Bloomberg's Double Deal

As term-limits fight raged, a hush-hush $1.2 million campaign

"Someone told me they saw Taharka bring people in a bus," said one Council official who knows him. "I said to him, 'So you're working for the mayor now?' He just laughed."

Wolfson said Robinson played no role in the term-limits drive, and Robinson also denied any involvement. "I was just down there like everyone else, checking out the lay of the land," he said last week.

A few weeks earlier, Brennan and Robinson had overlapped in another state Senate campaign, that of Brooklyn Council member Simcha Felder, who lost his bid against incumbent Kevin Parker in a mostly minority district. In another happy coincidence, Felder happened to be chairman of Governmental Operations—the committee that held the term-limits hearings and whose approval was crucial to the mayor's bill. Felder didn't declare his position until the hearings were over, but no one was surprised when he voted the mayor's way. That's because Bloomberg was Felder's most prominent backer, giving him a strong last-minute endorsement.

Limitless: The mayor in October '08 after the council vote
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Limitless: The mayor in October '08 after the council vote

Felder paid Brennan's Greyfield Strategies $38,000 for his work. He paid another $68,000 to Robinson's associate, Hubert Frye. At his election night concession speech, Felder singled out Robinson for special thanks and a public hug. "I know his mother," Felder said last week. "We're pretty tight. It was a minority neighborhood, and you look for people who would be supportive." Felder said he wasn't sure whether Robinson was paid, but he said he's never heard of Frye. "I don't know who that is," he said.

Robinson, whose Victory Consulting Group is based in a one-family home owned by Frye on Albany Avenue, refused to describe the duo's working relationship. "We're in the same place, that's it," Robinson said. Frye didn't answer calls.

For his third-term bid, the mayor has vowed to spend some $80 million. Brennan, Kubena, and Wolfson are among his key consultants. The line of once Democrat-only political advisers to Bloomberg's campaign goes around the corner. "I've got to eat," explained one.

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