‘Rat Czar’ Joseph Lhota Tells Senator Bill Perkins That He’s Sorry for Being a Big Meanie


So here’s a piece of advice for public figures: Think before you speak — especially if you’re going to talk smack about other pols.

Today, The New York Times detailed MTA chief Joseph Lhota’s opposition to subway food bans.

State Senator Bill Perkins, of Harlem, is behind a bill that would fine subway diners up to 250 bucks. Perkins told reporters that he and Lhota had worked together extensively on rat eradication in the past, both contributing to a “rat summit” at Columbia University.

Lhota had this to say of Perkins, according to the Times: “The idea that we worked together in the past goes far beyond the reality…as a legislator, he does nothing but talk and talk and talk, and he does nothing.”

Not nice!

Then, State Senator Adriano Espaillat took to Perkins’s defense, shooting back at Lhota by saying:

Commissioner Lhota should be focused on improving subway services, not taking on elected officials. Last I checked, it was part of the MTA commissioner’s job to collaborate, not pick fights with state legislators. Commissioner Lhota’s remarks in the New York Times are immature and counterproductive. Whether or not you agree with Senator Perkins’, or any other senator’s legislation, it’s inappropriate to level personal attacks, instead of focusing on the issues. I urge Commissioner Lhota to offer Senator Perkins an apology and get back to work, fixing the MTA.

Lhota issued a mea culpa around 2:30 today, writing:

I would like to apologize to Senator Perkins for my comments in the NY Times today. Bill is an excellent legislator with great constituent services, and I share his commitment to addressing the problem of rat proliferation in New York City. Though we agree on many rat related issues, we disagree on banning food on the subways. I have a great deal of respect for Senator Perkins.

Meanwhile, the rats don’t give a damn about any of this infighting and will probably keep spreading disease just like before this petty conflict.