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September 6, 2013- The political paper City&State published an 11-page biography on mayoral candidate Bill Thompson. It details how he hired cronies from his City Comptroller days to help him run the Battery Park City Authority. It lists Anne Fenton, Gayle Horwitz, and Phyllis Taylor. Excerpts below:
“Thompson delegated many of his responsibilities to his top political aides… and Deputy Comptroller Gayle Horwitz, who had little experience with finance. Horwitz in turn delegated many of her responsibilities, according to the former comptroller’s office employee. “[Horwitz] didn’t have a background in any kind of management,” the source said. “She was way in over her head. She had a remote management system. She had favorites; she managed her favorites. Between the two of them, it wasn’t an effective agency.”
When real scandals struck the comptroller’s office— including a $500 million boondoggle involving the city’s computerized payroll system known as CityTime— “[Horwitz] removed herself from what was going on there. She didn’t like to get involved in controversy. Bill let her delegate. They should have been on CityTime way before that happened. When overruns were happening, they were in there and yet they did nothing. I don’t think she was equipped to do what she was doing.”
Thompson also served a brief stint as chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, where he again installed Horwitz in a leading role, this time as president. Community sources from Battery Park say that Thompson delegated most of the day-to-day responsibilities at the agency to Horwitz, and that she presided over layoffs to key Battery Park staff, including architects and engineers, that contributed to the stalling of several key community projects.
“There’s been a lot of construction and maintenance work that continued to be needed by the community and the Thompson-Horwitz stance that the agency has evolved from a construction agency to a management agency was misguided,” said George Calderaro, a co-chair of the Battery Park City Committee, speaking for himself. “Currently, the Battery Park City Authority is seeking $300 million bond issue for capital projects. That does not connote to me a management organization, it seems to me that it’s very much in the construction business.”
In addition to Horwitz, Thompson installed other holdovers from his mayoral campaign and his time at the comptroller’s office, including Anne Fenton, the communications director for Thompson’s 2009 campaign, as Horwitz’s special assistant, and former deputy comptroller Phyllis Taylor as the authority’s chief administrative officer.
Thompson and his board of directors at Battery Park City also unanimously agreed to roll back a scheduled increase in fees paid by Battery Park City condominium owners by nearly $280 million, according to a report by The New York World. Howard Milstein, who owns 585 Battery Park City condos saved $59 million because of this decision. Milstein would later contribute $4,950 to Thompson’s current mayoral campaign—the maximum allowed by city law.”