David Yassky

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David S. Yassky
David Yassky is Dean of Pace University's Elisabeth Haub School of Law
Personal details
Born (1964-03-03) March 3, 1964 (age 57)
Spouse(s)Diana Fortuna
ResidenceBrooklyn, New York
Alma materPrinceton University
Yale Law School

David S. Yassky (born March 3, 1964) is the former Dean of Pace University School of Law[1] where he served from April 2014 to April 2018.[2] He is also a former member of the New York City Council and was first elected in 2001. Yassky currently works for Governor Andrew Cuomo as Director of State Policy.

In 2006, Yassky ran for U.S. Congress in Brooklyn, losing to Yvette Clarke. On September 29, 2009 he lost the run-off election for the Democratic nomination for New York City Comptroller. In 2010 Yassky was appointed chairman of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.[3]


Yassky is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School.[4]


He was a budget analyst for the New York City Mayor's Office of Management and Budget.[when?] He then served as chief counsel to the House Subcommittee on Crime, a subcommittee chaired by Charles Schumer.[when?] Yassky was a member of the faculty of the Brooklyn Law School.[when?][5]

City Council[edit]

Yassky was elected to the New York City Council in 2001, representing the 33rd district, which includes parts of downtown Brooklyn, including Brooklyn Heights, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, DUMBO, Boerum Hill and Park Slope. He was chair of the Council's Small Business Committee. Yassky was one of 29 councilmembers who voted in 2008 to extend term limits for themselves effectively ignoring two previous public votes imposing a limit of two terms. Hours before the final vote on term limits, Yassky proposed an amendment from the floor that would have altered the legislation to require approval by popular vote before term limits could change. The amendment failed by a vote of 28-22, but Yassky voted for the extension anyway.[6][7]

2006 Congressional campaign[edit]

In 2006, Yassky ran for the Democratic Party's nomination for the 11th Congressional District seat, an open seat held by the retiring Congressman Major Owens. He was part of a four-way race which also included New York State Senator Carl Andrews, New York City Council member Yvette D. Clarke and Major Owens's son Chris Owens.

During the primary, Major Owens called Yassky a "colonizer", Al Sharpton called Yassky "greedy", and City Council member Albert Vann sent an email to black elected officials stating that "we are in peril of losing a 'Voting Rights' district ... as a result of the well financed candidacy of Council Member David Yassky, a white individual".[8] The area had been represented by black politicians since the election of Shirley Chisholm in 1968.[9]

On August 30, 2006, The New York Times endorsed Yassky, citing his "stellar record on the Council" and criticizing his rivals for not making a substantial case for their election, and the Democratic leadership within Brooklyn for failing to find qualified black candidates for this seat.[10]

In a primary election held on September 12, 2006, Yassky garnered 26% of the popular vote. The final winner was Yvette Clarke, with about 30%.[11]

2009 Comptroller election[edit]

In 2009, Yassky ran for the office of New York City Comptroller. He was endorsed by much of the press,[12][13] Ed Koch and his former boss, Sen. Charles Schumer.[14] The New York Times on August 23, 2009, attributed its endorsement to his "skill, intelligence, and independence."[15] In the Democratic primary held on September 15, 2009, Yassky was the runner-up with 107,474 votes, or approximately 30% of the votes cast. He lost in the run-off with 44.4% of the vote to John Liu, who had more support among union members and minority groups.

Pace University School of Law[edit]

On February 26, 2014 Pace University School of Law announced that Yassky was named the new Dean, assuming the role April 2014.[16][17] Yassky was succeeded in April 2018 as Dean of Pace Law by Interim Dean Horace Anderson, Jr.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Yassky has been married to Metropolitan Opera CFO Diana Fortuna since 1990,[19] and they live in Brooklyn Heights with their two daughters.


  1. ^ "Message from Dean Yassky | Pace Law School". law.pace.edu. Retrieved 2016-08-23.
  2. ^ "David Yassky | Pace Law School". Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-05-05. Retrieved 2010-04-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "District 33". Stephen T. Levin. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  5. ^ New York City 2009 General Election Guide, NYC Campaign Finance Board
  6. ^ Chan, Sewell; Hicks, Jonathan P. (2008-10-23). "Council Votes, 29 to 22, to Extend Term Limits". New York Times, City Room Blogs. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
  7. ^ Hicks, Jonathan P. (2008-10-27). "Yassky Defends His Vote on Term Limits". New York Times, City Room Blogs.
  8. ^ "'A White Individual': How the Voting Rights Act promotes racial polarization". Wall Street Journal. 2006-06-20.
  9. ^ Hicks, Jonathan P. (2006-08-25). "Rivals In House Race Debate White Candidate's Motives". New York Times.
  10. ^ "Editorial: For Congress in Brooklyn". New York Times. 2006-08-30.
  11. ^ 2006 Congressional Primary Results Archived 2007-03-12 at the Wayback Machine. NY1 News.
  12. ^ "Web Page Under Construction". www.davidyassky.com. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  13. ^ "The Post's Endorsement". 28 September 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Web Page Under Construction". www.davidyassky.com. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  15. ^ "For New York City Comptroller", New York Times", August 23, 2009, accessed September 25, 2009
  16. ^ "Pace Picks Yassky, Ex-Taxi Chief, as Its Law School Dean". New York Times. February 26, 2014.
  17. ^ "David Yassky | Pace Law School". www.law.pace.edu. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  18. ^ "Horace Anderson, Jr. | Pace Law School". Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  19. ^ "Diana Fortuna, State Aide in Capital, Is Married to David Yassky, a Lawyer". New York Times. July 1, 1990.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ken Fisher
New York City Council, 33rd district
Succeeded by
Stephen T. Levin
Preceded by
Matthew W. Daus
New York City
Taxi and Limousine Commission

Succeeded by
Meera Joshi