Did Villaraigosa Cozy Up to Leon Cooperman, Billionaire Enemy of The Obama Campaign?

Comments (0)


Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 12:26 PM
click to enlarge villaraigosa_antoinio_b_eco_transition_team_2_thumb_200x133.jpeg

By most accounts L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been a good Democrat. He supported Hillary Clinton in her presidential bid. And he carried water for the Obama campaign when the contentious issue of God came up during a Democratic National Convention platform meeting.

But a new New Yorker story about billionaires who oppose Obama raises the question of whether the mayor sometimes puts his own ambition above party loyalty:

In May Villaraigosa was at Al Gore's side at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference (SALT), which the magazine describes as an event that "brings together fund managers with brand-name speakers and journalists for four days of talking and partying."

During the confab, hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman, who has spearheaded a movement among some of America's ultra-rich against President Obama's campaign for a second term, publicly handed Gore a famous letter he wrote to the president.

click to enlarge THE NEW YORKER
  • The New Yorker

In it, Cooperman writes:

To frame the debate as one of rich-and-entitled versus poor-and-dispossessed is to both miss the point and further inflame an already incendiary environment.

... Rather than assume that the wealthy are a monolithic, selfish and unfeeling lot who must be subjugated by the force of the state, set a tone that encourages people of good will to meet in the middle.

This, of course, is bullshit, as the New Yorker points out. (The ultra-wealthy have continued to do better than ever under Obama, even in this economy, and what Obama has proposed is that, in the light of a Wall Street bailout and subsequent stimulus, the wealthy return to the Reagan days of more taxes -- that billionaire Warren Buffet shouldn't pay less of his income in taxes than his help).

But Villaraigosa seemed cool with it, at least according to the mag's account. After the letter was presented, the story continues,

[Orin] Kramer, the hedge-fund manager and Obama fund-raiser, was quiet, but others in the room were enthusiastic. Villaraigosa gave Cooperman his direct phone number.

Um. Yeah.

We reached out to Villaraigosa's spokesman to see if he might want to comment or refute the story but had yet to hear back.

This might explain why, for Obama's L.A. fundraiser Sunday at the Nokia Theater featuring Stevie Wonder, Jon Bon Jovi and Jennifer Hudson, there's nary a mention of the mayor.

[Added at 12:44 p.m.]: Villaraigosa's spokesman, Peter Sanders, said, "We have no comment."

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

Related Content


Now Trending

  • Jay Z Grand Park Concert Is Official as Mayor Plans Announcement

    It looks like Mayor Eric Garcetti is going to officially announce that a two-day "Budweiser Made in America" festival is taking place  at downtown L.A.'s Grand Park. The mayor's office said today he " will make an announcement with Shawn "JAY Z" Carter, Supervisor Gloria Molina, City Council President Herb...
  • "Compton Division" Pimps Made Millions, Cops Say

    A trio of local pimps forced women to work the streets from San Diego to Las Vegas and beyond, cops say, and they allegedly made millions doing so. But now 31-year-old Robert Walker, 34-year-old Daniel Gunther, and 34-year-old David Sheffey, who called their crew the Compton Division, are behind bars, says...
  • L.A.'s Top 10 Streets for Bicycle Crashes Revealed

    You're probably already aware that there's a hit-and-run epidemic in L.A., and that bicycling in a car-crazed capital like Los Angeles can be hazardous to your health. See also: Critical Mass Bike Ride Recognizes L.A. Hit-&-Run Victims But the nerds at the MIT Media Lab's Social Computing Group recently came up...