Monday, November 26, 2007

Columbia University's "Dinkinsgate Scandal" Connection--Part 6

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

In its Nov. 29, 1973 issue, The New York Times noted that Columbia University Professor Dinkins was “a consultant to Percy Sutton,” the Manhattan Borough President from 1966 to 1977. By 1991, former Manhattan Borough President Sutton was the Chairman of the Board of the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation and a director of the New York Board of Trade and the New York City Partnership organizations of New York City’s corporate establishment.

Percy Sutton’s father, S.J. Sutton, was a principal of the Phyllis Wheatley High School in San Antonio, Texas, who also owned a cattle farm. Percy Sutton’s brother, G.J. Sutton, entered Texas state politics and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives from San Antonio.

Another brother of Percy Sutton, Oliver Sutton, migrated north to New York City like Percy Sutton did and became a Justice of the New York Supreme Court. According to The Permanent Government: Who Really Rules New York? by Jack Newfield and Paul DuBrul:

Judgeships are not exempt from the subtleties of legal graft…A politically beholden judiciary is essential to the clubhouse system, especially to disqualify opponents who want to run against the machine in primary elections, and to dispense fees and guardianships to the right lawyers…State justices are chosen by party leaders in private brokered deals.”

After attending Columbia University Law School, Percy Sutton served as a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer during the U.S. military intervention in Korea and then, in 1953, he set up a law partnership with his brother, Oliver, and a third partner named George Covington, which had law offices on 125th Street in Harlem.

Along with Harlem’s long-time current Congressional Representative, Charles Rangel, Percy Sutton formed the new Harlem Democratic Party political club in 1963 and Sutton was elected to the New York State Assembly from Harlem in November 1964. Less than two years later, Dinkins’ political “godfather-rabbi,” Tammany Hall leader J. Raymond Jones, appointed Sutton to be Manhattan Borough President. According to Jones in The Harlem Fox book:

“The business of the Borough Presidency was easy…My first choice was Percy Sutton…the other five Manhattan Democratic Councilmen may not have been thinking along these lines, but I knew that once it was understood that I wanted Sutton, there would be little opposition.”

Sutton was later elected to the Manhattan Borough Presidency in November 1966 and held the position until 1977, when he unsuccessfully attempted to get elected as Mayor of New York, himself, on an “anti-crime” platform.

While each held public office in the early 1970s, Manhattan Borough President Sutton and his then-consultant, now-Columbia University Professor David Dinkins, enriched themselves by forming a privately-owned broadcasting corporation, the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation.

Next: Columbia University’s “Dinkinsgate Scandal” Connection—Part 7