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Alan Hevesi

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Comptrolling Chauffeurs? Solid

Remember when the Hevesi scandal seemed somehow important but just not that exciting — i.e., yesterday? Turns out the story lacked one key ingredient: Hollywood star power. Voilà! At issue now is not only the comptroller's providing a chauffeur for his ailing wife but also his top aide's providing a chauffeur for ailing Mod Squad star Peggy Lipton. This, we believe, is what Freud identified as "substitution," one of the main devices of dream logic. Today's Post quotes an Albany source spilling the beans about Jack Chartier, Hevesi's chief of staff, and his apparent friendship (or infatuation) with Lipton. The actress, like Hevesi's wife, was unwell at the time — she was suffering from colon cancer, in fact — but the taxpayer-funded limo service extended far beyond chemotherapy to shopping trips, hairdresser visits, and airport runs. Hevesi, for his part, isn't doing himself any favors by saying it was "logical" for Chartier to lend Lipton a hand. Subpoenas are already on their way. We can't wait to see whom we'll next learn they were chauffeuring. Hevesi Aide Eyed by Fraud Squad [NYP]

In a Change of Roles, Hevesi Picks on Pataki. But Why?

George Pataki wants to make the most of his remaining tenure in Albany. And now the state comptroller — that would be our old pal Alan Hevesi — is accusing him of trying to push through, as the gate closes on his governorship, a number of stalled initiatives that will result in billions added to the state's debt. Financially speaking, New York State is a pretty deep shade of red as it is — there's $3,515 of Empire State debt for every adult resident, compared to $707 in Texas. So maybe this comptroller dude has a point about adding even more. But the problem, of course, is who knows? Is Hevesi the Comptroller ringing the bell on Pataki the Governor's fiscal irresponsibility (you know, like a comptroller is there for)? Or is Hevesi the Dude Who's the Target of Like Three Investigations just lashing out at Pataki the Guy Who Ordered One of Them? Which makes us realize: Yeah, this guy's toast. Hevesi Says Pataki Pushing Billions of New Debt in Final Months [amNY]

The Enemy of My Hevesi Is My Friend

We're almost beginning to feel bad for Alan Hevesi, who's clearly about to get dragged over some serious coals in the wake of a misdemeanor so bland it didn't even cost him a reelection. First the governor-to-be Eliot Spitzer withdraws his support and (in his current capacity as the attorney general) launches a probe into Hevesi's wife-chauffeuring ways. Now, governor-not-much-longer-to-be George Pataki is matching Spitzer in the pile-on, unilaterally granting his own investigator subpoena power. The move, which allows the special counsel to collar witnesses and drag them to court if there's ever a trial, is a setup for a State Senate removal proceeding — a rare procedure that will likely end up arranging Hevesi's eviction from Albany. It's also a clear signal to all state authorities to cooperate with the investigation. That said, the trial is unlikely to start this year, because then it would only affect Hevesi's current term. But that's okay: Don't forget that Spitzer's AG investigation is still ongoing, too. Isn't it nice when the incoming and outgoing administrations can agree on something? Hevesi Inquiry Expected to Get Added Power [NYT]

Hevesi Looking for New Car, Job

• Reelected or not, Alan Hevesi may be on his way out, and soon: The Times reports that governor-elect Eliot Spitzer will most likely be asking the State Senate to remove the wife-chauffeuring comptroller. Spitzer then gets to hand-pick and name his ex-ally's successor. [NYT] • At least Hevesi reimbursed the state for the misused 88 grand. It's less clear how we get back the $1.3 million NYPD spent fighting bicycles — that's right, bicycles. That's how much money the recent crackdown on the annual Critical Mass bike ride cost, according to an economist who tracks cops' expenditures. [Streetsblog] • Lest you think the police are only battling hippies on bikes, the NYPD issued a somewhat bizarre, 2002-style scare statement telling business owners to be "on the lookout" for female jihadists who can "hide explosives by faking pregnancy or sweet-talk their way past security officers." Finally, a glorious merging of xenophobia and misogyny. Better check if their breasts are real, too! [NYDN] • In a lurid Post front-pager, a Brooklyn man caught a cemetery caretaker urinating into a vase on his grandmother's grave and got into a scuffle with him. The Post then proceeds to piss puns all over story, including "'Relief' Grief" and "Mourner Pee-ved." [NYP] • The rival Daily News, meanwhile, does an impressive job smearing Rupert Murdoch — and by extension the Post — with Nicole Brown Simpson's blood; at least four indignant items are devoted to the Fox TV special and HarperCollins book wherein O.J. flippantly what-ifs the murders. [NYDN]

Alan Hevesi, and Other Car Wrecks

• So after all that outraged wife-chauffeuring tabloid ink, Alan Hevesi handily won reelection, 57 percent to 39 percent. Anyone want to bring up the scandal now? Didn't think so. "You can make the case that the public has spoken," says Mayor Bloomberg. [NYDN] • A 5-year-old Brooklyn boy is dead after a ruthless hit-and-run. An SUV lurched onto the Flatbush sidewalk, struck a family of four and continued on — until shocked drivers in other cars nearby gave chase and blocked its way. And another errant Brooklyn SUV collided with, of all things, an ambulance this morning, injuring at least five people. The ambulance's driver had to be cut out of the wreckage. [NYP, WNBC] • The City Council met to discuss an urgent topic: raising its own members' salaries 25 percent. Surprisingly, almost everyone's in favor. The current base salary for the part-time job is $90,000. [amNY] • Remember the long, hysterically pitched discussion of whether cell-phone service in NYC subways would be a good or a bad thing? MTA doesn't. Four companies submitted competitive bids to retrofit the city's trains with cell-phone transmitters back in January; ten months later, the Authority still hasn't made a decision. [NYT] • And Christie's cleared $491 million in one night, almost doubling the record for an art auction. It could have been even more, but the house ended up withdrawing the Picasso, on whose convoluted origins (Mendelssohn, Nazis, Andrew Lloyd Webber) we reported, at the last moment. Still, some vigorous paddle work there. [NYT]

Everything Is Beautiful; It's Morning in America

• While bleary-eyed Democrats are gloating like Posties on circ day, let's go over the entirely unsurprising results of local races. Hillary made quick work of John Spencer (Blues Explosion! Get it?), Spitzer is your new and already boring governor, Cuomo crushed Pirro, and Alan Hevesi is back, uh, behind the wheel. [NYT, NYDN, NYP] • The suspect is talking, and more lurid and ultimately depressing details of the Adrienne Shelly murder are emerging. Nineteen-year-old illegal immigrant Diego Pillco says he strangled the actress with a sheet after she called him a "son of a bitch," because he took the insult literally. [NYP] • The Transit Authority is installing digital cameras on 450 city buses — and up to seven cameras per bus. We're not sure how to feel about this one, and the manufacturers are not helping much by saying things like "The bus is always recording, everywhere, all of the time." [NYDN] • The city is mulling the Lower East Side rezoning proposal that would put the kibosh on the future skyscrapers in the neighborhood. The Department of Planning says it wants new buildings capped at 80 feet (about eight stories); activists want the bar lowered to 60. No word on color restrictions. [amNY] • And finally, we'll just slavishly repeat the headline here: "Woman Hurt In 'Shake-It-Like-Shakira' Contest Sues NYC Bar." Because, really, what can be added to that? Only a lame joke about how hips make good witnesses (they don't lie). But we're above that. [WNBC]

Not Sure You Can Bring Yourself to Vote for Alan Hevesi?

You're a Democrat, like virtually everyone else in the city, and so you assumed you'd be voting for Alan Hevesi. But now you're not sure you can, now that you know the state's top accountant was spending public money to chauffeur his wife. But, at the same time, can you bring yourself to vote for this other guy, Chris Callaghan? Who is he? Is he competent, or just the candidate who didn't break the law? And what if you do hold your nose and pull the Hevesi lever today, will that ensure, even if he's later removed from office, that at least some other Democrat gets the gig?

Betsy Gotbaum Drove Mrs. Hevesi, Too!

Well, okay, the city's public advocate didn't actually drive Al's ailing wife anywhere. But if we accept the phrase as a handy euphemism for using government resources for private ends — e.g., "John Sununu totally drove Mrs. Hevesi to that round of golf" — then Betsy's chauffeuring the old lady, too. True, it's only for $1,900 — a far cry from the $80,000 and change Alan reimbursed — but it shows that pols everywhere are getting nervous. Jon Dolan had more at Early & Often. Is Betsy the New Al? [Early and Often]

They're All Out of Comptroll!

Alan Hevesi's 35-year career in New York politics is, as we all know, melting down (hitting a pothole? getting pulled over? stalling out? various other automotive metaphors?) over revelations he used a state employee to ferry his sick wife around the state. But here's the thing: Maybe what he did ain't actually so bad. According to the new Village Voice such droits de politician are more or less par for the course across in Albany. Astonished? Us either. Early and Often's Jon Dolan lays out all the dirty details. Everyone's a Passenger in New York Politics [Early and Often]

Weekend at Alan's

It just keeps getting harder to be Alan Hevesi. There's the sick wife, there's the overzealous chauffeuring, there's the Albany D.A.'s investigation, there's the potential impeachment proceeding, and there's Eliot Spitzer's withdrawn endorsement. And that's all only what we knew about last week. Over the weekend, it got so much worse: Turns out he had an oddly enormous — and expensive — security detail. Turns out his aide used government cars to try to impress a chick. Turns out he was uninvited from the Dems' Election Night party next week. And turns out maybe he was having an affair. Too much to make sense of? At Early and Often, Jon Dolan explains it all. How Was Your Weekend, Al? [Early and Often]

Political Endorsements Get Out of Comptroll!

Yes, we all know Alan Hevesi screwed up big-time by using a state employee to chauffer his perennially "ailing" wife. But the problem is that his GOP challenger is woefully unqualified. What to do? Today's Times says go with the unimpressive other guy; today's Daily News says stick with Hevesi. And, on Early and Often, Jon Dolan suggests we all stick with the News. Why? Dolan explains, both early and often. Early and Often Endorses the 'Daily News' [Early and Often]

Alan Alone

• In an all-too-logical development, gubernatorial shoo-in Eliot Spitzer is set to withdraw his support of Alan Hevesi, the subject of yesterday's scathing 26-page Ethics Commission report. The question at this point is not Hevesi's survival — he's done — but whether he can nick Spitzer on the way down. [Newsday] • You didn't expect an election involving Roger Toussaint to ease down a civil, sportsmanlike high road, did you? If you did, however, you'll be shocked to hear that both sides in the race for the transit-union presidency are now accusing each other of outright fraud — quadruplicate petition signatures and such. [amNY] • The FBI is searching a Greenwich church for child pornography. The alleged culprit is one Robert Tate, the church's musical director, but what lends the story an extra frisson — and, these days, you need one to stand out from all the other church-pedophilia scandals — is Christ Church's boldface-name-heavy flock. Not only does it include the Bushes, but George W. was reportedly baptized there. [WNBC] • Michel Gondry is filming in Passaic, New Jersey, and the Times pulls out some jaw-droppingly patronizing prose for the occasion ("Real movie stars … Nothing like this had probably ever happened in Passaic … nothing like this might ever happen again.") You promise? [NYT] • And Apple is cementing its hold on New York by announcing it will launch its third Manhattan store, on one of the city's dullest retail stretches: West 34th between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Here's hoping for a giant glass pyramid, or an army of holographic Steve Jobses, or something. [Reuters]

Comptroller Candidate Callaghan Is in the Money

Christopher Callaghan — the guy you'd never heard of who's running against Alan Hevesi, whom you'd barely heard of — is having a good week. Not only is Hevesi's campaign suddenly imploding, but, even better, his own party is finally getting around to supporting him. What does that mean? Some money. Enough, even, to buy a TV ad! (Well, on cable. In a small market.) Geoffrey Gray has the complete story in Early and Often. Callaghan Cashes In [Early and Often]

Alan Hevesi Is Out of Comptrol

You know about the State Ethics Commission's finding yesterday against comptroller Alan Hevesi in the matter of Driving Mrs. Hevesi, its first decision ever against a high-ranking state official. What you don't know is that the seemingly mild-mannered and quasi-anonymous public servant might in fact be "the perfect crook with a conscience black as midnight." Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of Alan? Jon Dolan knows. Read his full brief at Early & Often. Hevesi Fails Ethics Audit [Early and Often]

Comptroller, Comptrol Thyself

• The State Ethics Commission is taking Alan Hevesi behind the shed with a harshly worded, 26-page report on all that Albany wife-chaffeurin'. It says Hevesi "knowingly and intentionally" broke the law and tried to cover it up. Good enough for GovernorAttorney General Eliot Spitzer, who's starting his own investigation of his ticket-mate. [NYP] • Get ready to learn as much about sarcoidosis and granulomas as you once did about hanging chads. That's because government agencies still can't settle on an official relationship between toxic 9/11 dust and lung disease, and things are about to get very ugly and very arcane. [NYT] • Move along, folks, nothing to see here: The Port Authority bus terminal is back to normal after a brief shutdown yesterday. A man boarded a Greyhound with one of those enduring fashion staples, a Suspicious Bag; he then refused to get off, forcing cops and bomb squads to flood the area all the way to Madam Tussauds. [WNBC] • As a perp, Raffin Vellon doesn't seem to lack for motive: According to the police, he bludgeoned his ex and her son to death, then murdered a super's assistant, who happened to be Dominican, out of "ethnic hatred." amNew York goes strikingly Post-ish in its coverage, coining the phrase "Bronx Barbell Murders." [amNY] • And transgendered New Yorkers can now use any restroom they want, says the MTA after settling a lawsuit with a snubbed Chelsea woman. Only in New York, kids. [Newsday]

Remains Remain at Ground Zero

• Searchers found at least 18 more human bones in manholes around ground zero on Sunday, bringing the total of human remains found in the past week to 114. The families of victims are, needless to say, not thrilled. [Newsday] • Alan Hevesi's challenger for state comptroller — you know, the guy who pointed out Hevesi was using a state employee to chauffeur his wife — lied on a mortgage application in 1993. Dems push the story, voters yawn. [NYDN] • At a public hearing tomorrow, the debate over whether to allow a 30-story Norman Foster glass tower on the Upper East Side will likely turn even nastier. Nothing like a little out-of-context architecture to get the neighbors all riled up. [NYP] • Anna Wintour was named editor of the year by Advertising Age, as Vogue is actually growing while rivals are sputtering. [NYP] • Episcopalians in Connecticut are now okay with gay marriages. Worldwide Anglicans soon not to be okay with Connecticut, one presumes. [NYT] • The law firm Milberg Weiss, which has been under indictment for allegedly paying off plaintiffs in more than 150 lawsuits over the years, has managed to attract a new senior partner. Someone will have to run the place if the old partners go to jail. [NYT]

Like Candy From a Little Leaguer

• Yesterday we told you that Queens assemblyman Bruce McLaughlin was about to surrender on some corruption charges. That was, it turns out, an understatement. The Feds cuffed McLaughlin for stealing a cool $2.2 million in awesome ways and from awesome sources — including Little League teams. [NYDN] • A report by the state comptroller (yes, our chauffeurless pal Alan Hevesi) says Wall Streeters earn an average of $289,664 — more than five times the city's average. Even more spectacular, the financial industry's pay rates grow faster — a shocking 36 percent over the last two years. Of course, someone has to pay for bottle service. [NYP] • The battle is on for the title of the 300 millionth American (Manhattan's splendidly named Zoë Emille Hudson is but one contender). The Times raises a great and uncharacteristically naughty point: Why does everyone assume that yesterday's arrival was born yesterday? And not, say, smuggled across the border? [NYT] • LIRR is shifting 2,000 feet of track to fix the dangerous gap between the train and the platform at Shea and plans to do the same at other stations. Each year about 60 people fall in; we recall that last month one such victim was a former state senator. Coincidence? [amNY] • And the Village Voice's "Best of NYC" issue is out, complete with the ailing weekly's trademark mix of picks offbeat (Best Aroma Inside an ATM), earnest (Best Bus), and unfortunate (Best Performance Art Space for Dinner and a Movie goes to Monkeytown, which announced its closing weeks ago). [VV]

What Ails Mrs. Hevesi?

Early and Often brings the exciting news that state comptroller Alan Hevesi's name has received the greatest of honors. It has been verbed. To "hevesi" apparently means "to illegally convert governmental assets or resources to one's personal use; and, when caught, to offer to make full restitution and public apology." It also reminded us of another issue we've had about Hevesi's whole hevesi-ing episode. Namely, that he claimed he'd used the state employee to chauffeur his wife both due to security concerns and also because his wife is — as all the papers say — "ailing." Why is the comptroller so concerned for his wife's safety? And, more intriguingly, what ails Carol Hevesi?