After yesterday's NY Post story about how the winning bid to operate the former tourist magnet restaurant, Tavern on the Green, has a connection to a close friend and former aide of Mayor Bloomberg, there's now a city investigation. The Post reports, "City Comptroller John Liu is investigating the connection between a former deputy mayor and the winning Tavern on the Green bidder."
On Thursday, the NYC Parks and Recreation Department announced that Tavern on the Green's transformation into "casual restaurant and cafe" would be headed by the Emerald Green Group, whose principals, Jim Caiola and David Salama, "have operated Beau Monde and L'Etage in Philadelphia, a popular and well-reviewed restaurant & bar." (Beloved NYC chef Katy Sparks was named as chef.)
However, it turns out the Caiola's sister is married to former deputy mayor Kevin Sheekey, who boosted the Bloomberg as president—or as a running mate to President Obama—and now works for Bloomberg LP. Liu's spokesman Matt Sweeney said, "The process by which [this] privilege ... was awarded ... is something the Comptroller’s Office will be looking into."
While city officials deny there was any nepotism involved and Caiola and Sheeky say they didn't discuss the bid either each other at all, former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern told the Post, "This isn’t some hot-dog stand on Delancey Street that the guy is getting a deal on. Any relationship — blood, marriage, family — between the concessionaire and the city should be disclosed." Yeah—but maybe everyone is just anxious for Tavern on the Green to reopen... remember how much fun it used to be?