Brooklyn Surrogate Race: Where to Look for Evidence of Corruption
As this year's judicial races get going, the hints of corruption have already surfaced. My most recent article on the subject announced the Corruption candidate, Vito Lopez's personal choice, Simpson. In it I also analyze one theory about Vito's choice, that Simpson was being run only to split the black vote with the current frontrunner, Diana Johnson, leaving Beitner, Vito's real choice, to clean up with the white and Orthodox Jewish vote.
I have heard that my analysis, though plausible, is likely to be ruined by Beitner dropping out. So right now one thing is clear: Brooklyn's reform movement has solidified behind Diana Johnson, including Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Independent Neighborhood Democrats, Chris Owens, Alan Fleishman and many others. The rest of the field, Robert Miller, Leo Beitner and the recent entry, Shawndya Simpson, all have been accused of playing the role of pawn to Vito Lopez. Denials and accusations have flown. Are they all part of Vito's game? Maybe. Is Beitner or Simpson the ultimate Vito choice? Some say Vito doesn't play to lose so he wouldn't back a candidate just to split the black vote to benefit another candidate. I disagree. Vito plays to win but how he wins can be convoluted. He doesn't care what the public sees, all that needs to be known is who he ultimately manouvers in and who gets what favors in return.
Which brings me to what to watch for. Want to know who is playing pawn for Vito? Simply look for who gets a Supreme Court appointment afterwards. That is the most likely reward people are fishing for. Will Beitner drop out and then get offered Supreme? Will Simpson run a mean campaign against Johnson, bringing both down in flames allowing Beitner to clean up...then Simpson get offered Supreme? This is how Vito is most likely to reward his pawns in this race.
My sources tell me Simpson is the real Vito deal and Beitner will be the sacrifice who will get Supreme. But according to Errol Lewis at the Daily News (June 14th), Simpson has reportedly admitted that she was recruited to run by Lopez specifically to split the black vote with Johnson to benefit Beitner with the promise of a nomination to the Supreme Court if she loses the surrogate's race. If true, this contradicts some of my sources who say Beitner is almost definitely out. Vito himself is taking the same line as my sources, that Beitner is out and he'd NEVER offer judgeships as bribes. To quote Lewis' article:
Party boss Lopez flatly denies promising a consolation-prize judgeship to Simpson for getting into the race.
"That never happened," he told me yesterday. "If she ever said that, it would be grounds for my club to pull its endorsement."
Lopez also scoffed at the charge he would pit black candidates against each other in order to help Beitner.
"I don't think Beitner runs. I really don't," said Lopez - suggesting the candidate may drop out of the race soon. "I only run to win. And I expect that Simpson will do very well in my Assembly district."
To me the spicifics don't matter. What is typical is that Vito is not playing above board. And SOMEONE is going to be expecting favors. Just a reminder to Brooklyn: giving away judgeships as rewards for political favors is VERY illegal. Someone kindly tracked down the appropriate law for me:
17-158. Corrupt use of position or authority
Any person who:
1. While holding public office, or being nominated or seeking a nomination therefor, corruptly uses or promises to use, directly, or indirectly, any official authority or influence possessed or anticipated, in the way of conferring upon any person, or in order to secure, or aid any person in securing, any office or public employment, or any nomination, confirmation, promotion or increase of salary, upon consideration that the vote or political influence or action of the person so to be benefited or of any other person, shall be given or used in behalf of any candidate, officer or party or upon any other corrupt condition or consideration; or,
2. Being a public officer or employee of the state or a political subdivision having, or claiming to have, any authority or influence affecting the nomination, public employment, confirmation, promotion, removal or increase or decrease of salary of any public officer or employee, promises or threatens to use, any such authority or influence, directly or indirectly to affect the vote or political action of any such public officer or employee, or on account of the vote or political action of such officer or employee; or,
3. Makes, tenders or offers to procure, or cause any nomination or appointment for any public office or place, or accepts or requests any such nomination or appointment, upon the payment or contribution of any valuable consideration, or upon an understanding or promise thereof; or,
4. Makes any gift, promise or contribution to any person, upon the condition or consideration of receiving an appointment or election to a public office or a position of public employment, or for receiving or retaining any such office or position, or promotion, privilege, increase of salary or compensation therein, or exemption from removal or discharge therefrom, is guilty of a felony.
So, I suggest that ANY of the candidates running for Surrogate this year, given the political manouvering behind the scenes, who gets a Supreme Court appointment needs to be looked at very, very closely because it is pretty likely that candidate is getting that appointment in return for playing Vito's pawn. In Brooklyn you don't just follow the money, you follow the judicial appointments as well. And speaking of money, am I the only one who thinks it odd that Vito's main donors are all either real estate connected or, oddly enough, chiropractors? What's with the chiropractors backing Vito? Perhaps the political acrobatics that go on in Brooklyn leaves many politicians with bad backs?