ALBANY — A Democrat who is a financial consultant said he is running for state comptroller as a Republican against three-term incumbent Thomas DiNapoli so that he could wield the untapped “superpower” of the job and reign in Albany’s spending and corruption.
“My vision is to provide grown-up supervision to the children in Albany who like to set their own allowances,” said Jonathan Trichter of Manhattan in an interview announcing his candidacy against DiNapoli, a Great Neck Plaza Democrat.
“He has so many friends in Albany,” Trichter said Wednesday. “I have no friends in Albany.”
DiNapoli campaign spokesman Doug Forand said the incubment’s record is what seperates him from Trichter.
“He can put on a cape and he can try to fly, but at the end of the day, it really is about how you performed in office,” said Forand said.
Forand noted the pension fund has continued to grow to record levels through DiNapoli’s investments while protecting retirees. Forand also cited DiNapoli’s audits of state and local governments and school districts that save taxpayers millions of dollars statewide while using the investment clout of the pension fund to influence corporate behavior such as in addressing climate change.
In starting his campaign, Trichter emphasizes that DiNapoli wasn’t first elected to the job, but chosen by the Legislature. Then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver drove the effort in 2007 to replace Democratic Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who was forced from office by federal corruption charges. Trichter said DiNapoli won the job not because the longtime assemblyman was qualified, but because he was popular with the politicians he would be charged with monitoring.
Trichter said he would use the power of the office to improve the strength of the pension fund, which he said DiNapoli hasn’t properly manged.
Trichter said the job that invests the state pension system, audits government, and has a role in overseeing some state spending should be apolitical. He emphasized his experience as a public finance investment banker at JP Morgan, where he examined the state comptroller’s office, and also his consulting business, which included analyzing the Florida state pension system.
Trichter does have political experience. He worked on the successful attorney general campaign of Democrat Eliot Spitzer, for Democrat Mark Green and other Democrats, and on the unsuccessful campaign for state comptroller by Republican Harry Wilson in 2010. Trichter also worked for the Pace University polling center.
“I have a unique set of skills that make me perfectly suited for this,” said Trichter, a former tri-athlete, marathon runner and open-water swimmer.