Lhota on Bloomberg-Cuomo: ‘It’s about two men and their egos’

Lhota and Cuomo after Sandy. (Patrick Cashin via Flickr)
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Joe Lhota has a plan for managing Governor Andrew Cuomo's ego if he's elected mayor. 

"If the governor of New York gives one dollar to a project in the City of New York, I would fire my staff person if they don't invite the governor to the ribbon cutting," the Republican nominee told members of the Staten Island Board of Realtors at a meeting last Friday, according to a recording of the event made available to Capital.

The topic of politicians and their egos arose when a landlord asked Lhota about the often tense relationship between the city and the state, and how that relationship can complicate everything from housing programs for the homeless to post-hurricane recovery efforts.

"I've lived in New York my entire life," said Lhota, who was a deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration and was later installed as M.T.A. chair by Cuomo. "The relationship between mayors and governors has been progressively getting worse. Rockefeller and Lindsay couldn't even be in the same room together. ... And the relationship between Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo is at a fever pitch. They don't deal with each other."

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According to Lhota, "It really comes down to ego."

Neither the governor's nor the mayor's office had any comment. 

"Let me go back to this current governor's father," said Lhota, referring to former governor Mario Cuomo. "There is a famous story. He would get up every morning and work out and read the newspapers, and by 5:30 in the morning, he was calling up reporters and calling up his press secretary. Mario Cuomo's press secretary, of course, was Tim Russert. ... Tim told me this. 'He would call me up and he would rant and rave. Why is Ed Koch on page 2, page 5, page 9 and 11, and an editorial about him, all in the Daily News, and we did this big thing yesterday and there's nothing [about it]?' I'm not a full-time politician."

Lhota presents himself as more city manager than politician. 

"I got news for you," he went on. "The people who I have worked with and who are also running, their egos are completely and totally out of control."

He also said, as an example of what's wrong with the Cuomo-Bloomberg relationship, "What's going on over who's in charge over Sandy? It's about two men and their egos. And I'm telling you, it doesn't work that way. I mean, this is how countries have revolutions."

Lhota's campaign declined further comment.