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Girls soccer coach runs for mayor

Past and present: Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey coached Julianne Cuba’s soccer team in 2000.
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Paul Massey, the millionaire real estate developer and — more importantly — my soccer coach back in 2000 when I was 8, is throwing his hat in the political ring, hoping to become New York City’s next mayor — and his model is a certain self-made billionaire.

The long-time Larchmont resident, who now lives in Manhattan, says he’s a Bloomberg-esque candidate, claiming he wrote in the centrist former mayor’s name in the presidential election.

But it is his strong dislike for Bill DeBlasio that put him hot on the tail of the Democratic mayor.

“The current mayor — pardon me being direct — he’s a failure, there’s corruption,” Massey said. “I think that right now we are ready for an outsider.”

Massey founded his real estate company Massey Knakal about 20 years ago, which he and his partner sold to Cushman and Wakefield for $100 million in 2015. And it was running that company — getting to know and work with nearly all of the neighborhoods in the city — that sparked his interest in running for mayor.

“I know community leaders in every neighborhood. We ended up being all over the city,” Massey said. “That makes me comfortable in terms of wanting to lead New York.”

Neither of us could remember our soccer team’s record, or even its name, but playing the game wasn’t about just the score — it was about building a sense of teamwork that Massey plans to bring from his time on the field into City Hall, he said.

“I couldn’t care what the record was. I just loved hanging out with all you guys,” Massey said. “One of the things I always thought about our soccer team, we always had fun and had a fun culture, never wanted it to end, and that’s the way I run my business, and the way I’ll run City Hall — where everyone gets along and makes a real team atmosphere.”

Massey has raised $2,512,278 for his campaign, compared to DeBlasio’s $3,708,882, according to city records. Other GOP mayoral hopefuls include former New York Jets defensive lineman Rev. Michel Faulkner and Fox News pundit Bo Dietl, as well as a rumored return of a 2013 candidate, businessman John Catsimatidis.

• • •

He can’t commit! Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez is going out of his way to not declare his candidacy for the seat he took over when DA Ken Thompson died of cancer late last year.

First, he has made it a point not to take part in forums before officially announcing his run for the seat.

Now, just as he’s about to meet with members of the Independent Neighborhood Democrats for what that group thinks will be a discussion about his other DA hopefuls’ candidacy on April 20, his staff is claiming the visit is not the first stop on his campaign.

“DA Gonzalez has been in contact with the I.N.D. and he’s looking forward to the opportunity to engage with them, as he does regularly with community groups about the work he is doing on behalf of the people of Brooklyn,” said Lis Smith. “As we’ve said, he will announce his intentions soon about the DA’s race, and looks forward to a robust debate.”

Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), former Republican Brooklyn councilman from the 1970s, John Gangemi, and former assistant district attorney under DA Charles Hynes, Marc Fliedner — who would be Brooklyn’s first openly gay DAall spoke about why they would make great top prosecutors at the club’s meeting on March 16.

• • •

Rev. Khader El-Yateem, a pastor at Bay Ridge’s Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, who could become the city’s first Arab-American councilman, raised a whopping $81,611 right out of the gate — out-raising all of the other candidates vying to replace the term-limited Gentile.

Justin Brannan was not far behind with $73,430, and former staffer for Rep. Dan Donovan (R–Bay Ridge) Liam McCabe raised the most out of the GOP candidates with $45,420. State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Marine Park) staffer John Quaglione came close with $42,901, and Bob Capano came up short with just $26,516, according to city records.

• • •

The long-divided Brooklyn Republican Party is again split in its support for the GOP Council candidates in the crowded Bay Ridge race, sources say.

The Kings County GOP Coalition, which formed back in November, is steadfastly supporting Bob Capano, but the larger Brooklyn Republican Party is divided between McCabe and Quaglione, said the acting chairman of the GOP Coalition Dany Esquilin.

The chairman of the Brooklyn Conservative Party, Jerry Kassar, is said to be supporting McCabe — and so things are getting awkward in state Sen. Marty Golden’s office, where both Kassar and Quaglione work, said Esquilin.

“Bob Capano is our candidate,” said Esquilin. “They are split, there’s a dilemma there. McCabe has been endorsed by Donovan, and he comes originally from Conservative Party Jerry Kassar. Quaglione comes from Marty, so they are split in half. Jerry is supporting Liam, from what we understand.”

But according to other political insiders, both the Conservative and Republican parties are trying to remain neutral until after the primary.

Kassar donated $150 to both McCabe and Quaglione, Brooklyn Republican Party Chairman Ted Ghorra gave $175 to McCabe, and Golden gave $300 to Quaglione, according to city records.

And Quaglione said he expects to get Golden’s endorsement.

Kassar declined to comment.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 12:51 pm, March 23, 2017
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