Smith Hints That It Was a Money Issue

ALBANY—Did the State Senate leadership deal collapse for $34,000?

Yesterday, members of the so-called Gang of Three accused State Senator Malcolm Smith of going back on a framework that would have split the chamber's top position into two posts – majority leader and president pro tempore – with Senator-elect Pedro Espada Jr. holding the majority leader spot and Smith serving as president pro tempore.

As we noted yesterday, there's very little in writing about what each does. But clearly spelled out is what stipend – or lulu – accompanies what position. And looking through the law, there is nothing specifically marked for the majority leader.

Smith was asked this morning what, specifically, caused negotiations to stall, and replied that "it was always clear that the majority leader post did not come with a lulu."

I put in a call to Espada, but couldn't immediately reach him. (I'm told he's visiting a sick family member.) Yesterday, Espada told the New York Times he was dismayed by reports that his position would be largely ceremonial.

Smith Hints That It Was a Money Issue