Over its nearly 400 year history, New York City has been the site of scandals, assaults, conspiracies, robberies, mayhem and acts of violence beyond measure. (The rest of the Empire State boasts a more similar record than most residents would care to admit.) At times, the perpetrators of such villainy have included officials at the highest levels, particularly in the mayor’s office. Jimmy Walker left a lasting impression during the roaring twenties by accepting so many kickbacks that he was eventually forsaken by Tammany Hall and forced to resign. In the decades preceding Walker’s tenure the city saw a series of top executives engaged in all manner of dirty deeds which might even make Boss Tweed blush. But rarely, if ever, was a sitting mayor convicted of (insert dramatic hamster music here)… murder.
All that may change, however, now that details have come to light in a truly horrific event which took place in full view of the public. On February 2nd of this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio was involved in the brutal killing of beloved New York icon, Staten Island Chuck, the traditional rodent representative for the annual winter weather prognostication festival. During a Groundhog Day appearance, His Honor hoisted the hapless animal up to nearly his full, impressive height and then carelessly let it plummet to the deck.
Flying is not a natural state of affairs for the groundhog — variously known as the woodchuck, grass rat or whistle pig — and the sudden impact of landing apparently caused serious internal injuries. With no critical medical care forthcoming, Chuck succumbed to his injuries and passed to the Great Lumber Yard in the sky one week later, alone in his enclosure.
But if Chuck took his tumble on February 2nd and died on the 9th of the month as reported, how did we not learn about it until now? Because that, according to sources familiar with operations at the local zoo, is when the cover-up began.
Staten Island Zoo officials went to great lengths to hide the death from the public — and keep secret the fact that “Chuck” was actually “Charlotte,” a female impostor, sources said Wednesday.
The zoo told a few Staten Island Zoo supporters, but claimed the groundhog died of natural causes. The stand-in was found dead in her enclosure at the Staten Island Zoo on Feb. 9 — and a necropsy determined she died from “acute internal injuries,” sources said.
She had fallen nearly 6 feet when the mayor lost his grip during the Groundhog Day photo op. Sources said her injuries were consistent with a fall.
Sure… I suppose we can call it “a fall” for now. But there will be supporters of the mayor who may feel that we are uttering calumnies against de Blasio. Not so. Evidence exists to suggest that this was no accident. In fact, we have video of the event in question. I would, however, warn readers with more delicate sensibilities that the footage may be too disturbing to bear.
Behavior like this obviously needs to be investigated at the highest levels. Fortunately, we should be able to report it to the Moreland Commission, a blue ribbon task force established by Governor Andrew Cuomo to root out corruption and crime in New York government. This sort of nefarious activity should be right up their alley. But wait… that might prove a bit difficult since the commission was disbanded by Cuomo when they began looking into activities involving his own office and his close political allies.
The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a rising Democratic star and potential presidential candidate, hamstrung an ethics inquiry when it examined the governor’s political allies, an exclusive report by the New York Times revealed on Wednesday. Senior aides to the governor used their oversight of the ethics commission to derail investigations and pressure investigators whenever they examined people politically close to the governor or issues that might reflect poorly on him, the Times found, before the investigation was abruptly disbanded.
The ethics committee was established with great fanfare by the governor himself last summer as a way to end the state’s political corruption once and for all. But behind closed doors, the commissioners were impaired by the governor’s office, which eventually cut their work short despite finding a number of concerning offenses.
This seems to be in the finest traditions of New York politics. Clearly the mayor of one of the largest cities on the planet can get away with bloody — or at least internally bleeding — murder. Small wonder, when the governor himself can be in the midst of a wide ranging ethics scandal and still somehow maintain a 25 point lead in the polls over the only Republican we could find who was willing to run against him. This is a group of voters who couldn’t even manage to oust Charlie Rangel. Why would they abandon people like Cuomo and de Blasio?
All of this comes in the shadow of life in a state with nearly the highest tax rates in the nation and businesses which flee to the South, taking their jobs with them. The state board of tourism’s motto is still held to be “I Love NY.” Many of the residents, however, have to be feeling like they’re in an abusive relationship by now.