New York State’s economic development agency created a new position last June, and then found a candidate to fill it: a young man named Willard Younger, who had just graduated from Colgate University with a degree in classics and religion. He became a special projects associate, at a salary of $45,000 a year, according to state personnel records.
His father, Stephen P. Younger, is a lawyer and power broker in legal circles who was a member of one of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s transition teams. He has also donated $26,000 to Mr. Cuomo’s campaigns over the years, disclosure records show.
The next month, the agency hired 23-year-old Andrew Moelis, a University of Pennsylvania graduate, for another new position, strategic planning associate, at a salary of $75,000 a year.
Shortly before Mr. Moelis’s first day of work, his father, Ron Moelis, a prominent real estate developer, gave $25,000 to Mr. Cuomo’s re-election campaign, according to the records.
Since taking office in 2011, Mr. Cuomo has repeatedly pledged to bring a new approach to Albany, where politicians of both major parties have long rewarded supporters with jobs that are not open to the general public.
But an investigation by The New York Times into hiring by the agency, the Empire State Development Corporation, shows how Mr. Cuomo’s administration has engaged in some of the same patronage practices that have often prevailed here.
The investigation was based on personnel records obtained through a Freedom of Information request, as well as campaign finance and other state records. Numerous interviews were conducted with state officials, employees and outside experts.
Well, now we know how Austin Shafran got his job there. The Shafrans have been hooked up since the days of Donald Manes. In fact, Austin's campaign contribution list reads like Donald Manes' rolodex. Here are some of the contributors:
- Lester Shafran (and wife Beth) - Uncle, ex-head of the PVB, found guilty in the scandal.
- Sid Davidoff & Stephen Malito - Davidoff was Manes' best friend and lawyer, pushed for the Grand Prix raceway and represented the USTA for their expansion in 1993. Davidoff and Malito are political fixers, bar none.
- Then we have Sean Crowley working for Davidoff. Another lobbyist involved in some not-too-civic friendly projects from another family that thrives only on nepotism.
- Michael Nussbaum - Manes' bagman in a bribery scandal - $250,000 to get a cable television franchise - who had his conviction reversed and now is in sole control of the Queens Tribune.
Political / Elected Officials /Candidates /Government $9,890
Donald Manes Associates and Intermediaries $4,200
Lobbyists (they show up on the NYC Lobbyist search) $1,500
Real Estate / Developers / Construction $4,275
Epoch Times $1,850
Union Plaza Nursing Home $1,350
Parker Jewish Institute $800
This constitutes 58% of Shafran's contributions.
Do you folks in eastern Queens want to return to the days of Donald Manes?