Billionaire cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder says he will strenuously oppose a plan outlined by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to permanently change the city’s term limits law to allow 12 years in office instead of eight.
Bloomberg said last week that he would propose the revision to permit him to serve a third term after his second term expires in 2009.
As Newsmax reported, Lauder — who bankrolled the 1993 campaign to create term limits in New York — said he would support a temporary change in the law because he believes the city needs Bloomberg in these perilous financial times.
But Lauder was distressed to learn that Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn envisioned a permanent rather than one-time exception to the term limits imposed on the mayor and council members, The New York Times reports.
“If there is a permanent change, I will fight it,” said Lauder, No. 118 on Forbes’ list of the richest Americans with a fortune of $3.4 billion.
“As far as I am concerned, it’s a one-time only exception.
“It took a lot of emotion even to extend term limits this once. I was opposed to even extending it once. For the love of this city, I will do it once, but that is it.”
A spokesman for Lauder told The Times that if the City Council adopts a permanent change, he would consider funding a campaign to oppose the move with advertisements.
The New York Daily News, meanwhile, is reporting on Monday that Bloomberg “cut a deal” with Lauder that lets him seek a third term in office.
According to the Daily News, officials said “Lauder has agreed to stay out of the expected legal battle over term limits in exchange for a guaranteed spot on an influential city board that would put the matter to the voters in 2010.”
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