Today’s news:

Peter Rivera’s nomination for state labor commish in rough waters

Bronx Times

LABOR TROUBLE

We hear Gov. Cuomo’s nomination of Bronx Assemblyman Peter Rivera as new state labor commissioner might be hitting some rough seas.

Rivera’s former law partner and campaign treasurer, David Griffiths, 66, was convicted last week in Manhattan federal court of fraud and obstruction of justice in the theft of funds from the ghost-like Parkchester non-profit Neighborhood Enhancement for Training Services (NETS) where he served as executive director. Peter pumped $2 million in state funds and loans into it, with his son on its payroll.

There’s also some question of the Parkchester/Castle Hill pol listing his district residence at the two-bedroom Parkchester apartment where his son’s ex-girlfriend and son lived.

The full senate still has to vote on his nomination, but it hasn’t scheduled a hearing, even with a June 21 senate recess looming.

With no love lost between them, Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. told us he plans to demand the senate kill Cuomo’s nomination.

Cuomo annnounced his nomination of the first high-ranking Latino to his administration at November’s legislative Somos El Futuro confab in San Juan, but some are wondering just how well Cuomo’s staff vetted Peter.

SNOOKI WATCH

One of our Deep Threats tells us Bronx Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr. REALLY laced into political operative Scott Levenson at last week’s Brooklyn Democratic Party Dinner.

Scott’s managing Mark Gjonaj’s race against Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, and Ruben accused him of party disloyalty for supporting a challenger against an incumbent, especially after all the work the party’s thrown to Levenson, who runs The Advance Group.

We hear Snooki’s camp is a tad nervous over heavy connections Gjonaj (Jo-Nigh), a local Realtor, has with local landlords. Reason? Getting into those apartment buildings to leave campaign literature and get petition signatures.

He’s also signed up heavyweight election law lawyer and former Senate Minority Leader Marty Connor to fight any nominating petition challenges.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t hurt Snooki that Albany’s PURELY NON-POLITICAL re-districting shifted her 80th Assembly District lines out of a mostly white area and westward into one that’s 67% Latino... Rivera? Is that a Hispanic name?

Snooki’s also getting support from three big unions - DC37 municipal workers, Local 32BJ Service Employees International Union and the United Federation of Teachers. It didn’t hurt that she was among the legislators who voted NO to cutting retirement benefits for future public employees - including teachers. It passed anyway, but Snooki got the brownie points for union support.

EMPTY CHAIRS

Two candidate confirmations as of our Tuesday deadline for BronxNet cable-TV’s Monday night candidates’ debate for Rep. Charlie Rangel’s newly re-districted seat that now takes in the Bronx: Craig Schley and Joyce Johnson. BronxTalk host Gary Axelbank still holding empty chairs for Charlie, state Senator Adriano Espaillat and Clyde Williams.

Co-hosted by the Riverdale Press and the Norwood News, the debate airs 9 p.m. Monday.

GUSTAVO BRAWL

Some folks have charged that challenger Manny Taveras is a stalking horse for Charlie Rangel to keep west Bronx state Senator Gustavo Rivera pre-occupied from helping Rangel’s lead challenger, Upper Manhattan/Riverdale state Senator Adriano Espaillat.

But we hear Tavares is seriously independent, and has now picked up campaign workers involved in getting out the local Dominican vote for DR presidential candidate Hipólito Mejía - who just lost.

DOUBLE DUTY

Benny Catala, the incredible shrinking man on that diet, doing double duty, handling Highbridge/Concourse Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson’s 77th A.D. reelection campaign while running to win back his male district leader’s seat from Mark Escoffery-Bey in the Sept. 13 primary. Perennial candidate Anthony Curry, out of Richie Soto’s Rising Voices Coalition, nibbling at Vanessa’s elective ankles.

Then again, it doesn’t hurt to have a minor challenger to justify fundraising. Just sayin....

Soto meanwhile, says he’s taking on Morris Heights Assemblyman Nelson Castro - and he means it this time, dammit! Unlike various prior races where he’s usually dropped out.

WITH A CEL-RAY

If Mayuh Mike Bloomberg really wants to get serious about city health, the heck with big gulp drinks. He should ban chopped liver, and pastrami sandwiches, starting at Liebman’s on Johnson Ave. in Riverdale, one of the few remaining Bronx kosher deli’s. Dozens of ‘em began fading out in the Seventies. These days, you couldn’t make a minyan. But don’t ban the Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray, of course....

COP CORNER

Condolences to family of 48th Precinct Officer Esther Sanzo, 37, a 15-year NYPD veteran killed early Monday in a one-car accident on the Palisades Parkway near Nanuet....We hope Lt. Jim Hanvey, squad boss at the 45th Precinct, is following doctors orders, and that’s all we’re gonna say....

Got some hot gossip? E-mail Kappy at bkappstatter@cnglocal.com.

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