Billionaire John Catsimatidis is working to slip a biofuel mandate that would add $150 million to New Yorkers' heat expenses into the state budget just as a company he owns completes construction of the largest biofuel plant in the region.
The New York Post reports that Catsimatidis’ lobbyists are putting the pressure on State senators to slip a provision that would require all heating oil sold in New York to contain "2 percent or more of soybean oil and/or spent vegetable oils."
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Catsimatidis is building a biofuel-processing plant in Brooklyn that will be the largest plant in the Northeast, according to the report.
[Catsimatidis is] also the owner of United Metro Energy Corp., a large company that is putting the finishing touches on a massive Brooklyn biofuel-processing plant that will be the largest in the Northeast when it opens this fall. […]
He stands to make a windfall profit, both in terms of the increased value of United Metro and from the opening of a massive new market for biofuel sales, energy industry insiders said.
Catsimatidis, who is well known in New York City as the owner of grocery store chain Gristedes, was a central figure in an effort to use a campaign finance loophole to funnel money to the Democrats' 2014 battle for control of the state senate.
At the request of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Catsimatidis cut a $50,000 check to the little-known Putnam County Democratic Committee, which in turn gave the money to individual Democratic candidates that are legally prohibited from receiving such large sums from individual donors, according to a New York Daily News report.
Interestingly, Catsimatidis is now trying to buy the Daily News, the paper that conducted the investigation into his role in de Blasio's scheme.
Catsimatidis' relationship with de Blasio was born out of his longtime friendship with the Clinton family. The Clintons have been on the receiving end of a lot of Catsimatidis money, including more than $750,000 for Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential bid in 2008.
The relationship between Catsimatidis and the Clintons remains strong. Just a few months ago, a picture was captured of Catsimatidis' daughter being grasped by former president Bill Clinton.