Category Archives: John Catsimatidis

Mayoral Forum: The Queens Co-ops, Condos & Counselors Edition (Updated x 2)



Tonight, the Presidents Co-op & Condo Council of Queens and the Queens County Bar Association co-sponsored a mayoral candidate forum.  Eight candidates attended, appearing before a crowd of 400-500 and answering questions posed by moderator Azi Paybarah.  Attendees included, in order of appearance: Sal Albanese, Joe Lhota, George McDonald, Anthony Weiner, Erick Salgado, Adolfo Carrion, Christine Quinn and John Catsimatidis.

Update #3 – Salgado re: Anthony Weiner & His Ideas:

Erick Salgado discusses Anthony Weiner’s adoption of Salgado’s idea, at least according to Salgado.

Update #2 – Weiner Addresses Audience “Audible Groans”:

As Anthony Weiner went to the podium at last night’s forum, a small wave of groans and discontent rumbled through the audience.  Here is Weiner’s reaction when asked about the audience response.

Update – Something Positive About My Rivals?  Ummm …:

Moderator Azi Paybarah asked all eight candidates a simple, but revealing question:  Can you say something positive, or something interesting that you’ve learned, about any one of your rivals?  The answers range from very warm and friendly to “all about me.”  Watch.

Weiner v. McDonald:
To start our coverage, we have a brief clip of Anthony Weiner and George McDonald crossing paths.  You may recall that Weiner and McDonald had a confrontation at an earlier forum.  McDonald has been highly, and vocally, critical of Weiner and his sexting.

Catsimatidis, Community Safety & Comebacks



John Catsimatidis held a press conference this afternoon to urge New York City Council members to not override Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of the Community Safety Act.  Catsimatidis was joined by several Republican former elected officials, including former governor George Pataki and former congressman Vito Fossella.

I asked Pataki how he feels about the return of his successor, Eliot Spitzer, to electoral politics.

I asked former congressman Vito Fossella, who resigned in his own sex scandal, for his reaction to the candidacy of Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner.

Republican Lovefest (Updated)



The three Republican mayoral candidates faced off in a debate hosted by WABC-TV, and co-sponsored by Noticias 41 Univision, the Daily News and the League of Women Voters.  John Catsimatidis, Joe Lhota and George McDonald agreed on many issues and had a civil, friction-free debate.  (Some prior debates and forums, including a debate broadcast on NY1 on July 10th, have featured more fraught interactions.)  The debate was held on Friday, August 10th and will be broadcast on Sunday August 12th.

We spoke with each of the candidates immediately after the debate.  (Full video after the jump.) Continue reading Republican Lovefest (Updated)

Catsimatidis & Cuomo



Mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis and Governor Andrew Cuomo have a long relationship, with Catsimatidis, his wife and his companies contributing more than $200,000 to Andrew Cuomo’s campaigns over the past 12 years.  Catsimatidis has asserted that a significant reason that he “would make a good mayor” is his “ability to call up and talk to the governor and come up with common sense solutions.”   As part of that argument, Catsimatidis has described being called upon by Governor Cuomo to assist in getting Republican votes in the U.S. Senate for the Hurricane Sandy relief bills (here and here).

Continue reading Catsimatidis & Cuomo

Republican Mayoral Tussle (Updated x 2)



This evening, NY1 hosted a Republican mayoral candidate debate.  NY1 graciously allowed us to watch the debate at their studio and to speak with the three candidates afterwards in the NY1 newsroom.  (Here is NY1’s coverage.)

Update #2 – JCats on JCats:

In this report, John Catsimatidis touts his dealings with elected officials of both parties as a significant reason to elect him as mayor.  He describes a meeting in December, 2012, with Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg in which they asked Catsimatidis to approach the Republican leadership in the U.S. Senate for eight votes in support of the then-pending Hurricane Sandy relief bills.  (On June 28th, we reported on similar comments by Catsimatidis, available here.)


Update – John & George:

John Catsimatidis and George McDonald displayed some personal friction at this evening’s debate.  We spoke with them about it afterwards.

Lhota on Democratic Voters

In our first report, we asked Joe Lhota why he thinks that Democratic voters would vote for him in the general election.  In the second part of our discussion he strongly rejects the idea that the last two mayors, both Republicans, were elected due to a sense of crisis among voters at the time which drove Democratic voters to abandon their party’s nominee.

Catsimatidis v. The Ocean



In this report, we look at a real estate development project of mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis.

Catsimatidis is working on building three waterfront residential towers, with some commercial space, on Surf Avenue between West 35th and West 37th Street in Coney Island.  From our review of public records, entities controlled by Catsimatidis purchased the property in 2008, for a purchase price of approximately $33.5 million.  The project has been winding it’s way through the City approval process, with an estimated start date in 2013.

Hurricane Sandy made the challenges of waterfront development acutely clear.  How will Catsimatidis’s project fare?  Watch.

Be sure to also watch our report on Arverne East, an oceanfront development in Rockaway, for a look at another post-Sandy approach to waterfront development in New York City.

Mayoral Forum: Sandy Recovery (Coney Island Edition)



On Thursday, approximately 20 groups from areas affected by Hurricane Sandy held a forum focused on recovery from Sandy and the future of New York City’s flood zone.

In this excerpt, John Catsimatidis describes being dispatched by Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg to ask the senate minority leader, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, to provide eight votes for the Sandy relief bills.

Catsimatidis Discusses “Investigations”



John Catsimatidis held a press conference this afternoon to exchange endorsements with several Queens Republican candidates for City Council.  I asked Catsimatidis for his thoughts on why all four current Republican members of the City Council have endorsed Joe Lhota, rather than Catsimatidis.  Catsimatidis responded by discussing “a few several investigations” into “certain situations going on where there were threats made on people losing their city jobs if they didn’t do certain things certain ways.”  When asked why he was privy to such investigations, Catsimatidis replied “maybe I testified”.

Background:  Two of the four current Republican City Council members, Dan Halloran and Eric Ulrich, are from Queens.  Halloran has been charged by the U.S. Attorney with taking a bribe from a Queens Democratic State Senator in exchange for helping that Democrat get on the Republican mayoral primary ballot.  Ulrich has been in a long-running Queens County Republican feud in which Ulrich and others are bitterly opposed to the Queens County Republican Chairman, Phil Ragusa.  Ragusa supports Catsimatidis for mayor.

Mayoral Forum: El Diario, Hispanic Federation & Hostos (Updated x 3)



Last night, El Diario, the Hispanic Federation and Hostos Community College hosted a mayoral forum with seven Democrats, two Republicans and one Independence Party candidate.  It was quite an evening.

Update #3:  Quinn v. de Blasio

In this excerpt, Christine Quinn and Bill de Blasio engage in a pointed discussion of their respective views of their accomplishments.

Update #2:  Weiner on his House Immigration Subcommittee Work

In this excerpt, Anthony Weiner is asked what he accomplished as a member of the House Subcommittee on Immigration.  He demonstrates his substantial speaking skills, giving a lengthy description of acting as “an advocate” and pledging to be “an advocate on immigration” just “as Mayor Bloomberg does on guns.” When pressed by the moderator on what he has to show from his time on that subcommittee, Weiner says that “every member of the Democratic caucus … didn’t get much done” during that time.  He does, however, assert that he “tilled the fields” and “fought really hard.”

Update:  O, Alma Mater, glorious …

In this brief excerpt, the candidates focus on their love for a particular high school.  Really.  Well worth watching.

In our initial report the candidates discuss the city’s solid waste disposal plan.  It’s a unique exchange in several ways.  First, more than any other forum or debate segment that I can recall, the candidates engage in a long and unusually involved discussion with each other.  Second, there are some clear personal frictions that emerge.  Finally, there are a few loopy moments.  All in all, this segment displays more candidate personalities more effectively than any other moment that I’ve seen so far in the campaign.

New York City Bar Association Candidate Forum (Updated)



Tonight the New York City Bar Association hosted a mayoral candidate forum.  The forum, moderated by NY1’s Errol Louis*, featured separate panels of four Republican and Independence Party candidates and four Democratic Party candidates.

This excerpt has the “Lightning Rounds” in which Errol Louis posed a series of yes/no questions to each panel.  He asked four questions of the Republican/Independence candidates and the same four, plus one additional question, to the Democratic candidates.  (It’s possible that I’ve missed a fifth question due to a recording or editing glitch, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.)  Among the notable answers, all eight candidates indicated that they are in favor of settling the Central Park Five case.

Update:  In this excerpt George McDonald criticizes Anthony Weiner and Vito Lopez, and laments the lack of voter participation as enabling improper conduct by elected officials.

*  This was the ninth mayoral forum of 2013 hosted by Errol Louis.  Be sure to watch our interview with Errol Louis discussing the enormous number of candidate forums and whether they are a productive exercise.

At the conclusion of the forum, we spoke with Bill de Blasio about civil liberties and the NYPD.  Watch it here.

NYCLASS Animal Rights Mayoral Candidate Forum (Updated x 3)



Today NYCLASS hosted a mayoral candidate forum, with Tom Allon moderating, focused on animal rights.  It was a lively forum, with both the candidates and the audience engaged and energetic.

We’ll have lots of coverage, but we’ll start you with this brief snippet of Dean and Jerry Sal Albanese and John Catsimatidis.

Update #3 – Carriage Horses:

Here is the full discussion around carriage horses.  Only Bill de Blasio calls for a full immediate ban, while the others express concerns around the economic impact on the drivers.  All, however, were ready, willing and able to criticize Christine Quinn for her impeding council action on this issue.

Update #2 – The Cat Man in the Lion’s Den:

John Catsimatidis, the “Cat Man” as he has dubbed himself, was the sole Republican candidate to attend the NYCLASS forum.  Here are two clips of the Cat Man; his opening statement and his answer to a question on the fate of horse-drawn carriages in midtown Manhattan.  We’ve selected these for two reasons:  First, there are a number of funny moments, some intentional, some not.  (“My kids were raised in Central Park” (not allowed in the house?) and, without evident humor or irony stating that “there’s no free rides” for the horses, make me laugh aloud.)  Second, watching a first-time candidate make his way through unfamiliar policy issues and governmental processes while trying to connect with voters is worth watching, both in these brief moments and in the broader campaign.

Opening Statement:

Horse-drawn Carriages:


Update #1 – Quinn in absentia:

Christine Quinn, despite not attending the forum, received significant attention.  She has a fraught relationship with NYCLASS and the organized animal rights community, as shown in these excerpts.

Republican Mayoral Candidates Discuss Sandy Recovery



At a mayoral candidate forum this morning, hosted by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and held at St. Francis College, three Republican candidates and one Independence candidate fielded questions from a number of borough Chambers of Commerce.  Jack Friedman of the Queens Chamber of Commerce posed a question concerning the ongoing Sandy recovery.

Continue reading Republican Mayoral Candidates Discuss Sandy Recovery