MAKING HISTORY IN ALBANY & TRUMP FOUNDATION LAWSUIT

November 28, 2018 at 4:30 am

Glass ceilings are being shattered and race barriers are being broken as Andrea Stewart-Cousins becomes the first black woman to lead the New York State Senate. Also, a judge has ruled that New York State’s lawsuit against the president and the Trump Foundation can proceed.

Aired on November 27, 2018. 

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>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
"METROFOCUS."
I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.
WE BEGIN TONIGHT WITH A HISTORIC
MOMENT IN NEW YORK POLITICS.
STATE SENATOR ANDREA
STEWART-COUSINS HAS BECOME THE
FIRST WOMAN TO EVER LEAD A
LEGISLATIVE CHAMBER IN ALBANY.
THE YONKERS DEMOCRAT IS EXPECTED
TO TAKE THE POSITION WHEN THE
NEW LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS
IN JANUARY.
THE ASCENT OF STEWART-COUSINS
COMES AFTER THE DEMOCRATS
DECISIVE WIN IN THE MIDTERMS.
IT WILL ALSO MARK THE FIRST TIME
THAT BOTH THE STATE SENATE AND
STATE ASSEMBLY, WHICH IS RUN BY
SPEAKER CARL HASTY L BE HEADED
BY AFRICAN-AMERICANS.
IT ALSO MEANS THE DAYS OF THREE
MEN IN A ROOM WILL BE OVER.
AND IN OTHER NEWS, OVER THE
HOLIDAY WEEKEND, A JUDGE RULED
THAT NEW YORK STATE'S LAWSUIT
AGAINST THE TRUMP FOUNDATION
FILED EARLIER THIS YEAR CAN
PROCEED.
THE LAWSUIT NAMES PRESIDENT
TRUMP, AS WELL AS TWO OF HIS
CHILDREN, IVANKA AND ERIC.
HERE WITH THE RUNDOWN OF WHAT
THIS WEEK'S POLITICAL HEADLINES
MEANS IS CITY AND STATE EDITOR
IN CHIEF JONATHAN LENTZ.
JONATHAN, WELCOME BACK TO THE
PROGRAM.
>> GOOD TO BE HERE.
>> LET'S START WITH WHAT IS NEW
IN ALBANY.
WE HAVE A NEW SENATE MAJORITY
LEADER.
>> THIS WAS EXPECTED SINCE
ELECTION DAY.
I THINK DEMOCRATS MAY HAVE AS
MANY AS 40 SEATS IN THE 63 SEAT
CHAMBER.
AND STEWART-COUSINS WAS BROUGHT
IN WHEN DEMOCRATS WERE BACK IN
THE MINORITY ABOUT TEN YEARS
AGO, THEY HAD A SHORT PERIOD,
CHAOTIC PERIOD IN THE MAJORITY.
AND I THINK THEY BROUGHT HER IN
AND THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE A
PERSON WHO COULD LEAD THE
CONFERENCE, SHOULD THEY TAKE THE
MAJORITY.
SHE'S A WOMAN, SHE HAS A
DIFFERENT LEADERSHIP STYLE.
SHE'S COLLABORATIVE, SEEMS VERY
COMP TEM
COMPETENT.
SO AS YOU KNOW, HISTORIC POINT
FOR THE STATE AS A WHOLE.
>> OF COURSE.
NOW, ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR
ISSUES THAT MIGHT CHANGE THE
TONE OF THE STATE SENATE?
>> SURE.
THE OTHER INTERESTING THING TO
POINT OUT, OTHER THAN HER BEING
AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN, BEING A
WOMAN, SHE'S A SUBURBAN
LAWMAKER, AND YOU HAVE HAD A
HISTORY OF NEW YORK CITY BASED
LAWMAKERS, ESPECIALLY DEMOCRATS,
WHO HAVE NUMBERS IN NEW YORK
CITY IN THE FIVE BURR ROUGHS.
ONE OF THE THINGS TO WATCH
THERE, WHAT CAN THEY GET BEHIND.
A BIG THING TO WATCH IS WHAT IS
GOING TO COST MORE AND MIGHT
REQUIRE RAISING TAXES OPPOSED TO
WHAT CAN GET DONE, THINGS LIKE
ROE VERSUS DE, CODIFYING THAT
IN STATE LAW.
OR CONGESTION PRICING CAN GET A
LITTLE TRICKY.
>> I DO ALSO WANT TO SAY,
THOUGH, THEY HAVE A POSSIBLE PAY
RAISE ON THEIR DOCKET, AS WELL.
>> SURE.
THAT'S A BIG ISSUE FOR LAWMAKERS
IN ALBANY.
THEY MAKE JUST UNDER $80,000 A
YEAR.
IF YOU CHAIR A COMMITTEE, YOU
GET A LITTLE MORE MONEY.
YOU GET MONEY FOR TRAVEL.
BUT THEY HAVEN'T GOTTEN A PAY
RAISE IN TWO DECADES, AND
THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF POLITICS
AROUND IT.
YOU SEE A LOT OF PEOPLE PUSHING
FOR, OKAY, IF WE RAISE THEIR
PAY, THEY WANT TO BAN OUTSIDE
INCOME.
YOU CAN'T HAVE AN OUTSIDE JOB,
THE IDEAT CONFLICTS OF INTERES.
THE FORMER SPEAKER WAS CONVICTED
OF CORRUPTION INVOLVING HIS ROLE
AS A LAWYER OUTSIDE OF BEING A
LEGISLATOR.
>> I WAS GOING TO SAY A LOT OF
THE CORRUPTION CASES SEEM TO
STEM FROM THAT ISSUE.
THEN THERE'S GOING TO BE THE
UPSTATE, DOWN STATE ISSUE,
BECAUSE $80,000 IN BINGHAMTON OR
UTICA GOES A LOT FURTHER THAN
HERE.
>> SURE.
AND THE NEW YORK CITY DOWN STILL
RAISED ITS PAY UP TO $150,000.
AND YOU SAW AFTER THAT HAPPEN,
SOME STATE LAWMAKERS DECIDED TO
RUN FOR NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL.
THERE'S OBVIOUS APPEAL THERE.
BUT THERE IS A BROADER ISSUE.
CAN YOU RECRUIT THE BEST, MOST
TALENTED PEOPLE IN THE CITY LIK
MAKING ABOUT $80,000?
IT'S HARD TO GET BY, ESPECIALLY
IF YOU'RE A LAWMAKER IN
MANHATTAN.
>> WELL, TURNING TO THE NATIONAL
STAGE, WHICH SOMEHOW ALWAYS
COMES BACK TO NEW YORK CITY,
THIS LAWSUIT AGAINST THE TRUMP
FOUNDATION.
FIRST OF ALL, THERE'S SO MANY
LAWSUITS RIGHT NOW.
PLEASE REFRESH OUR AUDIENCE
WHICH LAWSUIT WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT.
>> THIS IS PRESIDENT DONALD
TRUMP'S NONPROFIT, SOMETHING
THAT HE'S HAD AROUND FOR
DECADES.
IT GOT INTO SOME TROUBLE
ALLEGEDLY, BUT FOR GETTING
INVOLVED IN BUSINESS DEALS WITH
THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION, GETTING
INVOLVED IN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN.
THERE ARE ALLEGATIONS THAT IT
WAS INVOLVED WITH A FUND RAISER,
A TRUMP CAMPAIGN FUND-RAISER
THAT NONPROFITS SHOULD NOT BE
PART OF.
IF THIS SUIT IS SUCCESSFUL, THE
TRUMP FOUNDATION WILL HAVE TO
PAY BACK MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.
SO, AGAIN, IN NEW YORK, THE
STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE
HAS OVERSIGHT OVER HOW
NONPROFITS OPERATE.
AND IT IS AN INCREMENTAL STEP
THAT THIS CAN GO FORWARD.
BUT IT'S INTERESTING TO NOTE
THAT A SITTING PRESIDENT CAN BE
CHARGED IN A CIVIL CASE LIKE
THIS.
THAT'S ONE OF THE ARGUMENTS THAT
HIS LAWYERS ARE SAYING, HE'S
PRESIDENT, HE SHOULD.
HAVE TO GO TO COURT OVER THIS.
BUT FOR ACTIONS TAKEN PRIOR TO
OFFICE, THIS CASE CAN GO
FORWARD.
>> THIS MAY NOT BE THE LAST OF
THE LAWSUITS ATTACHED TO THE
TRUMP NAME.
I WANT TO ASK ABOUT THE
GOVERNOR.
SO DO WE EXPECT HIM TO BE
WORKING HAND IN HAND WITH THIS
NEW LEGISLATURE?
>> ON ANY NUMBER OF BILLS, YES.
THINGS LIKE ETHICS REFORM.
AGAIN, ROE VERSUS WADE,
CODIFYING THAT IN STATE LAW.
YOU SEE SOME TENSION ON THIS PAY
RAISE DISCUSSION THAT HE'S
SAYING, AGAIN, YOU NEED TO HAVE
THAT INCOME FOR ME TO GET ON
BOARD.
THERE'S AN INTERESTING QUESTION
WHETHER THAT'S WITHIN THE SCOPE
OF THIS BODY THAT IS EXPLORING
WHETHER TO RECOMMEND A PAY RAISE
OR NOT.
>> IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE ON THE
HORIZON WE SHOULD KEEP AN EYE
OUT FOR THIS COMING WEEK?
>> A LOT OF DISCUSSION ABOUT
VOTING CHANGES.
THERE'S A LOT OF FRUSTRATION
HERE IN NEW YORK CITY, WITH LONG
LINES AND MACHINES
MALFUNCTIONING.
A LOT OF LAWMAKERS ARE SAYING
THAT'S GOING TO BE ONE OF THE
FIRST THINGS WE'RE DOING IN
JANUARY, THINGS LIKE EARLY
VOTING.
>> THAT SEEMS TO BE THE ONE THAT
EVERYONE WANTS TO SEE HAPPEN.
>> RIGHT.
A NO BRAINER.
>> SO LISTEN, THANKS FOR GIVING
US THE 411 OF WHAT'S HAPPENING
AFTER THE STATE LEVEL.
>> THANK YOU.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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