The 411 from the Feline
Goes public on advocate interest: State Senator Daniel Squadron is eyeing a run for public advocate. On April 5, Squadron, who is serving his second two-year term in the Legislature, sent out an e-mail under the heading “Squadron for New York,” in which he noted that he’s “looking toward running for public advocate.” Squadron told the Wall Street Journal on April 4, “It’s going to be an important election and an important job. As you have a new mayoral administration, in that transition, the [public advocate] job has the potential to be a big part of filling in the inevitable gaps, ensuring that it’s an effective and responsive government.” We queried Squadron about his ambitions for citywide office after Monday’s rally down at City Hall on reforming the Rent Guidelines Board. “I’m saying that I’m looking at it,” he told us. “I’m very focused on serving my district and continuing to serve my district.” Squadron is running for re-election to the state senate later this year. The advocate election is in 2013. Should he run for advocate and win, that would mean a special election to fill his state senate seat. But it’s “very early,” as one political observer noted. No one has officially declared for public advocate yet, but a couple of names are out there, including Brooklyn Councilmember Letitia James and Reshma Saujani, who ran against Congressmember Carolyn Maloney in 2010. A former hedge-fund lawyer, Saujani reportedly recently left her job at Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s office to decide whether she’ll throw her hat in the ring.
Cooper Union hoax: A Cooper Union student, claiming to be among a group concerned about the prospect of the elite school’s cancelling its 110-year-old policy of free tuition, sent out a hoax e-mail on Monday. The e-mail, including a fraudulent letter purportedly signed by Cooper Union’s president, Jamshed Bharucha, claimed C.U. would lease its new three-year-old building at 41 Cooper Square to New York University’s Polytechnic Institute for $20 million per year beginning in 2018 to preserve free tuition. “Hogwash,” said John Beckman, N.Y.U. spokesperson. “It’s totally false,” said a Cooper Union spokesperson responding to an online news service that posted the item around 9 a.m. on April 16. Alan Lundgard, 23, a junior in the C.U. School of Art, readily admitted later on Monday that he sent the bogus e-mail and letter to the media and signed it Gary Lund, chief spokesman for Cooper Union, but included his own phone number and e-mail address. “I did it out of concern for the lack of community input in decision making and in determining what Cooper Union considers expendable and what it considers essential,” Lundgard said. He added, “The gesture was well worth any consequence that might happen to me.” In November, Bharucha, raised the possibility that tuition might have to be charged to help Cooper meet a mounting deficit. The school must find new revenue of $28 million per year by 2018, Bharucha explained.
N.Y.U. rally reminder: A rally against the N.Y.U. 2031 superblocks plan will be held on Fri., April 20, starting at 4 p.m. Participants will gather at the Mercer-Houston Dog Run — expect some tail-wagging and furry activists because it sounds like “The Underdogs” will be involved in this one — and then march to Washington Square Park. The rally is being co-sponsored by Assemblymember Deborah Glick, N.Y.U. Faculty Against the Sexton Plan, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and numerous other community groups. The university plan’s opponents are also organizing a big turnout Wed., April 25, at 10 a.m. at the Museum of the American Indian, at 1 Bowling Green, where as part of its ULURP review, the City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the controversial scheme. Public testimony will be limited to three minutes per person.
Dominatrix beats the rap: While Don MacPherson is serving four to 12 years behind bars for his leading role in an $82 million Hamptons S&M mortgage scam, his wife, Carrie Coakley, has avoided jail. According to Robert Clifford, spokesperson for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Coakley was recently sentenced to 840 hours of community service in lieu of six months jail and also received five years’ probation. “Apparently, the court was satisfied with the pre-sentence report prepared by the Probation Department,” Clifford said. “The judge, James F.X. Doyle, had said depending on the pre-sentence report, he was prepared to sentence her to the community service alternative.” Pre-sentence reports are confidential, Clifford noted. As for what the community service would entail — free whipping or boot-licking sessions? — Clifford said he’d try to find out, but we didn’t hear back by press time. As part of the East End mortgage scam, “straw buyers” were recruited from the clients of The Dungeon, a Soho club where Coakley was the dominatrix in charge. Newsday noted that MacPherson was sometimes referred to by his co-conspirators as the “Lord of Darkness.” MacPherson, the scheme’s ringleader, owned the Soho Journal and was a former member of Community Board 2.
Koch savages ‘Hunger Games’: “Thumbs down!” on “The Hunger Games,” says Ed Koch. In his e-mailed “Ed Koch Movie Reviews,” Hizzoner called the high-grossing flick, which is the latest teen obsession, “a ridiculous picture, even for teenagers. Imagine a blockbuster film showing adolescents on the hunt to kill or be killed by other adolescents,” he scoffed. “The audience was made up of teenagers and young adults in their 20s. Being four times or more the average age of the audience, people sitting near me must have wondered what I was doing there,” the former mayor remarked. So did he. “After reading Manohla Dargis’s long screed in The New York Times about this flick, which made it sound interesting, I decided to go. … My question is, ‘What has happened to our senses and culture?’ ”
Travelin’ on back to Tompkins: The other weekend on Avenue A, “Black-Ops Bob” told us word is that the “travelers” will be returning to Tompkins Square Park this season. Last summer, the travelers a.k.a. “hobo crusty punks” pretty much avoided the East Village park, instead hanging out in Union Square and Washington Square, as well as Brooklyn. But, if the “crusty chatter” heard by “Black-Ops Bob” is accurate, it sounds like they’re coming back to Tompkins this year.
Corrections: An article in last week’s issue on Major League Soccer’s interest in building a stadium on Pier 40 incorrectly stated that HR & A Advisors was no longer leading the Hudson River Park Trust’s strategic task force. In fact, HR & A is no longer leading the Pier 40 study. Carl Weisbrod, a consultant with HR & A, will continue to facilitate the task force. When the Pier 40 study — now being done by Tishman/Aecom instead of by HR & A — is finished in a few weeks from now, it will be presented to the task force for its review. Also, in the same article, the M.L.S. commissioner’s name was incorrectly given as David Garber. His name is Don Garber.