Guns & Ammo
In the aftermath of the horrific killings in Newtown, Connecticut, Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., the politically-connected private equity firm behind Freedom Group, the company that made the gun used to kill all 26 victims in the shooting announced they are planning to sell their investment in the gunmaker. In a statement sent out in the wee hours of this morning after Politicker reached out for comment on a story about former Vice President Dan Quayle’s connection to Cerberus, the firm attributed the decision to the fact “the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level.”
“We were shocked and deeply saddened by the events that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012,” the statement said. “We cannot comprehend the losses suffered by the families and friends of those killed by the unthinkable crimes committed that day. No words or actions can lessen the enormity of this event or make a dent in the pain that was inflicted on so many.”
Cerberus Capital Management L.P., the private equity firm that owns the company which made Newtown killer Adam Lanza’s assault rifle has extensive political connections. The company’s senior executive leadership team is stocked with political figures including former Vice President Dan Quayle.
Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked havoc on good portions of New York State, clearly won’t be cheap to clean up, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has avoided giving a specific number to the costs.
In a letter to President Barack Obama requesting maximum compensation from the federal government, however, Mr. Cuomo said the loss of economic activity alone in the state would yield “up to $6 billion in lost economic revenue in the greater metropolitan area and the State due to the severe disruption of business in the world’s leading financial hub and the largest port on the northeastern seaboard.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer took a field trip to Brooklyn yesterday to check out the headquarters of MakerBot Industries, a company that makes desktop “3-D printing devices” that enable users to manufacture plastic products of their own design at home. In his 2012 “State of the City” address, Mr. Stringer mentioned how MakerBot was “leading the revolution in 3-D printing right here in New York City” and is an example of the type of business that can help make the city “a go-to hub for innovation.” During his trip to MakerBot’s headquarters, Mr. Stringer got a tour of the facility from co-founder Bre Pettis and asked what New York’s elected officials can do to help tech companies take root in the five boroughs.
Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit appeared alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg today at a press conference announcing New York’s top rank in a Citi-commissioned Economic Intelligence Unit research report on the world’s most competitive cities. Mr. Pandit said Citigroup’s current “mission is to help the cities on this list and others compete on the global stage,” so The Politicker asked his thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street protesters and others who blame the financial industry for subverting the democratic process and spreading economic inequality.
“I think the starting point is we have about 24,000 people that are our colleagues in New York City that makes us, I think, the second largest employer in the city. We’ve been here 200 years through ups and downs in the markets and, as the mayor pointed out, the last two, three years have been challenging,” Mr. Pandit said. “It’s very understandable that when we have so many people who want to do more than they’re able to do, want to have the kind of jobs they aspire to, that does create a sense of frustration. And a lot of that anger has been directed at big banks and Wall Street, and that’s understandable too.”
Not So Fresh Feeling
The plan to open a new headquarters for online grocer FreshDirect in the the Bronx continues to draw a mixed reception from local politicians and community members. Today, Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito sent a letter to the NYC Industrial Development Agency asking them to slow the approval process for the $74 million in tax exemptions being provided to the company as part of a $127.8 million package of grants, tax credits and other incentives from the City, the State, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s office and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation. Meanwhile, Mr. Diaz and the BOEDC announced they reached an agreement with FreshDirect to address concerns of those opposed to the plan and the Bronx Chamber of Commerce issued a statement in support of the FreshDirect facility.
Keepin' It Fresh
Local activists in The Bronx have criticized the deal to keep the headquarters of online grocer FreshDirect in the five boroughs as insufficiently transparent and an improper use of city funds, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the project at a press conference this morning.
“We don’t go negotiate deals open, nobody would ever deal with the city, you couldn’t negotiate a deal,” Mayor Bloomberg said in response to a question from The Politicker.
Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced the online grocer FreshDirect will be setting up shop in the Bronx with an expanded headquarters and operations center at Harlem River Yards. The trio of New York politicians beat out New Jersey and that state’s governor, Chris Christie, who aggressively lobbied and offered a $100 million bid to woo the FreshDirect facility across the state line.
FreshDirect will spend $112.6 million on the headquarters, which will be augmented by $127.8 million in grants, tax credits and other incentives from the City, the State, Borough President Diaz’s office and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.
State Senator Carl Kruger will appear in Manhattan Federal Court tomorrow to discuss making a plea in the bribery case against him.
Someone is making mysterious robocalls in support of an effort to draft Hillary Clinton to enter the presidential race.
Councilwoman Tish James knew the woman who was burned alive in Brooklyn this weekend and has set up a fund to help her family afford a funeral.
Red State Poets Society
Herman Cain isn’t just the Republican Presidential frontrunner and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, he’s also a motivational speaker and poet. Archived versions of Mr. Cain’s official website reveal his life lessons and multiple poems bylined to “The Hermanator.”