Volume 17 • Issue 34 • Jan. 14 - 20, 2005

Under Cover

Bar Association
No, the district attorney candidate who supports medical marijuana, is against prosecuting mayors performing same-sex marriages, and hosts his campaign event in the back of a bar, is not an upstart Green Party candidate. It’s none other than New York’s own 85-year-old Robert Morgenthau, longtime Manhattan D.A. (Does anyone actually remember when he was not the D.A.? Think circa 1974.)

The dapper Morgenthau greeted well-wishers and oglers at the Ear Inn at a Tuesday night campaign event. Morgenthau is likely to face a Democratic primary challenge from former Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder later this year and told UnderCover if he wins, he has no plans to retire as long as his health keeps up with him.

He also had some thoughts about Michael Chertoff, President Bush’s newest choice to head Homeland Security: he will be a vast improvement over Bush’s first Homeland chief, Tom Ridge. “He’s a good guy,” Morgie said of Chertoff. “He’ll be 100 percent better than the last guy to hold the position.” Chertoff has much-needed prosecutorial experience, says the D.A., whereas Ridge ignored issues like money laundering and didn’t reach out to local law enforcement people like Morgenthau, who said he never met Ridge.

Loyal Morgenthau staffer Dan Castleman, chief of investigations, who supervised the tax and fraud case against Bob Rodriguez — the former landlord of the missing Pearl St. couple, Camden Sylvia and Michael Sullivan — turned out for the party and chatted about the infamous case. Castleman thinks Rodriguez was responsible for the Lower Manhattan couple’s disappearance in 1997. Although prosecutors never charged Rodriguez for the disappearance, they did eventually send him up the river for a few years on unrelated charges.

Also on hand at the Ear were Downtown Dem regulars Peggy Kerry, sister of not-quite-the-44th-president-John, former State Sen. Catherine Abate, Carole De Saram, Jean Grillo and David Reck, as well as three of the long line of Manhattan borough president hopefuls — Assemblymember Adriano Espaillat, former Councilmember Stan Michels and Carlos Manzano.

Fox Undercover
UnderCover hears that a Fox 5 News reporter posed as a hungry artist and signed up for the so-called Tribeca Arts Festival for an upcoming expose on the Downtown festival that has not yet materialized. Downtown Express reported in October that the festival’s director, Dale Evans, charged festival hopefuls hundreds of dollars in money orders to apply for his weeks-long, multi-disciplinary festival with a non-existent performance schedule. Last we heard, the festival, which has no connection to the Robert De Niro-steered Tribeca Film Festival, is claiming it will have a sports festival, too.

Hotel Ground
The hole in the ground that will be Robert De Niro’s luxury $43 million hotel venture is getting deeper. UnderCover strolled past the 377-383 Greenwich St. site and saw a dragline shoveling dirt into a dump truck, blocking the sidewalk from pedestrians.

“Bachelorette” candidate, Ryan, the hottie New York City lawyer and the only black Jen has to choose from, was seen partying with his cronies cheering him on at Sugar, across from the Tribeca Grand Hotel, after Ryan made it to the next round, the crowd triumphantly moved to Hiro, the swanky club beneath the Maritime Hotel on W. 16th St.

Elizabeth “Showgirls” Berkley was trolling for toys at Kidrobot on Prince St. in Soho. Once the starlet of “Saved By The Bell,” the lovely Berkeley chatted it up with customers and employees about what’s hot in the toy world and where else to scour for hard to find collectibles. Out with a friend to shop for her birthday, Berkley seemed pleased with the goodies she got at the chic collectible boutique.

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