Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!
Perhaps he just looks the part.
Last week, so-called satirical websites that exist on miracle-cure advertising began circulating a story about a U.S. senator from Vermont who was arrested and charged with illegal gambling and drug possession. Shared widely on social media, the story said “Senator Warren Sherman” had been flying around in a charter plane with a bunch of rich Democrats in a mobile den of iniquity.
Obviously, there’s no Vermont senator by that name. Nor is there anything else accurate, including the photo that ran with the fake news item.
But the handcuffed man in the photo being escorted by FBI agents is very real: former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke.
The December 2015 Newsday photo by Steve Pfost shows Burke in handcuffs being escorted by FBI personnel after his arrest on a federal indictment.
This false account was posted on websites AsAmericanAsApplePie.org and NewsFeedObserver.com. It ran under the headline “BREAKING: US Senator Charged With 6 Felonies — Dems In A Panic.”
The story also alleged that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was distraught at the news.
We didn’t know she was a Burke fan.
At the starting gate
The gates of Belmont Park will be open Thursday morning for builders, engineers, project managers and others who registered for a tour of the 43 acres the state is offering for development.
The Point has learned that more than a dozen individuals have signed up, although some might be part of the same organizations or bidding groups. These include representatives from Sterling Project Development, headed by the Wilpon family, owners of the New York Mets, and Oak View Group, a private equity firm that includes Madison Square Garden among its investors. Sterling and Oak View plan to partner with the New York Islanders to propose a new arena for the hockey team and other development at Belmont.
Another major player is Related Companies, which developed Hudson Yards and bid on the original Belmont request for proposals five years ago.
Also touring will be Manhattan-based McKissack & McKissack executive vice president Ken Sisk. McKissack is a minority-owned business involved in redeveloping LaGuardia Airport and Penn Station. The firm could provide construction management to the lead developer on the project, according to Frank Mendoza, the firm’s director of corporate communications.
“It’s a networking opportunity to find out about the project and see who’s there,” Mendoza said of the site visit.
Margo Cargill, who owns the small Uniondale project management firm Titanium Linx, told The Point she hopes to partner with a lead developer to assist on pieces of the project, such as community relations. Titanium Linx is a minority- and woman-owned business.
As The Point previously reported, the Blumenfeld Development Group and the Engel Burman Group are considering bidding on the property. Both developers said they would probably send representatives to the tour.
As developers eye dance partners — and competitors — they’ll have six weeks from Thursday to finalize their plans. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 28.
Randi F. Marshall
When a government office and political campaign operate as a single entity, it can create a lot of confusion.
E. O’Brien Murray, campaign manager for GOP Nassau County executive candidate Jack Martins, emailed at 10:30 p.m. Monday with a bone to pick with The Point — and he was absolutely right.
On Monday, The Point said Emmanuel Asse, the new communications staffer for Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, now running for county executive as a Democrat, was also hosting a Nassau County Haitian candidates forum Monday night in Elmont “for all candidates for county executive, comptroller and clerk.”
Murray said Martins was not invited, and that the forum was only for candidates facing a Sep. 12 primary, which neither Martins nor any of the other GOP candidates for countywide office are. And a quick recheck of the event flier’s small print showed it did include the word “primary.”
So who exactly was invited to the Haitian community campaign event “hosted” by the Haitian public employee working for Maragos?
All three countywide offices have Democratic primaries scheduled, with the Maragos slate of himself, Ama Yawson (comptroller) and Carl DeHaney (clerk) running against the party’s picks: Laura Curran (executive), Jack Schnirman (comptroller) and Dean Bennett (clerk).
Video of the event on Maragos’ Facebook page Tuesday showed the only candidates present were him, Yawson and DeHaney.
So where were their opponents?
Schnirman campaign manager Kim Devlin said the Long Beach city manager was neither invited nor informed of it.
Curran said she did get an invitation with the flier emailed to her late Friday night. But she felt that because it came from Asse and had been sent to Asse, according to the email thread, by Maragos’ sister-in-law and comptroller’s office employee Anthia Papadopoulos, it would be a smart event to skip. The two Democrats already have three other debates scheduled before the primary.