Comptroller Scuttlebutt


Azi called in this morning from San Francisco, where he is visiting his brother. That kind of surprised me: I’d kind of been going on the assumption that Azi sprang fully formed, Athena-style, from the head of Ben Smith, and the existence of a brother would seem to suggest otherwise. But anyway, Azi is still collecting news. The kid is incorrigible–ed.

I’ve been hearing chatter that Bill Mulrow has fallen out of contention for the appointment as state comptroller, an office that opened up, of course, when Alan Hevesi resigned last week. No definitive word on what’s diminished Mulrow’s chances, although some gremlins have been trying to mount a whispering campaign about his connection to Excelsior Racing Associates, the group that is bidding to operate the state horse racing franchise. No one’s accused Mulrow of anything untoward, but he is essentially acting as a lobbyist for Excelsior, and wearing the scarlet “L” has suddenly become something of a political problem in Albany. (Though it didn’t hurt Eliot Spitzer’s secretary of state designee.)

Meanwhile, the candidacy of Great Neck Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli received a boost over the weekend from the hometown newspaper, Newsday, which gave him a strong editorial page endorsement. “Although Spitzer is said to prefer someone with minimal ties to Albany,” the paper noted:

DiNapoli’s record of transcending the corrupt and partisan culture of dysfunction makes him an especially good choice to be the fiscal watchdog. For his unassuming style and superb accomplishments, for his integrity, intelligence and bipartisanship, DiNapoli is respected inside and outside Albany. That he is not from New York City, where Hevesi and the new statewide officials reside, is another plus.

Really, we only mention that in order to justify republishing the above Newsday editorial cartoon, which portrayed DiNapoli as a buffed-up Mr. Clean.

UPDATE: Howard Wolfson, who is working as a spokesman for Mulrow, writes to say: “Mulrow is not ‘essentially a lobbyist’ as you wrote. He is part of the group bidding for NYRA.” In writing the item, the Politicker referred to recent Daily News story that said “Mulrow has worked … as a lobbyist for Excelsior Racing Associates.” Any inaccuracy was unintended, and the Observer would of course welcome any additional clarifying information about Mulrow’s role within Excelsior.

Azi Paybarah Comptroller Scuttlebutt