The governor’s office had not announced Mehiel’s appointment, but he attended Tuesday’s meeting of the ESDC board and he will now need confirmation from the state Senate, state officials confirmed today to Gannett’s Albany Bureau.
“Dennis is a renowned businesses person whose expertise and experience will be critical to support the governor’s efforts to rebuild New York’s economy and create jobs in every region of the state,” said Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto.
It is an unpaid position, but an important one as he serves on the eight-member board that will be tasked with overseeing the state’s revamped economic development programs under Cuomo. ESDC president Kenneth Adams, former head of the state Business Council, reports to the board. There was some talk earlier this year that Mehiel was on tab for Adams’ job.
Mehiel, the wealthy founder of a corrugated shipping container company, and his wife Karen have donated nearly $890,000 to political campaigns since 2000, state campaign finance records show. A bulk of the money went to his lieutenant governor run in 2002 as the running mate to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Carl McCall.
Mehiel had lived in Armonk, Westchester County, but voter registration records appear to indicate that he now lives in Manhattan. He could not immediately be reached for comment today.
Mehiel and his wife contributed $80,862 to the governor’s campaign last year.
Mehiel is the latest leading businessman — and in some cases major Cuomo contributor — to get tapped for a position with the state. Last week, Cuomo named Kodak CEO Antonio Perez to head his SAGE Commission to restructure state government, and several of the board members have been major contributors to the governor’s campaign last year.