Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi has been hired by one of his biggest campaign contributors, Cablevision Systems Corp., primarily to advise the company on its local high school sports multimedia initiative.
Suozzi, a one-time New York State (NYS) Democratic gubernatorial candidate and recently ousted two-term Nassau County Executive, has been hired by Bethpage-based Cablevision as a consultant to its Local Media Group, according to an internal all-staff memo obtained by the Press.
The memo, dated Jan. 11, 2009 and sent from Cablevision’s Local Media President Tad Smith to staffers, touts Suozzi’s experience running “an organization with a budget of more than two billion, a staff of over 8,000, and constituents totaling more than one million” and background as an attorney and certified public accountant.
“He has used his leadership, expertise and energy to develop and implement strategies to solve tough problems,” Smith writes.
Cablevision’s Local Media Group includes the company’s media and programming properties, says its website, including Newsday Media Group—consisting of Long Island’s lone daily newspaper, Newsday, the newspaper’s website and free New York City daily am New York. The Local Media Group also includes Cablevision’s News 12 Networks, which consists of 12 local news, traffic and weather channels, and MSG Varsity, “a suite of television and interactive services dedicated to covering high school sports and activities across the tri-state area.”
According to the memo, Suozzi will have a large supporting role in MSG Varsity, Cablevision’s most recent initiative. MSG Varsity services were launched just five months ago, it reads.
“I know that it is a bit unusual to make an announcement about a consulting relationship, but Tom’s high profile, combined with our own, made it important for me to explain more about what he will be doing at Cablevision,” writes Smith. “It is important to know that Tom’s role with the company will not involve lobbying. Instead, most of Tom’s efforts will be focused on working with Theresa Chillianis and her excellent team in support of the company’s most recent local programming initiative, MSG Varsity.”
Cablevision, its political action committee and owners, the Dolan family, had been one of Suozzi’s biggest campaign contributors throughout his career—donating nearly $200,000 to Suozzi’s political aspirations since 2006, according to NYS Board of Elections financial disclosure records.
Suozzi conceded Nassau’s top-elected post to current Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, a Republican, on Dec. 1. His concession followed a razor-thin month-long recount of paper ballots that ultimately put Mangano ahead by about 400 votes.
Cablevision spokeswoman Kim Kerns provided the following statement:
“Tom Suozzi is a distinguished executive with notable accomplishments in working with communities on Long Island. His considerable experience will be vital as we look to grow and expand our new MSG Varsity initiative so that it continues to deliver significant benefits to students, schools, families and our communities. We are enthusiastic to have him join our efforts and look forward to his counsel and participation as a consultant to the company.”