Candid carriage foe
- Last Updated: 7:23 AM, January 1, 2012
- Posted: 12:31 AM, January 1, 2012
A top real-estate executive who’s leading the charge to shut the horse-carriage industry was secretly taped offering a rare insider’s view of how politics really work in this town — by greasing the wheels of government with “morally corrupt” campaign cash.
Steve Nislick’s comments — including a decidedly unflattering view of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, whom he has showered with contributions — were caught on audio by a carriage-industry advocate.
The advocate went undercover for four months posing as a volunteer anxious to get the hardworking horses off the streets. But what she was really looking to do was get the goods on the anti-carriage horse brigade.
Nislick, CEO of Edison Properties, was snared in the increasingly hostile horse wars on May 19, when his animal-rights lobbying group, NYCLASS, met at the Stitch restaurant on West 37th Street. The undercover advocate, playing the role of a true believer, was among the 20 guests.
Thinking he was talking to like-minded allies and not an iPhone’s microphone, Nislick explains the maneuvering, back-stabbing and fund-raising of a political world most voters never get to see.
He contends that campaign contributions are worthwhile if they help animals, even if the politicians on the receiving end don’t deserve them.
“Even if it’s just like it’s good for the animals, you know, it’s so hard to get something done. It’s the best investment,” he says, according to the recording provided to The Post unsolicited.
“Even if it’s a morally corrupt investment, you know what, you’ve got to do it, I think.”
When told that street demonstrations are old hat, Nislick argues they’re also important when it comes to pressuring pols.
“Listen, that scares ’em. So you’ve got to do both. The money doesn’t get it done anymore. We need the votes. We would not get it done with just money. It wouldn’t happen. If we didn’t have the threat of this constituency, [Quinn] wouldn’t be talking to us,” he said.