Mayor Bloomberg’s Interns: Perfect Pictures of “Clubby” Nepotism


Gotta love that Freedom of Information Act! The New York Times filed one to get the names of Mayor Bloomberg’s interns, and when they got them, they wrote about who they are! And who are they?

  • Jacob Doctoroff, whose father is the president of Bloomberg LP.
  • Aaron Freedman, David Freedman, and Nina Freedman, whose mother graduated with the deputy mayor in 1973 and is now president of the Public Art Fun.
  • Lydia Leinsdorf, granddaughter of famed conductor Erich Leinsdorf and neighbor of the deputy mayor.
  • Luke Russert, son of NBC News’ Tim Russert.
  • Louisa Aviles, daughter of the president of the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation.
  • Alexander Blankfein, son of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein.

And that’s just a few. More? Why, yes: the grandson of Robert Moses’ biographer, the stepson of playwright Neil Simon. And so on! Of course, Mayor Bloomberg is supposedly very anti-nepotism, as the Times is quick to point out:

Mr. Bloomberg has made his distaste for nepotism very clear. In a fiery 2004 speech, he lambasted the state system for appointing civil and Supreme Court judges, saying it “allows party leaders to dictate hiring decisions based on party connections — or family connections — and not on merit.” And the Conflicts of Interest Board has routinely circulated a memo about summer internships, urging employees to “resist natural parental instincts” and refrain from forwarding the names or résumés of their children to any city agency.

To be sure, though, Bloomberg’s barely the first guy to shovel his friends’ kids into internships, but this was pretty fun, right? It actually sounds like the kind of awesome thing some burned out blogger would do, except, well, it’s the New York Times. Most importantly, the second to last paragraph was this:

At the annual Gracie Mansion barbecues held for the interns, some students noticed a clubby atmosphere, where the mayor would joke about how the interns were making only $1 less than he was.

Which is essentially the “We know you get this, but we’re just emphasizing: get it.” paragraph that shoves this story right in Mayor Bloomberg’s face, beautifully, at that. Of course not every intern Bloomberg’s ever had has been a nepotism shove-in, and of course some of these nepotism shove-ins may have worked very hard in their internships, and maybe even did need their names in the first place!

But brass tacks, this gives so, so much shiny, ugly credence to the “It’s who you know.” school of thought that’s so prevalent in this city, especially in the face of Bloomberg’s supposedly forthright views on the matter. You’d think if he actually cared, they would have screened for this kind of thing! Guess not, typically. I’m sure the Times is still waiting for comment from the Mayor. And they’re probably gonna be waiting for a while.

Unless, of course, they have an “in.” Then, they should get the news sooner or later.