Tag Archives: John Catsimatidis

Candidates come out to Rockaway Beach


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Benjamin Fang

BENJAMIN FANG

Political candidates recently spoke at the Friends of Rockaway Beach forum, where they affirmed their commitment to address the needs of the Rockaway community.

Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner headlined the forum for the district he once represented in Congress. Democratic mayoral candidates Comptroller John Liu, former Councilmember Sal Albanese and Republicans John Catsimatidis and Joe Lhota also made their cases to the voters.

Borough President candidates Melinda Katz and State Senator Tony Avella, Councilmember Eric Ulrich and his challengers Lew Simon and William Ruiz, and Public Advocate candidates Letitia James and Cathy Guerriero also addressed the packed room.

“We’re going to ask them to tell us their plans for our beaches, our boardwalk, our play areas,” said John Cori, co-president of Friends of Rockaway Beach and the organizer of the event. “We need to hold our elected officials accountable.”

The candidates talked about greater protection for the beach, improving transportation to and from Rockaway and giving the community a greater voice in City Hall.

Weiner, recently scandalized once more for “sexting,” slammed City Hall for creating “hipster-looking concessions” on the beach rather than restoring it. He also demanded extended ferry service, which is set to end by Labor Day.

“Rockaway might be this far away place to City Hall, but it won’t be if I’m mayor,” he said.
Katz then questioned the city’s readiness and response to Sandy, a topic the audience was hoping to discuss.

“Where are the double dunes that will protect the homes?” asked Katz. “Where’s the evacuation plan?”

She also talked about investing in the Rockaways and building it “better than it was.”
Avella blasted both Katz and Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., two leading candidates for Borough President, for their voting records while in the City Council.

Avella’s plan for the Rockaways includes giving the area a railroad line, getting rid of tolls and 24 hours of bus service.

Ulrich touted his record in the City Council and stressed how participatory budgeting gave way to success.

“In those four-and-a-half years, I’ve been able to secure, with your help, millions and millions of dollars in capital improvements and programming for senior centers, for schools, for libraries, to keep our firehouses open,” he said.

His challenger, Simon, gave an impassioned speech about the devastated community and the need to rebuild it.

“There’s no boardwalk. There are no benches. There’s nothing here!” said Simon. “I want to be chair of the Parks and Recreation committee. I want to make sure our boardwalk is built.”

Other candidates for mayor and public advocate also courted the Rockaway vote and spoke about focusing on the Rockaways if elected.

 

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Anthony Weiner responds to sexting allegations


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Anthony Weiner’s sex scandal troubles are ready for their own comeback.

The Dirty, a gossip and satire website, is claiming that the mayoral candidate’s sexting did not end with his June 2011 resignation from Congress.

But this time, Weiner is not denying the allegations.

In a statement released today, he said some of the claims published on the site are true.

“I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have,” Weiner said. “As I have said in the past, these things that I did were wrong and hurtful to my wife and caused us to go through challenges in our marriage that extended past my resignation from Congress. While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong.”

“This behavior is behind me,” the statement continued. “I’ve apologized to Huma [Abedin, Weiner’s wife] and am grateful that she has worked through these issues with me and for her forgiveness. I want to again say that I am very sorry to anyone who was on the receiving end of these messages and the disruption that this has caused. As my wife and I have said, we are focused on moving forward.”

The site posted screenshots of sexually explicit online messages between the former Queens congressmember and a then-22-year-old woman.

The Dirty quoted the young woman, who is choosing to remain anonymous, as claiming to have had an online and over-the-phone relationship with Weiner for six months starting in July 2012. She “believed they were in love,” according to www.thedirty.com.

The woman also said that after Weiner started the relationship with her through Facebook, he promised her a job at the news publication Politico and a condo in Chicago, among other things.

By August, the relationship had escalated to phone sex and exchanging naked photos, according to the woman.

Weiner would allegedly send pictures of his genitals to her using the name “Carlos Danger.” The Dirty posted one of those photos online along with the woman’s claims.

The two even planned to meet to have sex, she said.

“We only spoke once in December 2012, and then I didn’t hear from Anthony Weiner again until April 11, 2013 when a [New York Times] article about him was released,” she told The Dirty. “He reactivated his Facebook and asked me what I thought of it.”

Following Weiner’s latest confession, Democratic mayoral candidate Sal Albanese said that these latest allegations prove that he is “unfit to serve as mayor.

“Unfortunately, my other opponents have danced around the issue. I’m not going to do that,” he said in a statement. “I’m calling for Anthony Weiner to do right by New Yorkers and withdraw from the race.”

Mayoral candidates, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, and Republican John Catsimatidis, also called for Weiner’s resignation today.

In a press conference Tuesday evening Weiner refused to quit the race, and apologized, standing by his initial statement.

“I’m responsible for this behavior that led [my wife and me] to be in this place, but in many ways things are not that much different than they were yesterday,” said Weiner.

He reiterated that he wouldn’t dispute any allegations, but wouldn’t confirm specifics.

Weiner did address the timeline of events admitting, “some of these things happened before my resignation, some of them happened after.”

His wife also spoke , saying that her husband made “some horrible mistakes” before and after he left Congress, but that they had worked through it.

“I love him. I have forgiven him. I believe in him,” she stated. “And, as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward.”

Updated July 23, 6:16 p.m.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers. High of 95F with a heat index of 100F. Breezy. Winds from the SW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Classic Film Fridays

A Better Jamaica presents The Spy Who Loved Me. James Bond joins forces with dangerous and sexy Russian agent Major Anya Amasova to battle villainous Jaws, a mad genius who plans to destroy the earth with a nuclear holocaust and rebuild it underwater. Free at Rufus King Park . Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Billions in debt, Detroit tumbles into insolvency 

Detroit, the cradle of America’s automobile industry and once the nation’s fourth-most-populous city, filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, the largest American city ever to take such a course. Read more: The New York Times 

Reality (show) bites 

A Queens man who thought he won his own yogurt franchise on a Food Network reality show claims in a new lawsuit that he got stiffed on the jackpot. Kris Herrera, 34, of Corona said he signed off on letting the episode of “Giving You the Business” run only because he thought he would be getting his own outlet of the yogurt chain 16 Handles. Read more: New York Post

Billionaire John Catsimatidis shows diverse financial portfolio of companies

It’s no secret he’s a fat cat. But Republican mayoral contender John Catsimatidis’ first city financial disclosure report since announcing his candidacy reveals that the billionaire grocery magnate is also a real estate baron who owns an oil refining company and a charter jet business that’s flown rock stars like Paul McCartney and the Goo Goo Dolls. Read more: New York Daily News 

 Derailment to Hamstring morning commute for Metro-North Hudson Line customers 

Commuters who rely on the Metro-North Hudson line will likely have to find a different way to get to work Friday morning. A freight train derailment in the Bronx forced service on the Hudson line to be suspended indefinitely, the transit agency announced Thursday night. Read more: CBS

New poll shows Quinn leading dems in mayoral race 

A new poll released this morning finds City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is rising above former Rep. Anthony Weiner in the Democratic race for mayor, with undecided voters still likely to play a big role. The Siena College-New York Times poll finds Quinn getting the support of 27 percent of Democratic voters, compared to Weiner with 18 percent. Read more: NY1

 Hamill: Howard Beach mom who lost her son shares Trayvon Martin’s mother’s pain

The mother weeps for the mother. More than 25 years after her son was killed in Howard Beach, the mother of Michael Griffith grieves for the mother of Trayvon Martin. Read more: New York Daily News

Actor Tony Lo Bianco to take Queens stage as Fiorello LaGuardia


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Tony Lo Bianco

Tony Award-nominated actor Tony Lo Bianco will transport a Queens audience back to 1945 and three–term mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s last days in office.

Lo Bianco’s one-man show, “The Little Flower,” will take the stage at Queens Theatre on Thursday, June 20.

Lo Bianco has starred in an Academy Award-winning film and acted in television and on stage. “The Little Flower” marks an expansion of his directing and producing talents.

“The play is really a parallel about what is going on in our country today,” he said. “Many things that happened back then reflect what is going to happen.”

A TV version of the play previously won five daytime Emmys. It offers a historic look into the life and career of LaGuardia, who was mayor from 1934 to 1945. Lo Bianco, who discovered the play in 1984, described the mayor as a “man of sacrifice” because of his efforts for the poor and unfortunate.

“He was a very colorful character,” Lo Bianco said. “He really cared about the people, but he was fair and logical.”

The show takes audiences through important moments in LaGuardia’s life, shining a light on how he was able to help shape troubling times during the 20th century.

Lo Bianco now owns the play and has rewritten it to have broader appeal.

He hopes that along with entertaining audiences with its comedic elements, the play will move people to take action and become involved in their country and government.

“Every day is another scandal,” he said. “I think people are so busy dealing with their own problems that they are not paying attention to what is going to affect our future.”

The play is sponsored by mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis, who a spokesperson described as an admirer of LaGuardia.

“LaGuardia always used to say there is no Republican or Democratic way to pick up the garbage,” Rob Ryan said. “You run the city as a New Yorker.”

“The Little Flower” starts at 7:30 p.m. at Queens Theatre and has a running time of about 100 minutes. For ticket reservations, email queensjune20@gmail.com or call 917-628-5314.

 

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Candidates answer questions at Courier mayoral forum


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

The Democratic, Republican and independent mayoral candidates all came together on one stage for the first time since the race to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg began.

The Courier hosted its Mayoral Forum on Friday, June 7 at Terrace on the Park with Democrats Sal Albanese, Bill de Blasio, John Liu, Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson and Anthony Weiner joined Republicans John Catsimatidis, George McDonald, Joe Lhota and independent Adolfo Carrion. Moderator and NY1 anchor Rocco Vertuccio asked questions pertaining to both borough and city issues.

Vertuccio kicked off the event with a question about handling labor contracts for city workers.

“The municipal work force is demoralized,” Albanese said. “Many haven’t gotten a raise in five years.”

The former councilmember said he would do his best to provide retroactive pay for the workforce without raising taxes.

Carrion suggested establishing a cost-sharing relationship with the city’s workforce, while Lhota said workers do not pay their fair share when it comes to healthcare costs.

“We don’t want to go backwards,” McDonald said, adding he would not sign a labor contract that did not include a cost of participation for healthcare by municipal employees.

He also said there are “too many city employees” and that the city should utilize available technology to fulfill the tasks of some jobs.

Weiner agreed the city needs to take control of spending, especially healthcare costs, and utilize local pharmacies and labs to keep “our healthcare money here in Queens.” He was the only candidate to stand while speaking.

The Major League Soccer (MLS) development in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was a source of disagreement, with some candidates taking a pro-development stance and others aiming to preserve as much parkland as possible.

De Blasio, the city’s public advocate, said he lived near the park and has a “personal sense” of how much Flushing Meadows means to people.

“Sports don’t necessarily help out the larger economy,” he said.

However, he said that finding a way to create a stadium that gives an opportunity to keep the same amount of parkland would be a “worthy discussion.”

“I’m all for having a stadium somewhere in the city, but we can’t burden Flushing Meadows,” Lhota said.

He added we should not be taking parkland and using it for other initiatives. Lhota suggested allocating the funds to renovate the New York State Pavilion instead.

City Comptroller Liu, a Queens native, said he wants to make sure there is no alienation of parkland and that it should not be sold to public interests.

Before leaving for another engagement, City Council Speaker Quinn said it is “critically important to have the utmost respect for the community and voice of the local elected officials.”

She added that is why she has been working with Councilmember Julissa Ferreras on the area’s proposed tennis center.

Former Congressmember Weiner said he is pro-development and would love to have MLS in the borough, but first, he joked, he’d “love to have major league baseball here in Queens.”

“I’m a Mets fan. I can say it,” he said with a laugh.

One citywide issue concerned government’s alleged use of violation fines as a source of revenue. The Bloomberg administration has come under criticism by some who fines placed upon small businesses are unfair. Vertuccio asked the candidates what they would do.

Catsimatidis, once a small business owner himself, proposed a “business advocate group” within the city. When business owners are fined and believe it is unwarranted, they would not need to hire a lawyer. In Catsimatidis’ proposal, the advocacy group would fight on the owner’s behalf.

“New York City is at war with its small businesses,” Thompson said.

McDonald said his city sweeping company cleans the streets outside of merchants’ sites and “saves [them] millions of dollars a year in fines.”

When it came to city cultural institutions and the yearly “budget dance” that such organizations experience, all the candidates agreed there needs to be more control over the mayoral budget, saying the confusion should end.

Thompson said the city should put more money into cultural institutions and place art and music education back in the public school system.

PHOTOS FROM THE MAYORAL FORUM

Some candidates briefly showed their claws during the forum’s closing remarks. Albanese made reference to Weiner’s controversial fall from office.

“Weiner is interesting,” Albanese said. “He’s very political and articulate. But I believe it’s important if you want to be the mayor of New York City to have credibility. He’s betrayed the public trust on several occasions. I think that disqualifies him from running for mayor.”

The remark was met with sounds of disapproval from the panel, with McDonald tapping loudly on his microphone.

Moving on, de Blasio described his proposal to tax the “wealthiest New Yorkers so we can have full day pre-kindergarten programs for our kids.”

Catsimatidis called himself “the balance,” saying he has not taken any campaign donations from political contributors.

Carrion said he is running as an independent to “ensure this city of promise gives this opportunity to our generation and future generations.”

Candidates will continue to blaze down the campaign trail until the primary election in September, followed by the mayoral election in November.

 

 

Republican candidate Tom Allon drops out of NYC mayor’s race


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Sunday the Democratic mayoral field widened, but today the list of Republican candidates is shorter.

Newspaper publisher Tom Allon announced Monday that he is dropping out of the 2013 race for mayor of New York City.

In a statement, the CEO of Manhattan Media said he was withdrawing his bid after acquiring City and State Media, which exclusively covers New York government and politics.

“While no longer a candidate, I will continue to passionately and relentlessly pursue a reform agenda as an education activist, a columnist and blogger, and parent of three teenagers,” said Allon.

In the primary the ex-Democrat was set to face former head of the MTA Joe Lhota, supermarket billionaire John Catsimatidis and Doe Fund founder George McDonald.

“I entered this race in 2011 to offer the voters of New York City a choice that was different from the career politicians who at the time seemed likely to be the only Mayoral candidates in the campaign-to-come, but the equation has changed in the months since,” Allon also said in his statement. “I have been gratified to hear Joe Lhota, John Catsimatidis, Bill Thompson, Christine Quinn and others voice some of my education and economic development ideas and I hope the next mayor will see them to fruition.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Friday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 48. Breezy. Winds from the WSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 20%. Friday night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain in the evening, then overcast with a chance of snow. Low of 32. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 30% .

EVENT OF THE DAY: Wreck-It Ralph in 3-D at NYSCI

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping journey in 3-D. Wreck-It Ralph longs to be a hero. So when a new game arrives, he sneaks into it with a plan to win a medal, but soon wrecks everything, and accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. Playing at the New York Hall of Science Friday, March 15 and Friday, March 22 at 5 p.m. $9 adults/$7 children, seniors and students with ID. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Man charged in Queens murders, brush fire due in court

A Brooklyn man is due in court Friday in the murders of two men whose bodies were found in a burning brush fire in Queens. Read more: AP/ABC New York

Census records show more people are moving to NYC

The entrances to the Big Apple are now busier than the exits. For the first time in half a century, more people are moving into the city than moving out, helping to swell the population to a record of 8,336,697, according to Census data released yesterday. Read more: New York Post

Former New York Gov. Pataki endorses John Catsimatidis for NYC mayor

Billionaire mayoral hopeful John Catsimatidis on Thursday picked up his biggest endorsement yet: former Gov. George Pataki. Read more: New York Daily News

David Wright wants to rejoin U.S. Lineup; sore ribs a concern for Mets

David Wright was scratched from the World Baseball Classic game Thursday against the Dominican Republic because of sore ribs, and U.S. manager Joe Torre isn’t expecting him to rejoin the lineup. Read more: CBS New York

Critics wave knives and hockey stick at U.S. air safety hearing

The top U.S. transportation security official on Thursday defended his controversial move to allow small knives to be carried onto airplanes, despite protests from flight attendants and lawmakers who say it will endanger the flying public. Read more: Reuters

How will Pope Francis deal with church sex abuse scandal?

The election of a new pope could help heal the wounds left by a Roman Catholic sex abuse crisis that has savaged the church’s reputation worldwide. For alleged victims, much depends on whether Pope Francis disciplines the priests and the hierarchy that protected them. Read more: AP/ABC New York

 

Queens GOP lawsuit claims election commissioner wrongly ousted


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A recent lawsuit filed by the head of the Queens County GOP, Phil Ragusa, and reportedly funded by Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis, alleges that the Board of Elections Queens County Republican Commissioner was wrongly ousted from the position.

According to court records, Ragusa, as well as the ousted commissioner, Judith Stupp, are claiming that three members of the New York City Council’s Republican caucus, including Councilmember Erich Ulrich, appointed Michael Michel as the new Republican Commissioner, even though Stupp had already been appointed to another term.

Following procedure, Ragusa said that he signed a Certificate of Recommendation and, according to when he filed it by mail, presumed that it was received by the Office of the Clerk of the Council by November 24 at the latest, and within the time allowed to make the reappointment legitimate.

But the caucus, claiming that it wasn’t filed correctly, appointed a new Republican Commissioner, Michel, on January 25.

Councilmember Ulrich was the only party reached as of press time and declined to comment.

 

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Quinn increases mayoral lead in new poll


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Official NYC City Council photo by William Alatriste

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Christine Quinn’s chances of becoming the next mayor of New York City seem more likely, a new survey finds.

A NY1-Marist poll found that City Council Speaker, who has not formally announced her candidacy, is heavily favored by 37 percent of registered Democrats in the city, up from 23 percent in October,

Quinn gave her last State of the City address as speaker on Tuesday, February 12 where she focused on the middle class.

Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson is far behind in second with 13 percent and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is currently in third with 12 percent.

On the Republican side, former MTA chairman Joe Lhota holds an advantage with 20 percent of registered Republicans favoring his run for mayor. George McDonald, founder of the Doe Fund, a charity that supports the homeless, is currently in second with eight percent of the vote, followed by billionaire John Catsimatidis with five percent.

 

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Former Councilmember Sal Albanese kicks off mayoral campaign


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Albanese for Mayor 2013

Former Councilmember Sal Albanese, who recently announced he’s running for mayor as an independent Democrat, has high hopes for improving public safety and the city’s education system.

Albanese, who represented mostly Bay Ridge for 14 years, said he was building a campaign based on voter needs and not special interest groups.

“We’re building a grass-roots campaign around the city,” Albanese, 63, told The Courier. “I want to get to City Hall with a broad base of support.”

Albanese spent 11 years as a teacher and said he would partner with education colleges throughout the city and strengthen the student-teacher program if elected mayor.

Albanese said he would hire 3,800 new police .officers for patrols in the outer boroughs where crime might be ignored or under-reported. “If you have nobody on patrol…these things can drive people out of neighborhoods,” he said.

For Queens, Albanese said he would focus on ensuring continued development is done properly, and the borough recovers and rebuilds after Sandy.

All options and effects should be explored before officially jumping on a project such as the proposed Major League Soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. “[It] could really be a positive thing,” he said. “But we have to balance that with the parkland.”

Despite a lengthy term on the council, Albanese has not been in public office for about 15 years and is running in a primary against many Democratic incumbents. Some opponents include: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson.

On the Republican front:

Less than a week after his announcement, and after a long-expected endorsement, Republican Mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis picked up the backing of the Queens GOP on Friday, February 1.

“John Catsimatidis has the right experience as an independent businessman to lead New York and solve our city’s problems with common sense,” said party chair Phil Ragusa in a statement. The grocery store magnet is one of only a handful of candidates whose career hasn’t been in public service. Upon his endorsement, Catsimatidis noted his father worked as a bus boy at Riccardo’s in Astoria.

“I am very pleased to accept the Queens County Republican Party’s official endorsement,” Catsimatidis said. “My father who came over from the old country when I was just six months of age worked hard for our family and taught me the value of hard work and because he worked hard we never knew we were poor.”

 

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Grocery mogul Catsimatidis announces run for mayor


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Facebook/.johncatsimatidis2013.com

It’s getting crowded.

The Republican race for the mayor’s office tallied another candidate on Tuesday when John A. Catsimatidis announced he was running for the hotly contested position.

Catsimatidis, owner, president and CEO of grocery chain Red Apple Group, parent company of Gristedes, announced his candidacy on the steps of City Hall and promised to represent all New Yorkers, in every borough, if elected. His platform is based on strengthening the school system, better public safety and tax relief for the middle class.

“I want to be a mayor for all the neighborhoods of our great city,” he said in a campaign statement. “For Richmond Hill and Flushing, for Canarsie and Williamsbridge, for Harlem and for Wall Street for Riverdale and Throgs Neck and for Tottenville and New Dorp. I want to be a mayor who fairly represents all New Yorkers whether you are a cab driver from South Asia, a bodega owner from the Caribbean or an aspiring actor from the Midwest.”

The produce magnate is one of the few candidates from either party who has not spent the bulk of his career in public service. His main Republican opponent, former MTA chair Joe Lhota, was a budget director and then deputy mayor for former Mayor Rudoplh Guiliani. He’s also facing philanthropist George McDonald, chair of the homeless aid group, The Doe Fund.

“Unlike many of my opponents are who professional politicians and products of the cronyism of the political club house,” Catsimatidis said, “I come to this race as an independent businessman who will offer commonsense solutions to the problems that affect New York.”

Catsimatidis, 64, has a net worth of $3 billion as of last September, according to Forbes, and is ranked 132 in the magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americans.

Queens Republican chair Phil Ragusa said while the party has not officially endorsed a candidate, Catsimatidis has had support in the party based on his initiative to create jobs and fight for residents’ rights.

Photo: Twitter/@JCats2013

 

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MTA head Joe Lhota resigns to explore mayoral run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA/Flickr

Following the MTA board’s approval of his fare hike proposal, CEO and Chairman Joe Lhota announced that he will resign, effective December 31, to consider running for New York City mayor in 2013.

At the announcement, Lhota said that he would make “no further comment” on his mayoral candidacy until early January, when he will announce his decision.

The approved fare and toll changes, which raise the MetroCard base and unlimited fares, reduce the discount, as well as increases ticket prices on the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North, and raise tolls on MTA bridges and tunnels, are Lhota’s last hoorah as the agency’s head, and could conceivably hurt his chances among voters.

Post-Sandy polls showed that the majority of New Yorkers were pleased with how the MTA responded to the superstorm and its aftermath, but voters are fed up with the frequent fare hikes.

His party could also be an obstacle.

After two decades, the city will likely have a Democratic mayor again.

A November Quinnipiac University poll found that if Lhota ran for mayor as a Republican he would lose to an unnamed Democratic candidate 60 to nine percent. Forty-five percent of those surveyed also disapproved of how Lhota is handling his job as the head of the MTA.

Current mayor Michael Bloomberg, who ran for his first two terms as a Republican before switching to an Independent before his third run, is expected to endorse City Council Speaker and Democrat Christine Quinn, and reportedly even asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run.

Another former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, however, is expected to endorse Lhota, who served as his deputy mayor for operations. Giuliani also reportedly encouraged him to run.

The MTA chair also worked in investment banking, was an executive vice president for the Madison Square Garden Company, and served as the city’s budget director and commissioner of finance, before Governor

Andrew Cuomo appointed him as head of the transit agency in November 2011.

Before facing a Democrat, Lhota needs to win the Republican primary, where he could run against newspaper publisher Tom Allon, billionaire grocer John Catsimatidis, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, former Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrión Jr. and Doe Fund founder and president George McDonald.

The same November Quinnipiac poll also found that Lhota would lose to Carrión 62 to 11 percent.