Mike Bloomberg’s re-election team is getting paid megabucks to win their man a second term; hence nothing is being left to chance—especially the possibility that the mayor might face a pesky Republican primary. Even as polls showed the mayor pulling ahead of all contenders by double digits, Team Bloomberg reached out to hire one of the most potent hit men in New York electoral politics to oversee its ballot challenges.
Election lawyer Robert A. Muir Jr., whose hard-nosed tactics on behalf of a Brooklyn judicial candidate cost him a misdemeanor guilty plea back in 1992, was quietly added to the Bloomberg payroll on June 15. His Campaign Research Associates was paid $60,000 in “petition expenses,” Bloomberg’s filings show. State corporation records show the firm, based at Muir’s Brooklyn address, was formed just a few days earlier.
But when Muir showed up at the elections board challenging petitions by Bloomberg’s GOP challengers, Tom Ognibene and Steve Shaw, several commissioners objected. The reason? They clearly recalled that when they hired Muir a couple of years ago to represent the board in a dispute with the city’s corporation counsel, he had pledged not to bring cases before the panel. Muir, who also represents Democratic city comptroller William Thompson and Republican congressman Vito Fossella, claimed that he had dropped the board’s case. The elections panel wasn’t persuaded. Last week it voted to bar him from bringing cases before it for a year, said board executive director John Ravitz. Muir did not return calls.