Good afternoon and welcome to The Point! Money talks, Rob walks ... and somewhere there’s a contractor wearing a wire.
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The day Rob Walker resigned
After years of swirling rumors about a corruption investigation of Rob Walker, the former right-hand man to former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano walked out of the federal courthouse in Central Islip under federal indictment.
Charges of obstructing justice and lying to the FBI came after Walker allegedly took $5,000 from a vendor with a county contract while at a Notre Dame football game in 2014, and then reportedly lied about it to investigators. It’s fitting that Walker allegedly tried to whitewash the trail by returning the money last year to the unidentified contractor at a Hicksville park, a place he knows intimately as a former Oyster Bay Town parks commissioner.
It’s always about Hicksville with the Walkers. Until today, his family owned the place, politically.
His mother represents the area in the Nassau County Legislature, and Walker represented the hamlet in the State Assembly. His late father, John, led the Hicksville West Republican Club. But it was Rob Walker who turned it into a fundraising powerhouse, raising nearly $800,000 in the first term of the Mangano administration, according to a Newsday story on March 16, 2014.
The club’s newfound riches allowed the local GOP committee to buy a skybox at MetLife Stadium for Giants games and concerts, and gave it the muscle to claim that one day the Oyster Bay tribe of the Nassau GOP would finally wrest control of the Nassau County party from the Hempstead clan, which held it for a century.
Now the power-politics perch that got him so many perks is gone, too. Walker is no longer executive leader of the Hicksville Republican Club. In a one-sentence letter to Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Mondello, Walker said his resignation was effectively immediately.
The date of that letter swirling Thursday in Oyster Bay political circles: March 25, 2014.
Mondello had an angry confrontation with Walker that day — just a week after that Newsday story — warning him about his aggressive solicitation of political donations, according to GOP sources. Mondello apparently also asked Walker for his resignation.
On Thursday, it was accepted.
Mooch headed to Queens
The comeback trail is a long and winding road. It can take you from White House exile to the glitz of Manhattan to . . . Queens Village.
Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci, whose spectacular tenure as White House communications director lasted less than two weeks and ended after an expletive-laden magazine rant against former White House strategist Steve Bannon, headlined a $500-per-ticket fundraiser last month for the Manhattan GOP.
On March 1, Scaramucci will be “special guest speaker” at a general meeting of the Queens Village Republican Club, a small but steadfast GOP refuge in a sea of Democrats. The group bills itself as America’s oldest Republican club, having been organized in 1875, and its venue is decidedly old-school — the Knights of Columbus hall on Union Turnpike in Glen Oaks.
Scaramucci, who would be wise to leave his potty mouth behind, is scheduled to discuss “the current state of politics and polarity and how it is affecting the markets.”
We already know how politics and polarity affected The Mooch.
Cuomo not a poetry major
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo deployed a presidential-sounding slogan Wednesday.
“We’re going to make America America again,” he growled to cheers from the powerful 1199 SEIU health care workers union after receiving its endorsement.
It sounded like a revision of #MAGA, but Cuomo later told reporters the phrase evoked Langston Hughes.
Indeed, one of the famed poet’s best-known works is “Let America Be America Again.” But a close reading of the poem shows that Hughes’ vision of America was never very sunny, and not exactly typical political fare.
“America never was America to me,” says one line. “There’s never been equality for me/Nor freedom in this ‘homeland of the free.’ ”
The popular image of America, Hughes writes, is mostly fictional for farmers, workers and minorities. “O, let America be America again—/ The land that never has been yet.”
Cuomo would likely place himself as working toward that potential good America about which the poem exalts and dreams. In his speech Wednesday, Cuomo talked about standing up for Dreamers, residents of public housing and the middle class.
The poem, though, which was included in a collection published by the International Workers Order, ends on a more revolutionary note:
“We, the people, must redeem/The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers . . .”
No word yet on a nationalizing industry out of Albany.