It’s good to know that corrections union chief Norman Seabrook, who personally drove ex-Senator Guy Velella out of Rikers when he won early release from jail last year, is out of the Bloomberg dog house. Not that he was ever really in it.
At a pre-election labor rally on Monday evening, the mayor singled out Seabrook for an extra special helping of praise, assuring all his new-found union allies that Seabrook, who alone endorsed Bloomberg in his first race, would always be first in his book.
The scene was the hotel workers’ hall on West 44th Street, packed with union business agents in suits, rank and filers in tee-shirts and sweats, and some three dozen labor leaders jammed together in the sweltering hall.
Bloomberg, whose own union experience consisted of avoiding the use of trade union labor in the installation of his financial data computers, addressed the crowd as “Brothers and Sisters.” He then went on to single out his friend Seabrook.
“Four years ago I didn’t have a lot of labor support,” said the mayor to chuckles on the stage. “In fact, I had one union guy. And if I’ve done a good job you owe him a debt of gratitude – Norman Seabrook.”
This won cheers for the corrections union leader, but did it also mean that the mayor had never complained to him about serving as Velella’s personal chauffeur? Velella’s early release was an embarrassing episode for Bloomy, one that he corrected by firing the panel that released the ex-senator and empanelling a new one that made him serve six more months in jail.
“I’m not about to reveal personal conversations I’ve had with the mayor,” Seabrook said at Bloomberg’s Tuesday night post-election extravaganza at the Sheraton.
Actually, Bloomberg told Newsday’s Bryan Virasami and Dan Janison a couple of weeks back that the Velella escort service by his key union endorser was just fine with him. “Mr. Seabrook can drive anyone he wants,” said the mayor.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 9, 2005