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Thursday, March 28, 2013

In 1999 Profile, Joe Lhota Is Described as 'Calm, Easy Going and Quirky' In City Hall

While Mayor Giuliani was known for his temper, Joe Lhota, who served as his deputy mayor and is now a Republican candidate for mayor of NYC, was described in a NY Times profile in 1999 "as the most easygoing member of the Mayor's tightly knit, tightly wound inner circle. While he can bluster as expertly as any other Giuliani aide, Mr. Lhota is better known for what sets him apart: his willingness to talk openly and his insouciant humor, which make him one of the quirkiest personalities in City Hall."

Unlike his Democratic counterpart, City Council speaker Christine Quinn, who was described in an extensive NY times piece by Mike Grynbaum and David Chen this week as "controlling, temperamental and surprisingly volatile," Joe Lhota's work at City Hall was described as totally the opposite: A calm voice for a combative mayor.

"He makes faces at news conferences, accepts calls from just about anyone, and occasionally cracks wise in a way that his more guarded colleagues might think inappropriate -- or even risky," Abby Goodnough wrote on March 22, 1999 in the Times.

"Joe has a sense of humor, which is enormously important in a job where you deal with 100 people a day, at least 25 of whom are angry or feeling abused," Mr. Giuliani said in an interview, explaining why he chose Mr. Lhota to be his deputy.

''Joe strongly believes in the Mayor's political agenda, but he has a bit more softness than some of the rest of us, '' said John S. Dyson, who brought Mr. Lhota into the administration as his chief of staff when he was the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development in 1993. ''That makes him a steadying influence around City Hall.''

"Mr. Lhota, a man with a booming voice and a barrel shape refuses to take himself or his position too seriously," Goodnough writes about the man who wants to succeed Mike Bloomberg as a Republican mayor.  "After learning that a reporter had interviewed one of his college friends, Mr. Lhota cheerfully told how they met: he threw up on the man's shoes at a party. ''He didn't tell you that, did he?'' he asked."

The only thing that turns Mr. Lhota hotheaded is when people criticize the policies of Rudy, a mayor he calls ''the most energetic and intelligent person I've ever had the chance to work for.''

''There is nothing that gets me more charged up than when people spread false information about the Mayor and his policies, '' Mr. Lhota told the Times. ''I am irreverent when I need to be." As an example, the Times recalls an incident when Gene Russianoff, a senior attorney at the New York Public Interest Research Group wrote a letter criticizing the Mayor's charter revision commission last fall, Mr. Lhota fired back, ''I encourage you to apprehend your hubris and rethink your definition of democracy."

However a year later, in 2000 as Mayor Giuliani underwent treatment for prostate cancer, Lhota, the deputy mayor for operations who would be in charge of the city in the absence of Giuliani was described in the NY Times "as hot-tempered and bombastic as his boss."

"Mr. Lhota, 45, is also known for his independence, irreverence and relative openness in a City Hall inner circle that is as fearful of the mayor as it is loyal," writes Elizabeth Bumiller.
''I don't want to talk about that subject!'' Mr. Lhota bellowed yesterday from his office to a reporter standing several hundred feet down a corridor at City Hall. ''Do it without me!'' Mr. Lhota also declined to have his picture taken. When a reporter said it would be good to have a photograph displaying his recent weight loss (he has previously been described as barrel shaped), Mr. Lhota rolled his eyes, smiled wickedly, and cheerfully made an obscene gesture.

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