State Senator Malcolm Smith may be facing federal corruption charges, but LL Cool J is cool with it.
The ’90s heartthrob, rapper and star of NCIS: Los Angeles returned to his childhood neighborhood in southeast Queens yesterday to co-host a basketball tournament with the indicted pol, who recently pleaded not-guilty to federal corruption charges for allegedly orchestrating an elaborate scheme to get himself elected mayor.
“The beauty about the American system is that you’re innocent ’til proven guilty,” the rapper told Politicker as he greeted excited fans at the annual basketball event when asked about the scandal.
Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams is one of the biggest Knicks fans in City government and, though he said he had a personal “struggle” over whether to back the newly-arrived Brooklyn Nets, he’s sticking with his team. Mr. Williams revealed his decision to Politicker when we asked him about Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s statement earlier today that Brooklynites who “support, cheer or root for the Manhattan Knicks” are “treasonous.”
“It’s something I’ve grappled with….It’s very, very tough, but I think I’m Brooklyn enough. Nobody can question my Brooklyn-ness, not even Marty Markowitz,” Mr. Williams said. “I’ve decided this fall to take my talents back to the Garden.”
President Barack Obama has a pre-election ritual where he plays a friendly game of basketball as the votes are cast. Today was no exception and the president hit the court this afternoon as voters across the country cast their ballots in what he has referred to as “my last election.”
According to tweets from Alexi Giannoulias, a longtime friend of Mr. Obama’s and a former Illinois State Treasurer, Mr. Giannoulias and Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen joined the president’s team to face off against former Obama body man Reggie Love and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
President Barack Obama, like his rival Mitt Romney, regularly visits New York City. Today, Mr. Obama is hosting a basketball fundraiser with Michael Jordan and other basketball stars. Annoyed that Mr. Obama is hosting yet another fundraiser while the economy still isn’t fixed, the New York State Republican Party sent out a press release letting everyone know that they’re not happy about it.
“ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER FUNDRAISER,” blared the title of the statement, with Chairman Ed Cox explaining, ”Once again, we’re happy to welcome President Obama back to New York, where unemployment in both New York City (9.6%) and New York State (8.9%) remains above the national average, for yet another swank, star-studded fundraiser for his reelection campaign.”
Today, political types were focused on the Trump Super PAC, trolls and Newt Gingrich’s love of animals. Here’s our roundup of the day’s best Tweets from the campaign trail.
While in California this morning, President Barack Obama played a game of basketball this morning with members of his staff and some A-Listers including George Clooney and Tobey Maguire, according to the White House press pool. President Obama spent the night in Beverly Hills after the star studded fundraiser Mr. Clooney hosted for him last night.
Real estate developer Bruce Ratner, one of the co-owners of the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets, appeared with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz at a press conference today to announce a plan to fill 2,000 jobs at the team’s future Kings County home, the Barclays Center. The Politicker took the opportunity to ask Mr. Ratner why he chose to stick with the same name the team had during its years in New Jersey and Long Island rather than coming up with a Brooklyn-specific moniker. We also asked Mr. Markowitz, Brooklyn’s most visible booster, whether he was disappointed the team wasn’t getting a new name in honor of the borough. Mr. Markowitz literally leapt behind the podium before Mr. Ratner had a chance to answer.
“I’ll answer the first part, as long as the first part of the name is Brooklyn the rest of it …” Mr. Markowitz said giving a dismissive gesture with his hand.
Jumaane Williams made the best April Fool’s day prank we’ve seen so far this year from any New York politician . The Brooklyn Council member, who has emerged as a sharp critic of the Bloomberg administration since being elected in 2009, issued a prank statement today announcing he was “signed by the New York Knicks to a ten day contract.” Mr. William’s press release claimed he was asked to join the team “shortly following the announcement that starting point guard Jeremy Lin would be out for the remainder of the regular season.”
“It will be far easier to win an NBA championship than to convince Mayor Bloomberg to restore budget cuts to our youth and seniors,” Mr. Williams said. “The Garden may be missing ‘Linsanity’ over the next several weeks, but I hope to bring some ‘Jumaanity’ of my own.”
The Quiet Man
After a press conference announcing a dean for the city’s new tech campus, Mayor Michael Bloomberg fielded multiple questions about his enthusiasm level for New York Knicks sensation, Jeremy Lin.
Mr. Bloomberg was hardly enthusiastic when asked whether he’s in the throes of the famous “Linsanity” gripping fans throughout the five boroughs.
“Do not own a sports team, that’s my only advice,” he concluded after comparing the Knicks most recent records to the Nets’.
The same reporter persistently asked Mr. Bloomberg about Linsanity later in the press conference. As she threw out the question for the second time, Mr. Bloomberg playfully quipped, “Way to go.”
Federal prosecutors are preparing to retry Bronx Councilman Larry Seabrook in June on charges of bribery, money laundering and fraud after a mistrial in December. In the meantime, Mr. Seabrook doesn’t want to talk about the case against him.
“Oh, I’m not going to talk about that,” he told The Politicker after Comptroller and likely 2013 mayoral candidate John Liu’s State of the City address at City College today.
However, our conversation with Mr. Seabrook didn’t end there.