Robert Morgenthau and Mayor Bloomberg in ‘Barnyard’ Brawl!

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Bloomberg: mildly intimidating. Morgenthau: absolutely terrifying. Photo: Getty Images

The New York Times wouldn't reprint the word that Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau used for accusations from the mayor that the D.A.'s office inappropriately used two sets of books — including one that was not reviewed by the city comptroller's office — to manage their finances. The paper only murkily called it a "barnyard vulgarity." But the Post was all too pleased to tell us what Morgy said: "If you all weren't newspapers of record, I'd say these were chickenshit comments," he told a bunch of reporters.

According to the Times, Bloomberg and Morgenthau have always been polite in public, but have really never liked one another. But their private acrimony was unleashed when City Hall began pushing the D.A.'s office to reveal the accounting related to tens of millions of dollars accumulated through settlements, forfeitures, and grants — which the D.A. has traditionally kept in secret bank accounts where it can be tightly controlled and won't be scrutinized by the comptroller.

"The secret account complaint is reminiscent of Claude Rains’s famous statement in Casablanca that he was shocked — shocked — to learn what was going on at Rick’s place," said Morgenthau, reminding us that he was born in 1919. Let's just not start throwing any punches now, you two. Morgy's too old for a fistfight, and Bloomberg, you're definitely too rich.

Mayor and Morgenthau Battle Over Funds [NYT]
Manhattan DA blasts mayor's office [NYP]