New York’s upcoming gubernatorial campaign is shaping up as an unappetizing struggle between the appalling William Weld (a politician content to do nothing as Salem was, in the shape of the Amirault case, reenacted in the state over which he allegedly presided) and the awful Eliot Spitzer, a dangerously out-of-control prosecutor who has repeatedly trashed justice in the interests of his own political career.
Under the circumstances it was a delight therefore to hear Ken Langone speak at a Cato Institute lunch I attended on Friday. Langone is a successful financier (amongst other achievements he’s a founder of Home Depot), and a generous supporter of various charities, but he’s also a defendant in the case Spitzer is bringing over Dick Grasso’s pay at the NYSE.
Now, I happen to think that Grasso was overpaid, massively so, but I also think that this was none of Spitzer’s business. His involvement in this matter is, as so often with Spitzer, grandstanding masquerading as law enforcement. What’s interesting is that in Langone he has, judging by the speech I heard on Friday, finally met a defendant with the resources and the determination to push back.
It’s not the moment now to go through the details of the case, but Spitzer clearly needs to respond now to three of the (many) challenges that Langone is making:
(1) He should disclose how much this case has cost the taxpayer; and
(2) He should commit to bring this case to trial before the election and, given the importance he has attached to it in numerous television appearances, he should commit to try it himself.
Spitzer is quoted in the New York Times today as saying that the delays were due to maneuvering by Langone’s side, but then when I read in the same article that the New York Attorney General, a man who has manipulated the media for years, is criticizing Langone for taking his case to the public, it becomes impossible to take him seriously.
And Eliot, how much is this costing?