Melinda R. Katz (born August 19, 1965) is an American attorney and politician from New York City, serving as District Attorney of Queens since January 1, 2020. A Democrat, she previously served as the Queens Borough President. Katz was also a New York City Councilwoman from 2002 to 2009.[1] She had previously run for City Comptroller in 2009.[2] In June 2019, Katz won the Democratic nomination for Queens County's District Attorney, and won the general election in November 2019.[3]

Melinda Katz
Borough President Melinda Katz.jpg
District Attorney of Queens County
Assumed office
January 6, 2020
Preceded byJohn Ryan (Acting)
19th Borough President of Queens
In office
January 1, 2014 – January 1, 2020
Preceded byHelen M. Marshall
Succeeded byVacant
Member of the New York City Council
from the 29th District
In office
2002–2009
Preceded byKaren Koslowitz
Succeeded byKaren Koslowitz
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 28th district
In office
1994–1999
Preceded byAlan Hevesi
Succeeded byMichael Cohen
Personal details
Born (1965-08-19) August 19, 1965 (age 54)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Domestic partnerCurtis Sliwa (sep. 2014)
Children2
RelativesDavid Katz (father)
EducationUniversity of Massachusetts, Amherst (BA)
St. John's University, New York (JD)
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life and educationEdit

Melinda Katz grew up in Forest Hills, Queens.

She comes from a Jewish family with a long history of civic involvement. Her father, the late David Katz, was founder of the Queens Symphony Orchestra in 1953, and her mother, the late Jeanne Dale Katz, founded the Queens Council on the Arts.[4]

Katz earned a B.A. degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (summa cum laude), where she was named a Commonwealth Scholar, and later earned a J.D. degree from St. John's University School of Law.[4]

CareerEdit

She was recruited by the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where she worked as an associate for several years before running for the New York State Assembly.[4] In 1995 the New York Daily News named her "one of the one hundred up-and-coming young leaders for the 21st Century."[4]

New York State AssemblyEdit

Katz served as a Member of the New York State Assembly from 1994 to 1999, representing Queens' 28th District, which included Forest Hills, Rego Park, and parts of Middle Village and Glendale.[5] During her tenure as an Assembly member, Katz drafted sixteen bills that became laws, including some crucial health care initiatives.[4] She wrote the law requiring HMOs to provide women direct access to gynecological care without forcing them to first see a primary care physician.[4] She also was the Chair of the subcommittee on Urban Health.[4] Additionally, she carried several bills to increase penalties for various forms of assault.[4]

1998 Congressional Democratic PrimaryEdit

In 1998, Katz ran for Congress from New York's 9th congressional district, which was the seat held by Chuck Schumer, who was running for the U.S. Senate. She was defeated narrowly by 285 votes in the tightly contested vote, with Anthony Weiner winning the primary, and the subsequent general election.[6]

New York City CouncilEdit

Katz then became Director of Community Boards for the Office of the Queens Borough President from 1999 to 2002,[1] before winning a seat on the New York City Council, where she served from 2002 to 2009),[1] representing the 29th Council District, which included Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and parts of Maspeth, South Elmhurst and Richmond Hill.[7] Katz served as Chair of the Standing Committee on Land Use, which was responsible for approving rezoning measures for wide-ranging pockets of the city, including Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Jamaica.[8] As chair of the committee, Katz oversaw the rezoning of 6,000 city blocks, including the Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning in 2005.[9]

Private sectorEdit

In June 2009 she was the only woman running in the Democratic Primary for New York City Comptroller;[10] she came in third place in a four way race.[11]

Term-limited out of the Council in 2009, Katz worked at the Greenberg Traurig law firm, where she specialized in government affairs and land use.[12] In that position, she was paid to lobby for News Corporation.[13]

2009 New York City Comptroller Democratic PrimaryEdit

In 2009, Katz ran for New York City Comptroller in a four-person Democratic primary. She received third place with 20 percent of the vote, behind winner John Liu and second-place finalist David Yassky.[14]

Borough PresidentEdit

In 2012, Katz announced her plans to run for Queens Borough President in 2013.[12] She was endorsed by Congresswoman Grace Meng, Councilman Leroy Comrie and the 1199 Hospital Workers Union.[15] She won the Democratic nomination and the general election easily in 2013[16] and was re-elected in 2017.[17]

2019 Queens District AttorneyEdit

In December 2018, Katz announced her candidacy for Queens District Attorney.[18] Katz ran as the establishment candidate against the more progressive[according to whom?] Tiffany Cabán, a public defender.[19] The initial results of the Democratic primary on June 25, 2019, showed Cabán with a narrow 1.3 percent lead over Katz.[20][21][22] Katz performed particularly well in Assembly Districts 23–29, which comprise much of Southeast Queens.[23] On July 3, 2019, election officials said Katz pulled ahead in the final count and now leads Caban by a mere 20 votes, triggering a recount.[24] On July 29, 2019, the Board of Elections certified the results of the weeks-long recount, which resulted in Katz leading Caban by 60 votes and declaring victory. Caban said she would challenge the invalidation of over 100 ballots in court.[25] On August 6, 2019, Caban conceded the race.[26]

Katz was sworn in and assumed office on January 6, 2020.[27]

Personal lifeEdit

Katz was in a relationship with Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels, and separated from him in 2014; they have two children together, conceived in vitro over the previous five years.[28][29] She is named in a court case involving Sliwa, accused by his ex-wife Mary of diverting money to Katz while still married to Mary, as part of a plan to build a "nest egg" with Katz prior to moving in with her.[30][31] On February 14, 2015, the New York Daily News reported that Katz and Sliwa had separated on Election Day 2014, two years after they had announced plans to marry. Katz now lives with her two sons in Forest Hills.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Candidate Melinda Katz: City Controller". The New York Daily News. August 16, 2009. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  2. ^ Ross, Barbara. "Curtis Sliwa scammed ex to give child support to mistress, lawsuit claims". Melinda Katz kicks off campaign for borough president. Barbara Ross. Retrieved June 8, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Election board to declare Katz victory over Caban in Queens District Attorney race". ABC7. July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Huffington Post, The (2009). "Melinda Katz". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  5. ^ "Melinda Katz". Queensnewyork.com. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  6. ^ Jonathan P, Hicks (September 16, 1998). "Weiner Is Victor Over Katz In Bid to Replace Schumer". The New York Times. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  7. ^ Bertrand, Donald (October 24, 2004). "Orchestrating 29th Council District Pol's Still in First House – But on Fourth Career". The New York Daily News. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  8. ^ Craven Mcginty, Jo (September 11, 2007). "Rezoning Plan for Jamaica Wins Approval of Council". The New York Times. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  9. ^ Hughes, C.J. "Where real estate meets politics". Where real estate meets politics. The Real Deal. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  10. ^ Katz, Melinda (June 19, 2009). "My Conversation with Geraldine Ferraro". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  11. ^ "Statement and Return Report for Certification Primary Election 2009 – 09/15/2009 Crossover – Democratic Party Democratic City Comptroller" (PDF). New York City Board of Elections. September 25, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 22, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
  12. ^ a b Cullen, Terence. "Katz creates campaign team for Queens borough president run". Katz creates campaign team for Queens borough president run. Terence Cullen. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  13. ^ "Pols on the Payroll". New York Magazine. July 29, 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  14. ^ Kareem, Fahim (September 16, 2009). "Contrasting Candidates Appear to Send Race for Comptroller Into a 2nd Round". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Ross Barkan (August 15, 2013). "Melinda Katz Scores 1199 Endorsement | Observer". Politicker.com. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  16. ^ "Statement and Return Report for Certification General Election 2013 — 11/05/2013 — Queens County — All Parties and Independent Bodies Borough President — Queens" (PDF). vote.nyc.ny.us. Board of Elections in the City of New York. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  17. ^ "Statement and Return Report for Certification — General Election — 11/07/2017 — Queens County — All Parties and Independent Bodies — Borough President — Queens" (PDF). vote.nyc.ny.us. Board of Elections in the City of New York. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  18. ^ Murray, Christian (December 4, 2018). "Borough President Katz Launches Run for Queens District Attorney". Sunny Side Post. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  19. ^ Muoio, Danielle. "On eve of primary, Queens DA race turns more negative". Politico PRO. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  20. ^ Michaels, Samantha. "Progressive Insurgent Tiffany Cabán Declares Victory in the Primary for Queens DA". Mother Jones.
  21. ^ "The Latest: Caban Claims Victory in Queens DA Race". Associated Press. U.S. News & World Report. June 25, 2019. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  22. ^ "More Than 6,300 Ballots Left to be Counted in Contentious Queens DA Race". Queens Post. June 27, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  23. ^ Hamm, Theodore. "With Queens DA Election Too Close to Call, Cabán Troops Prepare to Fight For Every Vote". The Indypendent. The Indypendent. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  24. ^ Muoio, Danielle (July 4, 2019). "Katz pulls ahead of Cabán in Queens DA primary, prompts recount". Politico. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  25. ^ Brown, N. "Queens district attorney primary to be certified by Board of Elections". AM New York. July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  26. ^ Whitford, Emma; Sommerfeldt, Chris (August 7, 2019). "Tiffany Cabán concedes Democratic race for Queens district attorney, securing Melinda Katz's razor-thin victory". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  27. ^ https://www.pix11.com/news/local-news/queens/melinda-katz-sworn-in-as-new-queens-district-attorney
  28. ^ Karni, Annie (April 14, 2012). "Sliwa's a parent & Guardian to secret donor kids with fmr. City Councilwoman Melinda Katz". New York Post. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  29. ^ Chung, Jen (April 15, 2012). "Curtis Sliwa Was Ex-Council Member Melinda Katz's Sperm Donor And Now They're Getting Married". Gothamist. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  30. ^ Fanelli, James (May 9, 2013). "Guardian Angels' Curtis Sliwa Swindled Wife During Affair, Lawsuit Says". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013.
  31. ^ Gregorian, Dareh (December 11, 2013). "Curtis Sliwa Child-Support Trial: Queens Borough President-elect Melinda Katz Gets Grilled". New York Daily News.
Political offices
Preceded by
Alan Hevesi
New York State Assembly, 28th District
1994–1999
Succeeded by
Michael Cohen
Preceded by
Karen Koslowitz
New York City Council, 29th District
2002–2009
Succeeded by
Karen Koslowitz
Preceded by
Helen Marshall
Borough President of Queens
2014–present
Incumbent