News of Assemblyman Steve Katz’ marijuana arrest in the Albany County town of Coeymans spread quickly through social media channels Thursday — as did past coverage of various events in his past.
Here’s a look back at some of Katz’ ups and downs that have come to light since he took office in 2011. And here’s more information on Katz’ Thursday ticket for pot possession.
– Katz, a Yorktown Republican, was elected to the Assembly in 2010 for a seat vacated by now-Sen. Greg Ball, a Patterson Republican who chose to run (successfully) for the Senate. Katz ran with Ball’s support, and the two were known as political allies.
But the relationship had soured somewhere along the way. In December 2011, Katz’ wife Nicole posted a video to YouTube that was critical of Ball for deleting items she had posted to Ball’s Facebook page and later de-friending her. The video — titled “The Salad Bully” — showed a dinner-party scene in which Nicole Katz has her mouth duct taped shut after she’s critical of the host’s olive selection.
Ball later used the video as part of his own YouTube piece critical of the assemblyman. Katz and Ball have since appeared at events together.
– Katz received plenty of attention in western New York this past week for his comments regarding the Buffalo Bills, whose stadium will receive major upgrades partially funded by the state and Erie County as part of a new lease deal.
“Aren’t they wealthy enough that they can handle their own operating support? Why are we doing this for them?” Katz asked on the Assembly floor.
A frequent critic of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Katz stood by the comments as they gained more attention in the Buffalo area, calling the stadium funding a “luxury.” But he later posed for a picture wearing a Bills hat — provided by Buffalo-area assemblyman Sean Ryan — as a goodwill gesture.
– In early 2012, Katz had expressed interest in running in a primary against Ball for Ball’s Senate seat. As the media began paying more and more attention to the potential challenge, Katz addressed a pair of past arrests related to his veterinary business. (In both instances, charges were dropped, Katz said.)
On a public-access television show, Katz said one of the arrests dated back to the 1990s, when he was operating a veterinary practice in Philadelphia. According to Katz, an 80-year old client and her 102-year-old mother called him one night because their 90-pound German Shepherd was dead on their living room floor. He put the dog into the trunk of his car to transport it to his veterinary hospital and it began to “ooze onto (his) daughter’s Barbie dolls,” he said.
Katz said he took the dog back to his apartment because he didn’t have the keys to his practice, and placed the dog on an outdoor dumpster. Police officers saw him with the dead dog, and arrested him for “short dumping.”