Good afternoon and welcome to The Point! We went around about the troubled Hempstead school district this morning and are challenging ourselves and education experts to think of solutions outside of the box.
Stripping down on LI
Stormy Daniels will bring her striptease act to Long Island on Feb. 22, according to the Twitter account of the Melville nightclub Gossip. However, what she might say between now and then could be a lot more interesting.
On Tuesday, Michael D. Cohen, an attorney and a longtime associate of President Donald Trump, acknowledged that he made a payment just before the 2016 election to the adult-film actress, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford. She claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006 not long after his wife, Melania, had given birth.
Common Cause had filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming the payment was an illegal campaign donation to Trump. In a statement seeking to put the matter to rest, Cohen wrote, “In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford.”
The statement, however, is more intriguing than any performance by Daniels.
Cohen explicitly said that neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction, nor was he reimbursed by either entity. Interestingly, the statement did not address whether Trump personally paid him. But look at the statement more closely. He said he used his personal funds to “facilitate a payment of $130,000.” Well, Cohen set up a Delaware corporation that actually paid Daniels. He very well could have used his personal funds to set up the company that helped “facilitate” a payment by someone else.
Daniels has been coy about what happened in 2006 because she is bound by a strict nondisclosure agreement as a condition for the payment. On Wednesday, however, her manager told The Associated Press that Cohen’s Tuesday statement is a breach of the agreement and that Daniels is no longer bound by it.
What she will say next is the biggest tease of all.
The more things change . . .
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran is creating a county task force to address the future of the Nassau Hub.
The task force will be chaired by Evlyn Tsimis, Curran’s deputy county executive for economic development. Curran said she hopes to get a representative from the Town of Hempstead, which handles the zoning for the Hub property, to act as a co-chair.
The committee will identify the county’s options for the Hub and determine the best possible strategy for developing the 77 acres around Nassau Coliseum, Curran told Newsday’s editorial board on Tuesday.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s happened before. Similar task forces, advisory groups and committees — all hoping to find the solution to the Hub’s future — have come and gone for nearly two decades, with little to show for their efforts.
Will this one be different? The context has certainly changed. With the New York Islanders’ plan to build a hockey arena, a hotel and destination retail at Belmont Park, the plan for the Hub is more of a question mark. And while developer Bruce Ratner had agreed to build retail and restaurants around the Coliseum more than four years ago, that, too, is on hold, in part because of an ongoing lawsuit between Ratner and fellow developer Ed Blumenfeld over who has the right to develop the land.
The two had a court date Tuesday, but it was canceled, a source told The Point.
Seems like the task force’s first objective might be to get the two developers out of the courtroom.
Randi F. Marshall
Cupid’s Capitol arrows
Don’t drill, baby, drill
Turns out nothing spells bipartisanship quite like oil wells.
The reaction in New York to Trump administration plans to allow drilling for oil and natural gas off Long Island and elsewhere along the Atlantic coast has drawn opposition from leaders of all political persuasions at all levels of government.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, asked the federal government to remove from its plan the two sites for potential lease sales in waters off New York. Two letters making the same request were sent separately to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. One was signed by all but three members of the state congressional delegation — every Democrat and six of the nine Republicans, including Reps. Pete King and Lee Zeldin. The second was from a bipartisan group of 60 State Assembly members, including most of Long Island’s contingent.
And on Tuesday, a crowded state hearing on the plan hosted by Democratic Assembly members Steve Englebright, Christine Pellegrino and Anthony D’Urso in Hauppauge featured testimony in opposition from two town supervisors, Republican Ed Romaine of Brookhaven and Democrat Laura Jens-Smith of Riverhead, among others.
Another reminder of the unifying power of environmental threats, at least here.