently, he was for the law before he was against it,” Suozzi said, in a faint echo of George Bush’s attacks on John Kerry in 2004.
When asked about the Lynch connection, Spitzer (and former Kerry) spokesperson Christine Anderson said simply, “It’s absurd to suggest a conflict.”
As for the broader suggestion made by Suozzi — that Spitzer should still be trying to shut down the casino — Anderson responded: “If the license for a power plan lapses, you don’t immediately shut it down and cut off power to thousands of homes. Instead you move to re-license the facility. So rather than political grandstanding, you find a constructive solution that preserves jobs and ensures that business operate on a level playing field.”
– Lizzy Ratner