Lieber Aide Ciampa Headed to Madison Square Garden

Felix Ciampa, chief of staff to Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Bob Lieber, is headed to work for the Dolans.

Mr. Ciampa will take a job as a senior vice president for government affairs at Madison Square Garden, a mayoral spokesman confirmed, a company that was recently spun off from Dolan family-owned Cablevision to become its own entity.

Mr. Ciampa became a key figure on the economic development and land-use fronts in the last two years of the second Bloomberg administration, coordinating often-contentious political efforts to win City Council approval of rezonings such as Coney Island, Willets Point and the West Side rail yards.

Between Mr. Ciampa and Mr. Lieber, the style of the administration has been noticably more conciliatory than that of the more forceful Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, who left in early 2008.

Mr. Ciampa also was on hand when the Bloomberg administration suffered an embarrassing defeat over a planned mall for the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, which was voted down after the developer and administration failed to meet a demand to guarantee wages of at least $10 an hour inside. Local Council members have since blamed the administration for putting out a compromise plan on the issue of living wage before later retracting it, saying a deal was near.

Mr. Ciampa will presumably work under former Giuliani Deputy Mayor Joe Lhota, previously a Cablevision executive who last month was named MSG’s executive vice president overseeing government relations. The Garden always seems to have some business before the city, and just a few years back it went to war with the Bloomberg administration over the mayor’s proposal to put a stadium on the West Side. There’s also a perennial movement to strip the facility of its unique property tax break (worth more than $10 annually), which was awarded in 1982 when the owners threatened to move the Knicks out of town.

ebrown@observer.com