With the governor taking a hard line on budget negotiations, no one would accuse Andrew Cuomo of being a wimp these days, least of all the real estate industry:
“If any of you know the history of the Cuomo family, it’s either my way or I’m going to screw you,” said Joseph Strasburg, head of the pro-landlord Rent Stabilization Association, at a townhall meeting last night. We learned of the comments via a heavily edited video from advocates of stabilized tenants, who were at the meeting.
Mr Strasburg continued: “He will do whatever is necessary for himself. If you’re in his way, he’ll crush you like his father did.”
Many in Big Real Estate remember Mario Cuomo as the governor who spearheaded the late ’80s tax changes that industry people say all but halted real estate trades. But thus far the outspoken opponent of rent stabilization has been largely diplomatic about the new governor, telling The Observer he strongly supports the younger Mr. Cuomo’s agenda of fiscal reform.
And we should note that the video is so heavily edited that the time of day appears to change, while the crowd remains the same.
But could the comments be taken out of context? Not according to Joseph Strasburg. “It is what it is,” he said when reached this afternoon by The Observer, adding he knew someone was filiming him. “He’s a very tough governor,” he told us. “Everybody has to understand he is the 800-pound guerilla.”
Mr. Strasburg also had some controversial comments about disgraced former Democratic Senator Pedro Espada (whose fall from grace is credited by some with ending Democratic hopes of strengthening rent regulation the last time around). He said:
The guy who saved this industry was Pedro Espada, and everybody makes fun of him because he’s in litigation, but if it wasn’t for him, this industry would have been hit on all those issues I just rattled off.
Espada a savior and Cuomo a bully? Indeed.