Spitzer Patronage Begins With Ferrer?

A lonely Freddy Ferrer last Election Day. Photo: Getty Images


Despite Freddy Ferrer's vow to stay out of politics, the twice-failed mayoral candidate and former Bronx borough president might have a place in the House of Spitzer. But will Ferrer leave the lobbying-PR giant Fleischman-Hillard to run New York's Department of State?

Ferrer didn't return an e-mail, but those close to him insist he doesn't want the job, which entails registering corporations, recording trademarks, and regulating cemeteries, among other things. The gig pays $120,800 annually, according to recent filings. A Ferrer insider claims that after so many years in government, he wants to stay in the private sector. But senior officials in Spitzer's administration say Ferrer could be posturing.

"I think it's still live," David Paterson, the lieutenant governor elect, says of a possible Ferrer appointment as secretary.

But why woo perennial candidate Ferrer to be your top-ranking Latino? There's history here. Spitzer and Ferrer and Roberto Ramirez — the Bronx political dynamo who is Freddy's longtime political consigliere and business partner — go way back. Spitzer made an unusually early endorsement of Ferrer in his gaffe-ridden campaign to beat Mayor Bloomberg in 2005 — an endorsement many viewed as payback. In the last days to his razor-close win over Dennis Vacco in 1998, Ferrer rushed to Spitzer's side, appearing with him at press conferences and criticizing Vacco's use of the word bandito as insensitive to Latinos. In consequent races, Spitzer has also hired Ramirez's lobbying and consultancy firm, MirRam, for election work.

Officially, Spitzer's administration is mum. "Any talk of potential appointments is entirely premature," says spokeswoman Christine Anderson.

Geoffrey Gray