Hillary's Top Lobbyist

Gotham power Suri Kasirer puts the peddle to the meddle for Clinton

Kasirer was also the guiding light for the Israeli purchaser of the Plaza Hotel, the El Ad Group, which outraged everyone from Eloise lovers to the hotel workers' union when it announced plans to turn the place into multimillion-dollar condos. El Ad won that battle and keeps Kasirer on at $5,000 a month to handle other properties that require special attention from city officials.

None of this has anything to do with her political activity, Kasirer insists. In an e-mail—Kasirer's communication mode of choice—she said she had also served as a Democratic delegate to the 1996, 2000, and 2004 conventions, and had backed Bill Clinton when he first ran for office.

She also offered this summation of her political creed: "My involvement in Democratic politics, however, long predates my entrance into the business world. I have always been interested in politics as far back as I can remember, and believe strongly in the values and ideals of the Democratic Party." She added that she has no office in Washington and that "the focus of my business is not federal lobbying."

The funny thing about Kasirer's entrance into the business world is that it seemed to come right after she hooked up with her husband, Bruce Teitelbaum, who was then chief of staff to that raging Republican, Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Back in 1999, the Daily News reported that Kasirer was getting some awfully close attention from Giuliani aides in her bid to help investment firm Goldman Sachs with a vital business problem: free street parking for the limos waiting to take executives home.

The mayor responded to this bad news day by announcing that Kasirer could no longer personally lobby his office. Her assistants could, he ruled, just not Kasirer.

Today, if you go down to the wonderful Municipal Archives on Chambers Street, you can roll through page after page of microfilm from the office of Teitelbaum's former top aide, Anthony Carbonetti, showing diagrams of where those limos parked and the attendant parking regulations—another fine example of the hands-on approach Giuliani brings to politics.

At any rate, Teitelbaum remained a top lieutenant, heading Giuliani's aborted 2000 campaign for the Senate against an Arkansas import named Hillary Clinton. He later joined the fantastically profitable consulting firm Giuliani Partners. Then, under circumstances which were unclear but decidedly not amicable, Teitelbaum left that company.

Carbonetti, who once fetched Teitelbaum's coffee, stayed. He now serves as Giuliani's top political adviser. This proves once again the great Tip O'Neill dictum that "all politics is local." Suri Kasirer knows this as well as anyone and, if Hillary ever sits again in the Oval Office, the two of them may be able to tackle big issues, like parking regulations on K Street.

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