William Thompson

Vitals
Full Name
William Colridge Thompson Jr.
Place of Birth
Brooklyn, NY
High School
Midwood High School
Undergrad
Tufts University
Neighborhood
Harlem
Other Residences
Cape Cod, MA
Website
www.comptroller.nyc.gov/
Filed Under
Politics
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Who

As city comptroller, Bill Thompson has been the NYC's top accountant since 2001. He's got his eye on higher office, though: He's a presumptive candidate for mayor in 2009.

Backstory

The son of a teacher and city councilman/appellate judge William Thompson Sr., lifelong Bed-Stuy resident Thompson passed through Tufts before going to work as an aide for Brooklyn congressman Fred Richmond, eventually becoming Richmond's chief of staff. In 1983 he was picked to be the youngest deputy borough president in Brooklyn history under Howard Golden. A decade later he decamped to the private sector, taking a job at the investment firm George K. Baum & Company. After just a year at Baum, Thompson returned to public service when he was selected as Brooklyn's representative on the Board of Education. Thompson later became the board's president, and although during his tenure he rather notably failed to redress serious budgetary woes, he otherwise led the board through what the Times deemed a period of "quiet progress." He was elected comptroller in 2001, and reelected in 2005.

Of note

As the city's top accountant, by all accounts Thompson has done a commendable job overseeing the more than $100 billion in city pension funds, providing a nice contrast with his predecessor, now-disgraced ex-state comptroller Alan Hevesi. While the business of "comptrolling" doesn't usually grab headlines, Thompson did receive a bit of attention in 2004 when he clashed with Mayor Bloomberg over the mayor's $126 million deal with Snapple, which gave the company exclusive rights to sell its beverages from vending machines in public schools and city buildings. Thompson contended the contract had been awarded improperly; ultimately, a state court upheld the agreement.

Barring some sort of about-face, Thompson is all but certain to run for the 2009 Democratic nomination for mayor—he came close to running in 2005—and he's already proven to be a reasonably successful fundraiser. But he'll be heading into a crowded Democratic field (his opponents will likely include Christine Quinn and Anthony Weiner, among others) and whether the soft-spoken, low-profile comptroller has enough charisma or presence to really grip the electorate and stand out from the pack remains to be seen.

Keeping score

He made $185,000 from the city in 2007.

For the record

The city's master auditor himself failed to fully pay his taxes twice, once during a messy divorce in 1984 and again in 1995, when he paid $2,000 less than he was supposed to.

Personal

Thompson split up with lawyer Sylvia Kinard in 2005. He's since gotten remarried to Museum for African Art President Elsie McCabe. The newlyweds live in an apartment in West Harlem.



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130038_comment
Renegade said at 8:09PM on Oct 11, 2008
Wow...I think both Thompson and McCabe have been married three times each...making them the black Rudy and Judy Guiliani...and with as checkered a dating history...should be interesting.