Spitzer to Split Up Control of New York’s Three Racing TracksAs one of the many controversy-spurning agenda items Eliot Spitzer has to deal with, we hear some progress being made in the ongoing discussions with Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno over Bruno’s pet issue: the future of the New York horse-racing industry. One source involved in the private talks tells us that the tentative plan is to split up control of each of New York’s three horse-racing tracks: Saratoga, Belmont, and Aqueduct. The New York Racing Association (which faces an expiration date at the end of this year) will get to keep control of the track in Saratoga, and thus stay alive. This would help the Spitzer administration avoid a potentially lengthy lawsuit.
Joe Bruno Thinks Albany Stalemate Is FunnyJoe Bruno thinks the stalemates in Albany, partially caused by his own grandstanding, are funny. TV and radio reporter Penny Crone is turning in the mike for a broker’s license. Jessica Seinfeld may have plagiarized some of her recipes. Ron Burkle, like all rich people, still gets a mortgage when he buys a house. Steve Stoute is about to make a whole lot of money on the sale of his company. The Clintons are about to ruin somebody’s wedding.
in other news
Is the State Senate Now Overstepping Its Own Authority?If you think the State Senate has backed off the Spitzer-Bruno dogfight ever since Roger Stone made an unbelievable idiot out of himself (and spoiled Frost/Nixon for the rest of us), you’re sorely mistaken. Judging from the few recent developments, we suspect the Albany Republicans are just getting started. Senators are expected to vote today to subpoena State Police superintendent Preston Felton, a figure central to the accusations against Spitzer (which, for those of us who prefer not to litter our brains with such trivia, involve the gov’s using state troopers to spy on Joe Bruno’s use of state helicopters). No acting NYS top cop has ever been subpoenaed before. Once they’re done with Felton, the GOP panel is planning to give the same treatment to Richard Baum and Darren Dopp, the two former Spitzer aides who refused to testify under oath earlier.
in other news
Albany Drama Amps Up As GOP Aide Lashes Out at Spitzer FamilyOh, yes. Just when the hullabaloo over Eliot Spitzer’s “Dirty Tricks” scandal was finally dying down a bit, an aide to his foe Joe Bruno has allegedly gone bonkers. Roger Stone, a prominent GOP consultant, is accused of having left a ranting voice mail on the answering machine of Spitzer’s father, Bernard. Drudging up an old issue over controversial loans the elder Spitzer made to his son, Stone is said to have raged, “You will be subpoenaed to testify before the Senate committee on investigations and there’s not a goddamn thing your phony, psycho, piece-of-shit son can do about it!”
the morning line
• With impeccable timing he would likely disavow, Governor Spitzer made his first judicial appointment yesterday — picking Theodore T. Jones Jr., an African-American judge from Brooklyn, for the Court of Appeals (the highest in our state’s counterintuitive hierarchy). Jones, by the way, is the guy who threw Roger Toussaint in jail after the transit strike. [NYT]
• We knew that if we stuck with the story of the Joseph Bruno probe, it would eventually get interesting. Pay dirt! The state GOP leader had hung out at Rachel’s, a West Palm Beach strip club, on his businessman friend’s dime. Dear Feds: More of this and less murky real-estate deals, please. [NYDN]
• Speaking of: Real-estate data is infinitely malleable, but here’s an upbeat nugget that’s hard to misinterpret — property values in New York City rose 19 percent in 2006. That, if you still want to talk about a “cooldown,” is double the gain of 2005. The bad news: Taxes will jump in July. [Newsday]
• Scientists are struggling to rescue dolphins stranded in shallow waters near East Hampton; four cetaceans have died and fifth was “euthanized.” Long Island has been reporting bizarre dolphin behavior all month long, triggered by the freakishly mild winter (coming, by the way, to a bitter end with tomorrow’s cold snap). [amNY]
• And, not so fast, Jay-Z: While Beyoncé’s mom is already sewing Nets’ uniforms, the team may first end up in Newark. Mayor Cory Booker is making a play for the franchise, offering to house it temporarily until its New Jersey contract runs out. In other news, Frank Gehry unveiled plans for “Miss Newark.” [NYP]