Monday, December 3, 2007

Columbia University's "Dinkinsgate Scandal" Connection--Part 13

After New York City voters decided in the 1993 mayoralty election that David Dinkins did not deserve a second term as New York City’s mayor, the Columbia University administration hired the local Democratic Party politician to be a professor “in the practice of public affairs” at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. And during the last few years Columbia University Professor Dinkins ( ) has apparently attempted to use his remaining special political influence in New York City politics to help his private employer undemocratically implement its land-grabbing campus expansion plan north of West 125th Street in West Harlem, despite the objections of local community tenant activists. Not surprisingly, when Columbia University Professor Dinkins tried to sell Columbia University’s expansion plan to the 700 community residents who attended the local community board’s hearings in August 2007, the former New York City mayor was booed, hissed and shouted down by West Harlem residents and their Columbia and Barnard student supporters.

Following, is the final section of an article on “The Dinkinsgate Scandal” which first appeared in the August/September 1991 issue of the Lower East Side newspaper, Shadow:

On December 7, 1988, the New York Times reported that “Donald Trump is prepared to spend $2 million of his own money on anti-Koch television commercials in next year’s mayoral race” because he “says Koch has systematically mismanaged New York City and allowed it to become a `cesspool of corruption and incompetence.’” ( In 1985, Trump had previously backed Columbia University Professor Dinkins in his successful campaign for Manhattan Borough President).

The following day, December 8, 1988, the New York Times reported that “Borough President David Dinkins comes close to announcing his candidacy for New York City Mayor” but “despite desire to run and favorable poll, Dinkins says he will wait 2 months to determine how much support and money he can get.”

After Dinkins decided to run for Mayor in 1989, he was rewarded for the way, as Manhattan Borough President, he apparently protected the special, private, corporate interests of the Dinkins and Sutton family’s Inner City Broadcasting Corporation/Queens Inner Unity Cable System and their Time-Warner business associates.

On October 21, 1989, the New York Times reported on its back pages that “Percy Sutton, Dinkins’ political mentor, Sutton’s relatives and businesses with which he is connected have contributed over $70,000 to Dinkins’ New York City mayoral campaign.” As of October 2, 1989, Percy Sutton and his family had donated $23,150 to fund the Dinkins for Mayor Campaign and Sutton’s Percy Sutton International firm had donated $8,500 more to fund Dinkins’ 1989 campaign. Another $8,470 was donated to Dinkins by other officials of his family’s Inner City Broadcasting Corporation. Another business associate of Sutton, Eugene D. Jackson of the National Black Network, donated $5,500 to the Dinkins campaign.

The Times also noted that “officers of Time Warner Inc., part of the Queens Cable consortium, and a law firm representing it account for more than $25,000 in Dinkins contributions.” Six thousand dollars of this Time-Warner money for Columbia University Professor Dinkins’ 1989 campaign was contributed by the now-deceased former Time-Warner Co-Chairman Steve Ross and his wife. The Permanent Government: Who Really Rules New York? book had noted in 1981 that:

“Steve Ross is the president of Warner Communications. He contributed $48,000 to [then New York governor] Hugh Carey in 1978 and flies Carey around in his corporate jet. Ross wants cable television franchises and is interested in casino gambling.”

Brooklyn Queens Cable Television President Richard Aurelio and his wife, Suzanne, donated $6,250 of the Time-Warner subsidy for the Dinkins campaign. Aurelio was New York City’s Deputy Mayor in the early 1970s. He later apparently traded his political influence for a lucrative Warner Communications lobbying job in the late 1970s.

Another $14,750 of the Time-Warner campaign funding for the Dinkins for Mayor 1989 campaign was contributed by another Time Warner lobbyist, Sid Davidoff, and Davidoff’s law partners. In 1968, Davidoff was the assistant of the now-deceased former New York City Mayor John Lindsay who helped supervise the New York City police invasion of Columbia University’s campus on April 30, 1968 and May 21-22, 1968. In the early 1970s, Davidoff also approved and monitored the bank that got interest-free deposits of New York City public funds from the Lindsay Administration. In 1972, one of the banks, Century National Bank, gave Davidoff a $9,000 unsecured loan so that he could get into the restaurant business. According to The Permanent Government: Who Really Rules New York?, Davidoff’s “restaurant eventually went bankrupt and Davidoff was indicted for nonpayment of taxes to the state.”

Predictably, when the white New York City corporate and real estate establishment apparently told Dinkins to utilize his political power as New York City Mayor to use police violence to clear out the Lower East Side’s Tompkins Square Park and occupy Tompkins Square in 1991, Columbia University Professor Dinkins obediently issued the anti-democratic order to his police force.

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