New York

Meet the Lobbyists Who Are Already Working to Influence Incoming NY Governor Kathy Hochul

Cindy Schultz | Reuters
  • Kathy Hochul will take over as New York's governor in about two weeks, replacing Andrew Cuomo, who is resigning. Several lobbyists already have a leg up in the race to influence her.
  • Hochul, who was elected the state's lieutenant governor in 2014, has dealt with several lobbyists across a range of industries already this year.
  • Some of the lobbyists who have been in touch with her had ties to Cuomo's late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former Gov. David Paterson.

Kathy Hochul won't take over as New York's governor for about two weeks, but several lobbyists already have a leg up in the race to influence her.

Hochul, who was elected the state's lieutenant governor in 2014, has dealt with several lobbyists across a range of industries already this year.

She will replace Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he announced on Tuesday that he would be resigning in two weeks in the wake of a state Attorney General's report that said he sexually harassed 11 women. Cuomo, who has continued to deny wrongdoing, had been under investigation for several months before he quit.

"I am sure in Albany lobbying world they raced to curry favor with Kathy Hochul, starting with the cascade of accusations earlier this year," a longtime Democratic insider with ties to state leadership told CNBC. "I bet that's when her phone started going off the hook, because Albany lobbyists know when there's about to be a sea change." This person declined to be named in order to speak freely.

On Wednesday, Hochul said that she has already been in touch with state legislative leaders as well as heads of businesses and labor groups. She also vowed to clean up the toxic work environment Cuomo has been accused of overseeing.

Hochul, who will be the state's first female governor, had heard from some of the state's top donors prior to Cuomo's resignation announcement.

Some of the lobbyists who have been in touch with her had ties to Cuomo's late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former Gov. David Paterson.

Andrew Cuomo's ties to lobbyists include Giorgio DeRosa, the father of Cuomo's longtime aide Melissa DeRosa. DeRosa and his team have, at times, lobbied Hochul's staff for a variety of clients.

A spokesman for DeRosa's firm, Bolton-St. Johns, said their team is looking forward to working with Hochul and the next mayor of New York City, who is expected to be Democratic nominee Eric Adams. 

Here are the lobbying shops that have been in touch with Hochul this year.

Kasirer

A lobbying disclosure report shows that between May and June, the firm Kasirer spoke directly with Hochul along with state lawmakers. The effort was for Columbia Care Inc., a cannabis product dispensary company that has locations in New York.

The focus for Kasirer, according to the report, was for "relationship building regarding cannabis legislation." Cuomo signed a bill in March that would legalize recreational marijuana use in the Empire State. Hochul will now be responsible for implementing the policy going forward.

One of the lobbyists listed on the report who lobbied Hochul is Suri Kasirer, the founder and president of the firm. Kasirer was part of Gov. Mario Cuomo's executive staff. Crain's has called Kasirer "New York City's most successful lobbyist."

Kasirer's website lists numerous corporate clients, including Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley; real estate giants such as RXR, Brookfield, Tishman and Brodsky, and media companies including Comcast and NBCUniversal, parent companies of CNBC.

The firm did not respond to requests for comment.

Sheridan Hohman & Associates

Sheridan Hohman & Associates, a lobbying shop run by Tim Sheridan and Katie Hohman, reached out to Hochul this summer.

Sheridan was the director of governmental affairs under Mario Cuomo. Between May and June, they lobbied Hochul and other state representatives for the New York Association of Training & Employment Professionals, a nonprofit that focuses on workforce development within the state.

The lobbying report says their efforts focused on "state funding" for a "workforce development initiative."

The firm did not respond to a request for comment.

Shenker Russo & Clark

Shenker Russo & Clark, an Albany firm that was representing the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, lobbied Hochul, according to a disclosure report.

Theresa Russo is the firm's CEO. Russo, co-managing partner Doug Clark and other leaders at the office are listed on the lobbying report showing their recent engagement with Hochul. Russo once worked for Giuliani and Paterson.

Russo and Clark told CNBC in an email that they have known Hochul for years, dating back to her time in Congress, and are looking forward to advocating on behalf of their clients with the new administration.

"She has always been a person of great integrity and intelligence — qualities that will serve her well as she begins this new chapter," Russo and Clark said in a joint statement. "We have spoken with her as Lt. Governor on behalf of clients, and have always appreciated her willingness to listen to all sides of an issue."

Dickinson & Avella

Dickinson & Avella, another Albany shop that has a string of corporate clients, also lobbied Hochul.

The lobbying took place between May and June for Silvercup Services, which has the same address as Silvercup Studios, one of the largest film and television production studios in New York City. Some of the projects shot at Silvercup Studios locations include Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" and hit HBO series "Succession" and "The Sopranos."

Michael Avella and Christina Dickinson, both partners at the firm, are listed on the lobbying report. It says they engaged directly with Hochul on a state bill involving a film tax credit.

The firm's leaders did not respond to requests for comment.

A representative for Hochul did not respond to a request for comment before publication.

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