NEW YORK (AP / WCBS 880) – A Republican former hedge fund manager who says New York’s finances need fixing is challenging the Democratic incumbent who says he’s cleaned up the mess he inherited as New York comptroller.
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Political newcomer Harry Wilson, 39, who left Silver Point Capital two years ago and worked for the Obama administration on the General Motors restructuring, says the state needs its own fiscal turnaround.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a former assemblyman chosen by colleagues for the state’s top financial post after Comptroller Alan Hevesi left in a scandal, says he has taken several steps to improve finances. He said he instituted rules to stop investment firms from using paid intermediaries to get business from the $130 billion public employee pension fund, identified more than $3 billion in wasteful public spending, and followed sound investment strategies.
The race has grown more competitive, with Wilson eroding DiNapoli’s once-comfortable lead in recent polls.
The comptroller directs a staff of about 2,500 who audit state agencies and local governments, issue reports on state finances and manage the pension fund.
Wilson, a father of four from Scarsdale with a Harvard MBA, says New York is not financially competitive, loses population to other states, has high taxes, big state deficits and underfunded pensions.
The comptroller’s office should have audits that identify not only waste and fraud but inefficiency, with the major and politically sensitive state expenses of Medicaid, education and pensions examined, Wilson said.
DiNapoli, who is unmarried, has a condominium in Great Neck and was an assemblyman from Long Island for two decades. A former phone company employee with a master’s degree in human resources management, he has broad support from unions, which helped fund his campaign.
Two minor party candidates, the Libertarian Party’s John Gaetani and the Green Party’s Julia Willebrand, are also on Tuesday’s ballot.
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