Monday, March 10, 2008
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Spitzer's Tax Lies
New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is expected to win next week's New York Democratic primary in a landslide and then crush Republican John Faso en route to capturing the governor's mansion in November. Surprisingly, the political prosecutor who terrorized Wall Street is now trying to run up the score by promising to cut property taxes as much as 80% for middle class New Yorkers and finance it with some $11 billion in budget cuts over the next three years.
The "sheriff of Wall Street" is doing his level best to sound like a supply-sider as he sews up votes in suburban and rural areas of the state. But New Yorkers might be unwise to put much faith in the promises Mr. Spitzer is spreading around in his quest for a landslide.
The proposal he laid out to a local mayors' conference in Saratoga included the predictable dose of class warfare. Residents can thank three-term GOP Gov. George Pataki, who -- in 1997 amid a blizzard of complaints about high property taxes -- created the crazy STAR system, which allows any resident to get a partial tax rebate as long as he or she remembers specifically to apply for it. Mr. Spitzer sees a problem here in "giving the same exact benefit to a homeowner regardless if he or she makes $5 million or $50,000." He wants to "fix it" by excluding high-income taxpayers -- another way of saying he wants to raise taxes on them -- while expanding rebates for middle-class taxpayers.
Meanwhile, his "budget cuts" would supposedly come by attacking the usual waste, fraud and abuse in New York's giant Medicaid system. There's plenty of all three, but Mr. Spitzer's coronation as the next governor was helped along by early support from labor unions that will brook no cuts in their gravy train. In next-door New Jersey, Democrat Jon Corzine also ran for office promising tax cuts, then immediately pronounced a "budget crisis" and demanded higher taxes. New Yorkers can see their own future just by gazing across the border.
-- Brendan Miniter
Friday, December 23, 2005
Spitzer is Watching
So far I have not recieved any threatening phone calls.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Spitzer the Thug
With those words Eliot Spitzer showed exactly why he is unfit for office.
Not only did Spitzer's words show immaturity, an inability to deal with ligitimate criticism and a short temper, but Spitzer may have even criminally threatened a well respected public servant, businessman and philanthropist simply because he exercised his right to free speech and dared to criticize New York's Attorney General. (Currently Whitehead is Chairman of the board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is tasked with rebuilding and revitalizing lower Manhattan in the wake of 9-11.)
Today, after 8 months of being mum on the conversation Whitehead wrote about it in an Op-Ed in today's Wall Street Journal in order to "set the record straight."
Here is the entire article:
"It's now a war between us," Eliot Spitzer told me. "I will be coming after you."
BY JOHN C. WHITEHEAD
Thursday, December 22, 2005 12:45 p.m. EST
Last April, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed piece by me titled "Mr. Spitzer Has Gone Too Far." In it I expressed my belief that in America, everyone--including Hank Greenberg--is innocent until proven guilty. "Something has gone seriously awry," I wrote, "when a state attorney general can go on television and charge one of America's best CEOs and most generous philanthropists with fraud before any charges have been brought, before the possible defendant has even had a chance to know what he personally is alleged to have done, and while the investigation is still under way."
Since there have been rumors in the media as to what happened next, I feel I must now set the record straight. After reading my op-ed piece, Mr. Spitzer tried to phone me. I was traveling in Texas but he reached me early in the afternoon. After asking me one or two questions about where I got my facts, he came right to the point. I was so shocked that I wrote it all down right away so I would be sure to remember it exactly as he said it. This is what he said:
"Mr. Whitehead, it's now a war between us and you've fired the first shot. I will be coming after you. You will pay the price. This is only the beginning and you will pay dearly for what you have done. You will wish you had never written that letter."
I tried to interrupt to say he was doing to me exactly what he'd been doing to others, but he wouldn't be interrupted. He went on in the same vein for several more sentences and then abruptly hung up. I was astounded. No one had ever talked to me like that before. It was a little scary.
It's up to others to make their own conclusions. I have only set out here what happened.
The threat is unmistakable: "I will be coming after you. You will pay the price. This is only the beginning and you will pay dearly for what you have done. You will wish you had never written that letter."
It is something you would expect to hear from a law enforcement official in a third world dictatorship, not from the chief law enforcement official in the financial capital of the most free country in the world.
Whitehead's initial comments came as a response to Spitzer's allegations against AIG and its CEO Hank Greenberg. In a national TV interview Spitzer said of Greenberg and AIG: "The evidence is overwhelming that these were transactions created for the purpose of deceiving the market. We call that fraud. It is deceptive. It is wrong. It is illegal."
And while Spitzer has filed a civil suit based on those charges, no trial date has been set as settlement talks continue. More importantly though, Spitzer has never filed criminal charges despite his nationaly televised statement that Greenberg engaged in fraud and that Spitzer had "overwhelming" evidence to support his accusations.
Make no mistake, Spitzer acted like a thug who is better suited to the Sopranos than for public office. Maybe as the campaign nears, New Yorkers will realize that having a Governor who uses his public office and citizens tax dollars to harass and threaten those who disagree with him would not only be bad for New York, but would make the great state of New York a national embarrassement.
[Note: More attention needs to be paid to this case. So please forward this story to anyone you know since the besides the Wall Street Journal's Op-Ed page the traditional media outlets appear to be completely MIA.]
Through a spokesman Spizer denied Whitehead's account of the conversation, but declined to provide details of his recollection of the conversation:
This denial is classic Spitzer: He accuses Whitehead of writing the Op-ed as a favor to Greenberg but provides absolutely no evidence, and instead of providing his account of the story sends a spokesman out to the media to make baseless accusations about a man who dares to speak against him.
Spitzer denies making these threats, spokesman Darren Dopp said, disputes Whitehead's characterization of the conversation. Spitzer further argues Whitehead was encouraged to write the pieces at the behest of Greenberg, a friend.
"This account is not accurate. It is embellished and false. (Whitehead) is simply not telling the truth," Dopp said. "It's clear Hank asked him to write a letter attacking Eliot and he did so."
Monday, October 10, 2005
Spitzer's Medifraud Failure
October 10, 2005 -- Gee, what a difference a looming elec tion can make — plus a dazzling newspaper exposé on how your of fice slept soundly when it should have been prosecuting Medicaid fraud.Read the whole article here.
Indeed, it seems that as next year's race for governor nears, state Attorney General (and presumptive governor-elect) Eliot Spitzer suddenly is jockeying to be the Elliot Ness of Medicaid fraud.
In the past two weeks, Elliot — er, that is, Eliot — announced no fewer than five cases he's been pursuing in which the state wrongfully paid Medicaid bills.
Spitzer better move fast.
Because with each passing day, the feds increasingly seem to be doing the job state law has specifically vested in his office — no, not running roughshod over Wall Street or busting payola in the retail liquor business, but searching out and prosecuting Medicaid fraud.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
New York Politician
Job Approval Rating
Gov. George Pataki
Sen. Chuck Schumer
Sen. Hillary Clinton
A.G. Eliot Spitzer
2006 Gubernatorial Match-ups
The "Spitzer's Competition" part of the sidebar has been updated...
A few possible candidates were eliminated and Randy Daniels was upgraded to green as he is officially running. (Also the URL of his website was updated to www.randydaniels.com)
[Editors note: Also Spitzer Watch readers should go over and visit my new website and blog at patricksemmens.com]
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Langone speaks out
Ken Langone, one target of Spitzer's "investigation" into Dick Grasso's NYSE compensation package demands an apology and debunks Spitzer's allegation that members of the NYSE board were duped.
Of course Spitzer never has even addressed the fact that it seems so farfetched that anyone seen as "worthy" of a seat on the New York Stock Exchange's board is probably not going to be just tricked into approving of a compensation package that goes against their interest as a equity holder in the NYSE.) Nor has Spitzer explained why Democrat bigwig Carl McCall got a pass in this investigation.
Here are the key passages from Langone's op-ed from the W$J:
Their testimony is clear and consistent. Of the six directors deposed thus far who served on both the compensation committee and the full board, each has said they were not deceived in any way. They all confirm that, as head of the NYSE compensation committee, I provided them and the board with complete and accurate information about Mr. Grasso's proposed compensation--and that they approved it.He continues:
Pressed for examples, they cited one-on-one meetings with compensation experts, committee meetings, conference calls, comprehensive written documentation, full board meetings, as well as annual presentations I gave both to the committee and the board that included detailed handouts and unfettered opportunity for discussion and debate.
That's why the citizens of New York have a right to demand some answers of their own. How much taxpayer money, for example, has been spent so far to finance the attorney general's boondoggle of a case? And why? Even if he were to somehow prevail, the damages would be handed not to the state but back to the owners of the Stock Exchange, millionaires one and all--myself included.Indeed.
New Yorkers know when their tax dollars are being squandered. They also know what a bully looks like and how to treat one. Mr. Spitzer may be a little lightheaded from all the puff-and-fluff coverage the media give him, but voters could soon deliver a reality check at the ballot box.