ALBANY -- Racially charged comments by prominent political donor Daniel Loeb drew a rebuke from the office of Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, whom Loeb wrote had done more "damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood."
The comments on Facebook late Thursday by Loeb, a hedge-fund manager and political donor, were widely criticized by New York leaders. Loeb later took down the post and apologized.
"I regret the language I used in expressing my passion for educational choice,” he said in a statement. “I apologize to Senator Stewart-Cousins and anyone I offended. I have taken down the post from Facebook.”
The comments capped a week of tension for the Senate Democratic leader from Yonkers.
Loeb's remarks were in response to a New York Times article this week that described a recent private meeting among Senate Democrats and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
At the meeting, Cuomo reportedly suggested Senate Democrats were out of touch with suburban voters, and Stewart-Cousins responded: “You look at me, Mr. Governor, but you don’t see me. You see my black skin and a woman, but you don’t realize I am a suburban legislator.”
Loeb, a backer of charter schools who is chairman of the Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City and a campaign donor to Cuomo and other major politicians, responded on Facebook in support of Sen. Jeff Klein, who heads the Senate's Independent Democratic Conference.
Klein, D-Bronx, who represents a portion of lower Westchester County, has been at odds with Stewart-Cousins over control of the closely divided Senate, where the IDC is aligned with Republicans and helping to thwart a Democratic majority.
“Thank God for Jeff Klein and those who stand for educational choice and support Charter funding that leads to economic mobility and opportunity for poor knack kids,” Mr. Loeb wrote. “Knack” was an apparent typo for “black.”
“Meanwhile hypocrites like Stewart-Cousins who pay fealty to powerful union thugs and bosses do more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood," he continued.
Stewart-Cousins is the first black woman to lead a legislative conference in Albany.
Her spokesman, Mike Murphy, ripped the comments.
“In 2017 it is outrageous and offensive that this type of language is used by someone with such wide political influence," he said in a statement.
"There is no place in our discourse, political or otherwise, for these dangerous words. Daniel Loeb should be utterly ashamed of his disgusting statements. This whole episode speaks volumes about the state of our politics right here in New York.”
Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said, "We have no connection with these comments whatsoever and in our opinion they are entirely inappropriate and have no place in the public discourse."
Klein also denounced Loeb's comments.
"The statements are wrong and have to be repudiated. I dissociate myself from such statements," he said in a statement.