Council Progressives will try to block Adams’ plan to tap Randy Mastro as NYC’s top lawyer

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City Council Democrats from the party’s progressive wing say they’ll work to block Mayor Adams’ expected plan to tap conservative legal heavy-hitter Randy Mastro as his administration’s next top attorney, setting the stage for a potentially contentious battle over his nomination.

Sources first revealed late Tuesday that Adams is looking to replace his current corporation counsel, Sylvia Hinds-Radix, with Mastro, an ex-federal prosecutor who served as a top official in Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration and has a record of fighting for conservative causes in the legal arena.

The corporation counsel, who leads the city Law Department, is the city government’s top attorney and one of the only municipal positions that requires confirmation from the City Council.

A dozen Democratic members of the chamber told the Daily News on Wednesday they won’t support a Mastro appointment under any circumstance.

“On the grounds of his role in the Chevron case in Ecuador … I cannot trust his judgment when it comes to New York City’s future,” Brooklyn Councilwoman Sandy Nurse, co-chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, said.

Mastro, while serving as Chevron’s attorney, convinced a U.S. court to block an Ecuadoran judgment holding that the oil giant should pay $9.5 billion in damages to 30,000 farmers and indigenous people who suffered health problems from the company’s drilling in the country.

“That was a despicable case,” added Nurse, who said she plans to encourage all Progressive Caucus members to oppose a Mastro appointment.

The Progressive Caucus comprises 18 of the Council’s 51 members. A corp counsel nomination can be blocked if a majority of the Council’s members oppose it.

One of Nurse’s fellow Progressive Caucus members, Brooklyn Councilman Chi Osse, said he can’t imagine anyone in the caucus backing a Mastro pick. Queens Councilwoman Tiffany Caban, another Progressive Caucus member, agreed.

“Our city’s top lawyer should be a principled champion of justice, not a far-right wing pal of sleazy crooks like Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie and billionaire real estate magnates,” said Caban. “No way in hell I vote to confirm Randy Mastro.”

Mastro, who represented Christie, New Jersey’s Republican ex-governor, during his “Bridgegate” scandal, didn’t return a request for comment Wednesday. Adams spokesman Fabien Levy didn’t immediately comment.

It wasn’t just Progressive Caucus members who poured cold water on a potential Mastro nomination Wednesday.

Manhattan Councilman Shaun Abreu, a Democrat who’s not part of the caucus, said he’d be surprised if a Mastro pick even made it out of the Council’s Rules Committee, which must approve a corporation counsel nomination before it can go to a full vote.

He also questioned whether Adams will ultimately nominate him. “Based on his background, it would surprise me,” Abreu said.

Another Democratic Council member who isn’t part of the Progressive Caucus told The News that Council Speaker Adrienne Adams may fight a Mastro nomination. “I think Giuliani’s pit bull is going to have a rocky road getting by us,” said the member, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Speaker’s office rep Rendy Desamours said in response: “Once a nomination for a new corporation counsel is received, the Council will consider it.”

A dustup over the nomination would follow the speaker’s Democratic majority taking the unusual step of overriding two vetoes the mayor issued last year to try to block housing and public safety-related bills, forcing the measures into law over his objections.

The speaker has also clashed repeatedly with the mayor on budgetary issues, and last week slammed a new elected official engagement policy his office implemented as “inappropriate” and said her members won’t comply with it.

Mastro’s private clients have included a group of landlords who sought to weaken the city’s rent stabilization laws as well as an Upper West Side organization who sought to evict a group of homeless men from the Lucerne Hotel in 2020. In the rent stabilization case, lawyers from Adams’ Law Department argued against Mastro.

Hinds-Radix’s expected exit comes as Adams and his administration face a web of legal headaches.

The Law Department is representing Adams against a lawsuit filed by an ex-police colleague accusing him of sexually assaulting her in 1993. The department is also representing Tim Pearson, Adams’ top public safety adviser, against a separate lawsuit accusing him of sexual harassment. Both men have denied the claims.

Meantime, a federal investigation, led by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, is scrutinizing allegations that the Turkish government funneled illegal donations to Adams’ 2021 campaign, while the City Council has sued his administration for declining to implement a set of new housing voucher laws.

Three City Hall and political sources told The News Hinds-Radix’s expected departure comes after she has had disagreements with senior Adams administration officials about a number of sensitive legal issues.

While Council Democrats fumed over the Mastro news, the chamber’s Republicans voiced support.

“I’ll throw him a parade with a fife and drum corps as he marches into City Hall on his first day,” said Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli, leader of the Council’s six-member GOP Caucus.