Today, the New York Post is reporting Heastie’s ties to convicted mobsters. His associations are raising serious concerns among members of the State Assembly, who are quietly planning on ousting the current Speaker.
Some operatives speculate that Cuomo is planning on releasing “corruption baggage” that Heastie has accumulated on a rolling basis. The strategy, they say, is to deflect from the Governor’s own corruption scandal — and to use the downstate caucus of Black, Latino, and Asian legislators as a scapegoat of sorts.
“Cuomo desperately wants to retake the public discourse on corruption. He needs an enemy to go after — and who is more corrupt than New York City’s leftist political machine,” explains a Western New York Democrat who is close to the Governor.
There is considerable speculation that G. Steven Pigeon is planning a political coup in the Assembly, similar to the one he orchestrated in the State Senate in 2009 and that the Governor is working behind the scenes to help orchestrate the takeover. Uniting the GOP caucus with upstate and Long Island Democrats could be difficult but not impossible, they say — especially if Heastie manages the Assembly in the style of Senator Malcolm Smith.
A scandal ridden tenure could make his Speakership quite brief.
Assemblyman Michael Kearns is actively interested in the Speakership and enjoys the implicit support of the Republican caucus.
The New York Post reports:
Between 2003 and 2008, more than $2,800 flowed into the Bronx Democrat’s campaign coffers from Tri-State Employment Services and its top executives, including reputed Bonanno associate Neil Messina, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison last April in connection with a 1992 home-invasion murder.
Heastie also directed at least $250,000 to the Bronx Business Alliance. The now-defunct nonprofit’s head, John Bonizio, was convicted of manslaughter in 1982 for bludgeoning a man to death with a baseball bat. Bonizio also made a plea deal after being indicted in the same year for trying to bribe an NYPD detective.
Many operatives think that Heastie will be pushed out of the Speakership before the end of the year.