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Friday, September 30, 2022

Dems’ tellingly desperate abortion smear of Marc Molinaro

 Democrats are so desperate to make every race this year about abortion and nothing else that they’re telling outright lies. Take the ads from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee labelling Marc Molinaro an “extremist” on the issue to promote Josh Riley in the Hudson Valley race for the House.

Molinaro has long said he is personally anti-abortion, but has never backed banning it, aside from concerns about very-late-term abortions that most New Yorkers share. And he explicitly backed passing New York laws to ensure abortion would not be criminalized if the Supreme Court tossed Roe v. Wade

Yet the DCCC ads claim he opposed the state’s Reproductive Health Act when he wasn’t even in the Legislature when that law passed in 2019. They insist he backs a national abortion ban when he’s explicitly rejected the idea, including in a debate earlier this year.

Molinaro was not in the legislature at the time of the act's passage.
DCCC ads claim Molinaro opposed New York’s Reproductive Health Act
The Washington Post via Getty Im

The ad even photoshops him into an image at an event he didn’t attend with Rep. Elise Stefanik, who’s markedly more pro-life.

Meanwhile, flyers flatly lie, “Marc Molinaro opposes a woman’s right to a safe, legal abortion. In Congress, he would try to end our access to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest and for the health of the mother.”

On top of all this, this is a House race, and the Supreme Court ruling nixing Roe sent the issue back to the states, likely precluding any federal abortion ban. (Nor does any serious analyst see a chance of New York limiting abortion rights any decade soon.)

Josh Riley should demand that the DCCC (headed, by the way, by sleazy NY Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney) pull the misleading ads and call on local media to reject them.

And voters in every race across the nation should ignore the desperate Democratic drive to distract from the real issues this fall, starting with crime, inflation and the sagging US economy.

Is the Fed Responsible for Our Economic Turmoil?

The history of inflation, and of how policymakers and pundits responded to it, reveals plenty of motivated reasoning. For decades, people have argued that inflation is not so bad, that it happens because of greed, or that the best solution is price controls. I’d assumed that we had become wiser, but here we are today, with core inflation (excluding volatile food and energy costs) at 6.3 percent, unemployment at 3.7 percent, and the inflation-adjusted federal-funds rate still negative. Yet many observers think that it’s a mistake to raise interest rates any further, and some even believe that monetary policy should be looser.

Raising rates to curb inflation is never popular. Farmers drove their tractors into Washington to protest Paul Volcker’s rate increases. People hate higher rates for good reason: they can chill the labor market, and they certainly drag down the stock market, which is down 23 percent this year. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell has finally admitted that reducing inflation will probably cause economic pain, and the worst could be yet to come. The tight labor market is still contributing to inflation; getting the price level under control will probably mean not only a falling stock market but also lost jobs.

It’s tempting to call off the dogs. One might argue that higher inflation is better than higher unemployment and falling GDP. Another might say that because this bout of inflation is driven by supply-chain problems and expensive oil, monetary policy is an ineffective tool. But today’s inflation is also driven by demand—by too much stimulus and by shutdowns. And even if rising prices were strictly a supply issue, curtailing them would still be the Fed’s job. A contraction in supply that pushes inflation higher requires the Fed to dampen demand before inflation becomes endemic.

Inflation is largely determined by expectations. If people view the Fed as ineffective or unable to curb inflation, then markets, consumers, and workers, expecting higher prices, will ask for higher wages. That causes firms to increase prices, making high inflation self-fulfilling. Uncertainty about the future price level also discourages firms from investing, thereby hindering productivity. Wages may rise, but they won’t keep up with inflation.

Failing to attack the problem may therefore generate an even worse recession than the country currently faces. Such a negligent Fed would lose credibility and need to raise rates even higher to get inflation back down later on. What the Fed is doing now—raising rates by 0.75 percentage points at a time, eventually to reach somewhere around 4 or 5 percent—is a superior alternative. It is administering a mega-dose of antibiotics to kill an infection rather than letting the infection run rampant before cutting off the patient’s leg.

Suppose the Fed didn’t continue raising rates. It would effectively be admitting that it can’t achieve its congressionally mandated mission of low unemployment and stable inflation. In such a world, why would the Fed even bother with monetary policy? A credible and effective Fed is a very powerful tool. But a Fed that won’t raise rates when the economy is overheating is a central bank that can’t cut rates when it is in a recession. And if it gives up on inflation, it also gives up on full employment. Its power depends on its credibility to make hard choices. Some observers have become so accustomed to policymakers doing all they can to boost demand that they’ve forgotten there is no free lunch. The Fed is independent and powerful so that it can make the hard choices nobody wants but everybody needs.

Recessions have happened for many reasons. Sometimes they are unavoidable, owing to big external shocks. Other times they stem from over-investment and the natural business cycle. But the most frustrating recessions come from policy mistakes. A soft landing is still a possibility, if a seemingly remote one. And a Fed-caused recession will not be popular—even if is necessary. The hope is that such a contraction will be less painful than the alternative.

But Powell’s institution does deserve some blame: a series of policy errors, including loose monetary policy well into the pandemic, helped put the economy in its current position. If the looming threat of recession and the current market turbulence feels like the result of a policy mistake, that’s because it is. But the mistake isn’t raising rates now. It was failing to do so earlier.

Allison Schrager is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and author of An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk.

Rein in the Regulators

 For 11 consecutive days to start September, California told residents to cut their electricity use at night to avoid rolling blackouts. Amusingly, the state recommended that residents avoid charging electric automobiles mere days after passing an electric-vehicle mandate that bans the sale of new gas vehicles starting in 2035. The state’s elected leaders tout the rule as the law of the land, while 17 additional states that often adopt California regulations are weighing their options.

Though its consequences are momentous, the gas-powered car ban did not come from the California legislature. A majority of 14 unelected bureaucrats on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) made a sweeping regulatory decision that will soon affect every state resident. The pros and cons of the ban—which mandates that 35 percent of new cars sold in California be electric in 2026, 68 percent in 2030, and 100 percent in 2035—have been hotly debated. The power that CARB and other regulators have over citizens, however, deserves more attention.

CARB does not cite a state or federal statute to support its new regulation. Rather, the agency points to its general power to ensure clean air in California and to an executive order calling for a gas-car phase-out. Opponents have argued that CARB lacks authority to issue such sweeping regulations without legislation. “In general,” CARB’s own website concedes, “the rulemaking process begins with an initial enabling law, passed by the California legislature and signed by the Governor.”

Nevertheless, the legally dubious regulation may stand—like so many others. Regulations traditionally implement legislation or interpret a law’s unclear provisions to make it easier for citizens to follow. But many regulatory bodies at both the state and federal levels take broad action well beyond their traditional roles. Whether it’s the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency attempting to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under an expansive reading of federal statutes, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration imposing a Covid vaccine and testing mandate on all employers, or the CARB banning the sale of certain vehicles, regulators are often effectively legislating rather than merely clarifying existing law.

These decisions have real-world implications. Small businesses and the workers who depend on them for jobs are least equipped to keep track of these ever-changing requirements and must spend scarce resources to comply. Regulations like the gas-car ban can impose severe costs. Voters can hold lawmakers accountable for such laws, but regulators are shielded from such responsibility.

Still, options exist to rein them in. Mandatory pre-enactment review of all new regulations would protect citizens from suspect measures. States should require regulators to identify the legal authority for major new rules. When a proposed rule risks destabilizing the economy, states should require regulators to prove that the benefits outweigh the proposal’s costs. Strict adherence to these procedures would have given CARB pause before it finalized its gas-car ban. As it stands, California citizens have limited recourse to challenge the rulemaking.

Regulatory bloat hurts businesses, workers, and customers by driving up costs and stifling innovation. By requiring agencies to adopt structural reforms, states can ensure that businesses are burdened by only the most useful, not to mention legally permissible, regulations.

'Safe consumption' sites need far more scrutiny

 The supervised drug-injection nonprofit OnPointNYC, which runs city-authorized sites in East Harlem and Washington Heights, trumpeted its first-year results last week, claiming 500 lives saved from street-drug overdoses. Now that the Justice Department is weighing whether to permit other such establishments—drug czar Rahul Gupta has already signaled his support for the idea of “safe consumption”—it’s crucial that the impact of these two sites, the first in the nation, be examined.

No one argues that addicts dying from overdoses is not bad news. If such sites help save lives, the people spared may go on to better choices and spare their families grief.

But the OnPointNYC sites require far more scrutiny. Credit to CBS2 New York reporter Jessi Mitchell for pressing OnPointNYC executive director Sam Rivera on exactly this point last week. “How are you tracking the actual reduction of drug use?” he asked. Rivera’s response revealed how limited the evaluation of the site has been so far. “That’s difficult. It really is. It’s a challenge. So for us, it’s anecdotal,” he said. That’s simply not good enough for what advocates are touting as a potential nationwide model.

A serious evaluation of the program would include figures on drug use and overdoses in the immediate area and citywide, since the sites signal to the community that drug use is tolerated. We would need to follow the lives of all those who use the site: 1,700 over the past year. How many have quit drugs? Gotten jobs? Do they pay child support? If we really want to know whether such sites “work,” we would need to gather as much personal information as possible on the drug users who frequent them.

We would also need to consider the effects of safe-injection sites on the quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods. Washington Heights resident Led Black told CBS of increased drug use in and around Fort Washington Park, including at a 179th Street sidewalk encampment and a subway tunnel that has required multiple syringe clean-ups. “My question is harm reduction for who?’” said Black. “Is it only about drug addicts not dying? But what about our community dying?”

It’s just these sorts of questions that prompted no less a liberal than California governor Gavin Newsom last month to veto a bill that would have legalized safe-injection sites in that state. The approach, he said, lacked “well-documented, vetted, and thoughtful operational and sustainability plans.” The sites could, he added, lead to a “world of unintended consequences.”

“We know that people change sometimes through environments, through access, through believing they’re cared for in different ways,” Rivera told CBS. This view sums up the problem with advocacy of safe-consumption sites: their effectiveness is an article of faith for proponents. But that faith overlooks the possibility that this de facto legalization of street-drug use will indeed lead to a world of unintended consequences: an even larger flow of fentanyl across U.S. borders; syringes scattered on the sidewalks that kids use to walk to school; and addicts encouraged to use, not to reform.

A powerful signaling effect is at work here—a signal of defeatism. The city health department, which has authorized and promoted the safe-consumption sites, is telling us that drug use can be a “safe,” or at least low-risk, choice. These sites, along with marijuana legalization, put young lives at risk by delivering a message that no public-health authority should send.

Philadelphia is currently negotiating with the Justice Department to determine whether drug law can be interpreted to permit it to open a long-planned safe-consumption site. (The Trump administration had vigorously opposed such sites, winning a major court case against them last year. The fact that the Biden Justice Department has permitted the OnPointNYC sites to operate freely, in violation of federal controlled-substance law and without serious ongoing program evaluation, is hardly a good sign.) The Justice Department’s decision, which could come soon, will be another signal—this one regarding whether “safe consumption,” like pot legalization, will sweep the nation without caution and scrutiny.

Tesla previews humanoid robot, but Musk warns it’s not ready yet

 TESLA (TSLA.O) CEO Elon Musk said Friday that the humanoid robot the maker of the electric car eagerly awaits “Optimus” costs less than $20,000, and warned that it still has a long way to go before it is fully operational.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to improve and prove the Optimus,” Musk told the electric car maker’s AI Day event taking place at Tesla’s office in Palo Alto, California.

Currently, Musk said, robots are “missing a brain” — and the ability to solve problems on their own. By contrast, he said, Optimus will be a “super capable robot” that Tesla aims to produce by the millions. He said he expected it to cost less than $20,000.

Tesla said the company developed a prototype of its robot in February. This early model came out to wave to the crowd on Friday, and Tesla showed a video of it doing simple tasks, such as watering stations, carrying boxes and lifting metal rods at a production plant at Tesla’s California plant.

Representatives from Musk and Tesla acknowledged that there is a lot of work to be done to achieve the goal of mass-producing a robot at low cost, using Tesla-designed technology that will be able to replace humans at work.

Other automakers, including Toyota Motor (7203.T) and Honda Motor (7267.T)has developed prototypes of humanoid robots capable of doing complex things like shooting a basketball, and production robots from ABB and other mainstays of car manufacturing are.

But only Tesla is driving the market opportunity for a large-scale robot that can also be used in factory work.

Rolled out on stage by employees, the next generation of Tesla’s robot will use components designed by Tesla, including a 2.3 kWh battery pack mounted in its stem, a chip system and actuators to drive its limbs. The robot is designed to weigh 73 kg.

“He wasn’t quite ready to walk. But I think he’ll be walking in a few weeks,” Musk said.

Musk described the event as aimed at hiring workers, and the engineers on stage catered to the artistic audience. They detailed the process by which Tesla designed the robot’s hands and used simulated collision technology to test the robot’s ability to fall on its face without breaking.

Musk, who has spoken before about the dangers of AI, has said the mass proliferation of robots has the potential to “transform civilization” and create “a future of plenty, a future without poverty.” But he said he believed it was important for Tesla shareholders to have a role in examining the company’s efforts.

“If I go crazy, you can fire me,” Musk said. “this is important.”

Tesla also discussed its long-awaited self-driving technology at the event. Engineers working on the self-driving software described how they trained the software to choose actions, such as when to merge into traffic, and how they speed up computer decision-making.

In May, Musk said the world’s most valuable automaker would be “basically zero valued” without achieving full self-driving capability, and it faces mounting regulatory investigations, as well as technological hurdles.

Musk said he expects Tesla to achieve fully autonomous driving this year and mass-produce an automated taxi without a steering wheel or pedal by 2024.

At the “Autonomy” event in 2019, Musk promised one million automated cars by 2020, but he has not yet delivered such a car.

S.Korea, U.S. Agree to Implement Liquidity Measures if Needed

 The United States and South Korea agreed on Saturday to implement liquidity facilities to stabilise financial markets if needed, Korea's finance ministry said after a teleconference between finance chiefs of the two countries.

"The two countries are ready to work closely together to implement liquidity facilities when necessary, such as when financial instability is aggravated by the spread of liquidity crunch in major economies, including Korea," the ministry said in a statement said after a call between the U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and South Korea finance minister Choo Kyung-ho.

The won is near its lowest level since March 2009, has weakened 17% against the surging U.S. dollar so far in 2022.

NYC may not expand ‘universal’ 3-K program citing demand shift

 New York City says 3-K is here to stay — but may not add the seats considered necessary to expand the program to every family who wants it.

The city doubled down on Friday that officials are not “backing away” from their commitment to free universal preschool for 3-year-olds.

But Department of Education staffers told The Post that the future growth of the program is uncertain, claiming the agency’s Division of Early Childhood Education has fallen to the wayside under the current administration.

“I want to assure New York City families that this is absolutely not the case,” wrote Schools Chancellor David Banks in a Letter to the Editor in The New York Times on Friday.

The public letter came a week after the outlet published a story about Mayor Eric Adams retreating from an expansion of the popular 3-K for All — started under former Mayor Bill de Blasio and reliant on federal stimulus drying up following the pandemic.

Spokesperson Nathaniel Styer said on Friday that the agency is not committing to meeting de Blasio’s goal of 60,000 3-K seats — the number the prior administration estimated last year as necessary to be “universal.”

The city has affirmed that universal 3-K will remain.
The city may not add the seats considered necessary to expand the program to every family who wants it.
Stephen Yang

“That number was generated years ago, and demand has shifted since then,” Styer told The Post.

The DOE did not have a more recent figure of how many seats it needs to serve all families who want the program.

Officials have also repeatedly cited challenges with long-term funding for the program, which was built using COVID aid set to expire in a couple of years.

“We all agree that we must find a long-term funding source for the 3-K program,” said Banks in the Times letter.

“We’re committed to doing that — to ensure that 3-K is here to stay and that we’re able to provide a full range of great early childhood programs to all our families,” he added.

Instead, the administration is focused on shuffling seats among neighborhoods — so that programs are available where families are seeking them out the most.

The city offered 46,000 3-K seats last school year, and filled roughly 83% of them, according to the DOE. The agency rolled out another 8,000 seats this year in areas that needed more capacity.

De Blasio quietly threw his support last week behind a social media post blasting Adams’ approach. It was the first series of tweets liked by the former mayor since July, when he ended his congressional campaign.

They cited different desires and priorities within the department.
Department of Education staffers said that the future growth of the program is uncertain.
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

“We can’t take away the universal component,” read part of a Twitter thread liked by de Blasio. “Saying there are open seats in certain neighborhoods (per current admin) does NOT mean there isn’t demand.”

A rep for de Blasio did not return The Post’s inquiry on Friday.

The Times letter sparked some doubts on Friday from DOE staffers who worried early childhood is not a priority for the current administration.

One former central staffer — who resigned from from the Division of Early Childhood Education in frustration this month with no full-time job lined up — told The Post there was a steady exodus of employees, sowing confusion in who’s reporting to whom.

The staffer added the staff had been waiting for an organization chart for months, while a problem with the budget and sparse finance team meant they were unable to spend money on most non-personnel costs since July.

De Blasio started the program and financed it with COVID funds.
The DOE backtracked on de Blasio’s goal of 60,000 3-K seats.
Richard Harbus for the New York Post

“Early childhood expansion, and making a stand that it is for every child — high quality for every child — I think is a major thing we did in New York City,” said the whistleblower. “It’s upsetting to me that we’d let people come in and just gut it.”

“I think the quality will go down for what our children are experiencing, because ultimately we are not functioning. We are a mess at central,” she added.

Humberto Cruz-Chavarria, another former central staffer who oversaw multilingual 3-K and pre-K programs until his resignation this summer, suggested his programs were put on the back-burner in his final months under a category considered “special projects.”

“We have to think about the crisis for parents,” said Cruz-Chavarria. “What are parents going to do if they don’t have access to universal services?”

“It seems like the work is dismantling what was built in the previous administration,” he added.

The DOE, however, said the number of employees leaving the division is normal, given broader workforce and administration transitions.

The city’s 3-K program includes a mix of educational settings, including city-contracted daycares, home-based child care providers, DOE preschools and federal Head Start programs.

The Post previously reported that the city owes contracted programs millions of dollars in reimbursements from last school year — a delay putting thousands of families “at grave risk” of losing services.

By declaring a killer ‘mentally ill,’ NYC officials dodge all accountability

 Another day, another “random” murder of a New York woman who has the gall to show her face in public. This week, it was 61-year-old EMT Alison Russo-Elling, a 9/11 veteran months away from retirement.

The city’s narrative, inevitably, is going to be that the killer was “mentally ill.” In the midst of a pandemic of mentally ill madmen killing women, we need far better accountability from the people in charge of keeping the “untreated mentally ill” from killing us.

First of all, let’s not be so quick to exonerate the alleged culprit, Peter Zisopoulos, on grounds that he “needs help” or is a sign of the “failed system,” just like we did with Simon Martial, who shoved Michelle Go under a train in January.

Martial was found unfit to stand trial — but he had some idea of what he was doing: choosing a smaller victim, timing his shove to be fatal, and fleeing the scene and later turning himself in.

Similarly, Zisopoulos had some idea of what he was doing. He took a steak knife out with him on his deadly walk around Astoria last Thursday. He picked a person in uniform. Prosecutors can’t dismiss the possibility that this was a targeted assassination, just like the 2014 Christmastime double-murder of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on patrol. Zisopoulos may have held a grudge against EMTs, for taking him to the hospital previously as an “emotionally disturbed person.”

If so, this isn’t mental illness; it’s revenge.

She was stabbed with a steak knife.
Russo-Elling was on her way to get food alone when she was killed.

And he picked a woman, walking by herself — at least the fourth time this year a female has been deliberately murdered by a crazed stranger. Zisopoulos, like Martial, also fled the scene. Besides Go, there was Christina Yuna Lee in February, stabbed by a man who followed her home on the Lower East Side, and Dorothy Clarke-Rozier, also in February, fatally stabbed on a Brooklyn street walking to work. In pre-2020 New York, just one such murder annually would have been unusual.

But OK, let’s say this is all severe mental illness, and not misogyny. Where’s the accountability on prevention?

In 2018, EMTs took Zisopoulos to the city-run Elmhurst Hospital, for making threats against another vulnerable group, Asians. What happened? Did the hospital stabilize him? Did it create a treatment plan? Did he stick to it? Has he had any further interactions with the mental-health system?

Nothing was done about the threats.
EMTs took Zisopoulos to Elmhurst Hospital, for making threats against Asians.

If cops had arrested Zisopoulos for his anti-Asian threats, we’d know the outcome. There would be a court record. Commanders must answer to NYPD brass, and precinct leaders must appear each month at community meetings, and must explain why a particular nuisance hasn’t been fixed.

This public pressure works. Cops have (mostly) stopped the loud overnight parties in Washington Square Park. Even Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has to answer for his decisions to release violent defendants, time after time, to watch their criminal behavior escalate. We might not like what’s going on, but at least we know what’s going on.

The public-health system for preventing dangerous mentally ill people from behaving violently is, by contrast, a black box.

Many blame the state's new bail reform laws.
Under Alvin Bragg, crime has surged in the city.

In Martial’s case, the Times found that “some hospitals in the city were refusing to even admit patients they find too disruptive.” Imagine if the Department of Correction said that it couldn’t admit some people to jail because they were too disruptive (solves the solitary-confinement problem, at least).

The mayor doesn’t require mental-health and social-services chiefs to appear at monthly precinct meetings and explain why we have more knife-wielding maniacs walking the streets.

Maybe we need a Compstat for what happens when a potentially violent person, or an already violent person, disappears into the mental-health system (anonymized, of course). What’s the recidivism rate? Are psychiatrists any good at this? Who’s responsible when someone is deemed well enough for release, and then attacks someone?

The city’s contracting for mental-health services increased by two-thirds over three years, from $268 million in 2019 to $435 million in 2022. Is it working? Is it too much or not enough?

We have no idea. Conveniently for progressive pols, transferring a violent person out of the criminal-justice system and into the mental-health system does accomplish one thing: getting rid of all accountability, both for the perpetrator and for themselves.

Nicole Gelinas is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.

Hochul secretly huddles with billionaire megadonor who had hospitals bailed out by state

 Gov. Kathy Hochul attended a secret meeting this week at the Upper East Side townhouse of Alexander Rovt — a billionaire mega-donor to her campaign whose hospital network was bailed out by the state in April.

A source provided The Post a video of Hochul — who is already under fire over accusations of pay to play campaign donations involving an overpriced, no-bid $637 million COVID test contract — entering Rovt’s mansion on East 68th Street Thursday morning.

Rovt, 70, is chairman of the board of One Brooklyn Health Systems Inc., which runs a network of medical facilities where the coronavirus reportedly ran wild during the first, deadly wave of the pandemic.

Its hospitals include the financially distressed Interfaith Medical Center, Kingsbrook and Brookdale.

The state budget — approved by Hochul and the legislature in April — pumped $1.7 billion into a network of “financially distressed” hospitals that include Rovt’s One Brooklyn system.

State campaign finance records show Rovt and his wife, Olga, donated the maximum $139,400 to Hochul’s campaign.

She is facing off against Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for governor, in a bid to remain New York’s chief executive after taking over when Andrew Cuomo resigned last year in a sexual harassment and misconduct scandal.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, under fire for pay to play donations involving a $676 million COVID test kit contract, was seen walking into the Upper East Side townhouse of billionaire industrialist and real estate mogul Alexander Rovt.
Gov. Kathy Hochul was seen walking into the Upper East Side townhouse of billionaire industrialist and real estate mogul Alexander Rovt.
NY Post

Rovt has also had ownership interests in the Optima Care Smithtown nursing home, and a home health care agency, Prime Health Choice, where he serves on the board. He sought and won state approvals for nursing homes from then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration in 2016.

There’s also a business proposal at play, hatched by the Hochul administration, that could aid hospitals linked to Rovt.

In July, the state Health Department told NY Presbyterian Weill-Cornell it would only grant approval of a new $8.4 million heart transplant center in Manhattan if the hospital formed a partnership with Rovt’s One Brooklyn system, or another operator, to provide $50 million in primary health care in Brooklyn and Queens, the Empire Center for Public Policy reported.

“She would be an extremely valuable person for anybody in the health care industry to know and have a relationship with,” Empire Center’s health analyst Bill Hammond said of Hochul.

Hochul has been under fire for pay to play donations.
NY Post

Meanwhile, the Daily Beast wrote in a 2021 expose of Rovt’s business dealings during the COVID-19 outbreak: “The vast domain Rovt built with his state contracts, grants, and approvals were the scene of some of the outbreak’s worst carnage.

The Ukrainian native, who made a killing selling fertilizer in the old Soviet Union, has already maxed out in giving donations to Hochul alongside his wife — with the couple giving a total $139,400 to her campaign.

He is an active philanthropist, particularly involving Jewish causes. He had relatives who died in the Holocaust. A source involved in a charity who met Rovt in his office said he was accompanied by an armed private security guard.

The mogul owns at least 30 properties in New York and owns the IBE Trade Corp as well as a trophy property at Bankers Trust building at 14 Wall St., a 37-story building that he bought with cash 10 years ago.

The mogul bought another property on East 63 Street in 2005, which Forbes magazine called his “Man Cave.” He gutted the place and rebuilt it with reinforced concrete with brick facing and retractable bulletproof shades covering the windows. It also included a cigar room, 12 bathrooms and solid 14-karat gold fixtures in the master bath.

He later sold it.

Gov. Kathy Hochul walks into apartment building
Rovt and his wife, Olga, donated the maximum $139,400 to Hochul’s campaign.
NY Post

The couple has donated more than $2 million to candidates over the years — including Donald Trump, Chuck Schumer, Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton and hundreds of thousands of dollars to the New York State Democratic Committee — and even bad boys like ex-congressman Anthony Weiner and former councilman Hiram Monserrate.

Rovt’s also a big donor to troubled Maimonides Medical Center’s heart and vascular institute.

The Daily Beast said Cuomo’s campaign account received $1 million alone when factoring in donations from Rovt’s associates and companies.

Hochul walks into apartment building
Rovt has been a donor for both Hochul and Cuomo.
NY Post

Another recipient of his financial largess – the felonious ex-state Sen. Carl Kruger – even had the upper chamber of the state Legislature pass a resolution in his honor in 2009, just months after $9,500 of Rovt cash landed in his campaign war chest.

Hochul’s campaign and government office remained mum Friday on her visit to Rovt’s townhouse, declining repeated requests for comment on the purpose of the meeting.