Tuesday, April 21, 2009
☞ MEET: Mayor Daniel F. Tiemann
In the 1850s, Wall Street financier Robert Lowber sold land to the city for exorbitant prices and arranged to share his graft with city officials, including Mayor Fernando Wood. Before Lowber got his money, paint manufacturer (and nephew of industrialist and Cooper Union founder Peter Cooper) Daniel Tiemann succeeded the corrupt Wood as Mayor and rejected the bill. When Lowber sued and won for a total of $228,000, the city comptroller said there were no funds available, leading the sheriff to announce he would seize and auction city property, starting with City Hall, to pay the debt. Mayor Tiemann ended up buying City Hall himself (through a clerk) for $50,000, and the city later reimbursed him. Tiemann served one term in office before returning to his homestead here, in what was then known as Manhattanville. Read here for a fuller history of Tammany Hall and all its corrupt glory.