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

  • L.A. Teens Fast For Central American Immigrants

    When you were a teenager you hung out at the mall, made mixtapes and ate McNuggets. These here L.A. kids are going without food this week to support the children coming to the United States illegally from Central America. The young people "will be drinking water only" through Friday, a...
  • Innovative Condom Is Crowdfunding Its Way Into Your Bedroom

    An innovative condom that only covers the tip of the penis is one step closer to reality. We last told you about local inventor Charles Powell's Galactic Cap in May, when he was using Indiegogo to try to raise $100,000. That cash would be used to launch clinical trials and start the U.S. Food and...
  • 10 Secret Ways to Outsmart L.A. Pitfalls

    You're so smart, you know how to avoid L.A.'s urban booby traps and tap its big-heartedness. You're so good, you share this wisdom with friends and family. Special knowledge like that godsend, the easy-peasy shortcut between the Westside and DTLA — Slauson Boulevard. And the fact that Sprouts has "double...
Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • 21st Annual Classic Cars "Cruise Night" in Glendale
    On Saturday, spectators of all ages were out in multitudes on a beautiful summer night in Glendale to celebrate the 21st annual Cruise Night. Brand Boulevard, one of the main streets through downtown Glendale, was closed to traffic and lined with over 250 classic, pre-1979 cars. There was plenty of food to be had and many of the businesses on Brand stayed open late for the festivities The evening ended with fireworks and a 50th anniversary concert from The Kingsmen, who performed their ultimate party hit, "Louie, Louie." All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • The World Cup Celebrated And Mourned By Angelenos
    The World Cup has taken Los Angeles by storm. With viewings beginning at 9 a.m., soccer fans have congregated at some of the best bars in the city including The Village Idiot, Goal, The Parlour on Melrose, Big Wang's and more. Whether they're cheering for their native country, favorite players or mourning the USA's loss, Angelenos have paid close attention to the Cup, showing that soccer is becoming more than a fad. All photos by Daniel Kohn.
  • La Brea Tar Pits "Pit 91" Re-Opening
    Starting June 28th, The Page Museum once again proudly unveils the museum's Observation Pit, which originally opened in 1952 but has spent most of the last half century closed. Now visitors can get an up-close look at Pit 91, which is currently under excavation. The La Brea Tar Pits, home of the Page Museum, is one of the world's most famous ice age fossil locations, known for range of fossils from saber-toothed cats and mammoths to microscopic plants, seeds and insects. The new "Excavator Tour" is free with museum admission if purchased online at tarpits.org . All photos by Nanette Gonzales.