The Green Team

Does the Voice Whispering in Mark Green’s Ear Have His Own Agenda?

Ward, whose multiple committees have made him one of Green's largest donors, is a co-chair of the Hudson Yards Coalition, a business-labor group pushing the Javits expansion. Both Green and the union agree that they've certainly discussed it. In addition, Local 6 hosted a press conference at its headquarters with a half-dozen unions endorsing Green in May. Some of the business leaders in the coalition with Ward, like developer Lew Rudin and family, have also made large contributions to Green ($6500), as has Larry Silverstein ($1500), whose site near 42nd Street would have to be acquired for the project.

As disturbing as this confluence of money and policy is, it's par for the political course, the sort of nexus Mark Green used to rail against. On the other hand, the cloud that hangs over Stephen Green's interests and influence is anything but ordinary. Neither is it inconsequential that Stephen Green is, by his brother's description, a conservative Republican on economic issues, whose partner in one recent real estate deal was the Carlyle Group, the Washington equity fund that employs George Herbert Bush, James Baker, and a half-dozen other GOP powerbrokers.

The only prior sign of Stephen Green's politics was his quiet emergence in 1991, when he headed the Property Tax Fairness Coalition, a real estate group opposed to city tax hikes. And now, Mark Green, unlike two of his Democratic primary opponents, resolutely opposes tax increases, even calling for a pro-business cut, though faced with daunting deficits. Mark denies any linkage between his brother's and his own tax perspective, but is it just a coincidence that they are sounding more and more alike?

Mark Green has long had a Mr. Clean reputation, just like the incumbent mayor did before running an administration compromised by insider lobbyists and self-serving patronage. Green has yet to say one word about ethics in the campaign, refusing to set any standards for conduct, apparently because he believes he embodies the best standard himself. The public is entitled to know what he will do about core ethical questions and reforms before he takes office—not when it's too late to say he hasn't gone far enough.

Research assistance: Douglas Gillison, Gregory Bensinger, Brian Bernbaum, Lisa Schneider, Shonna Carter, Joey Fiskin, Anna Levine

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