Richard Leone

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Richard C. Leone
Treasurer of New Jersey
In office
GovernorBrendan Byrne
Preceded byWilliam Marfuggi
Succeeded byClifford Goldman
Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
In office
Preceded byPhilip D. Kaltenbacher
Succeeded byKathleen Donovan
Personal details
Born(1940-04-30)April 30, 1940
Webster, New York
DiedJuly 16, 2015(2015-07-16) (aged 75)
Hopewell, New Jersey
Spouse(s)Anita Osper (div.); Meg Cox
RelationsSanto Leone (father); Lucy Penello Leone (mother); Sandra Brooks (sister)
ChildrenKate Leone (daughter); Max Leone (son)
Alma materUniversity of Rochester; Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University

Richard Carl Leone (April 30, 1940 - July 16, 2015) was an American Democratic Party politician who served as New Jersey State Treasurer from 1974 to 1977 and as Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from 1990 to 1994. Leone also worked for Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert F. Kennedy and Edmund Muskie.

Early life[edit]

Leone was born in Webster, New York on April 30, 1940, the son of Santo Leone, who was the operations director for Page Airways and Lucy Penello Leone. He was a 1965 graduate of the University of Rochester and later earned masters and doctoral degrees from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.[1]

Political career[edit]

Staffer and operative[edit]

From 1965 to 1967, Leone served on the staff of Governor Richard J. Hughes.[2] He served in the administration of President Lyndon Johnson as Executive Director of the White House Task Force on the Cities.[1] Leone was the New Jersey Coordinator for the campaign of Robert F. Kennedy for the Democratic nomination for President in 1968. He was the Director of the Center for the Analysis of Public Issues, a consumer research think tank, from 1970 to 1972. In 1972, he was part of the policy team for the campaign of Edmund Muskie for the Democratic presidential nomination.[2]

In 1973, Leone became the campaign manager for Brendan Byrne, who won the Democratic nomination for Governor of New Jersey and defeated Republican Congressman Charles W. Sandman Jr. by 721,000 votes (66.4%).[3]

Leone returned to the Byrne campaign in the spring of 1977 when the Governor faced competitive primary and general election campaigns.[4]

In 1984, Leone was a senior advisor to the presidential campaign of Walter Mondale.[5] After Jon Corzine was elected Governor in 2005, Leone became Chairman of the Governor-elect's transition team.[6]

New Jersey State Treasurer[edit]

On December 14, 1973, Byrne appointed Leone to his cabinet to serve as State Treasurer. At age 33, he became one of the youngest persons to ever serve as New Jersey State Treasurer.[2] He took office on January 14, 1974, following his confirmation by the New Jersey State Senate.[7] He held the post until resigning in 1977 to become a lecturer at Princeton University.[8]

Campaign for U.S. Senator[edit]

In 1978, Republican Clifford Case, 74, was seeking re-election to a fifth term in the United States Senate. On January 28, 1978, Leone announced that he would seek the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination. With the "tacit" support of the Democratic Governor, Leone began to win endorsements from key Democratic county organizations. One potential rival, two-term Congressman Andrew Maguire withdrew from the race and endorsed Leone. So did Jersey City Mayor Thomas F.X. Smith, Hudson County Democratic Chairman Frank Guarini and Camden Mayor Angelo Errichetti.[9] He also had the backing of Mercer County Democratic Chairman Richard J. Coffee. Former New York Knicks star Bill Bradley entered the race on February 16[10] On February 22, former State Senator Alexander J. Menza joined the race. Menza later alleged that allies of Leone tried to get him out of the race with the offer of a state appointment; Leone denied that.[11]

A poll conducted by the Associated Press and WNBC-TV in mid-May showed Bradley ahead by a 37%-9% margin, with 3% for Menza. Leone charged Bradley with running an "arrogant" and "phony" campaign, and called Bradley, who moved to New Jersey while playing basketball, a carpetbagger.[12]

Bradley won the Democratic primary by a wide margin, 58.9% to 26.5% for Leone, a plurality of 119,835 votes. Menza finished third with 9%, followed by 3% for Kenneth G. McCarthy, 2% for Stafford Township Mayor Wesley Bell, and 1% for Ray Rollinson.[13] Case lost the Republican primary to conservative Jeffrey Bell, and Bradley won the Senate seat in the general election.

Port Authority Commissioner and Chairman[edit]

Governor Thomas Kean, a Republican, appointed Leone to serve as a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In 1990, Leone was named Chairman of the Port Authority by the newly elected Governor, Democrat James Florio. He replaced Philip Kaltenbacher, who had held the post under Kean.[14] Gov. Byrne has twice sought to get Leone appointed as Executive Director of the Port Authority, but he was blocked by New York Governor Hugh Carey.[15]

Private sector[edit]

Leone was president of the New York Mercantile Exchange from 1980 to 1982 and managing director of Dillon, Read & Co., a New York City investment bank, from 1985 to 1989. From 1989 to 2011, he served as President of the Twentieth Century Fund (now called The Century Foundation), a progressive think tank that focused on issues of inequality, voting rights, civil liberties and opposition to the privatization of Social Security. He retired in 2011.[1]


Leone died of prostate cancer in 2015.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Roberts, Sam (21 July 2015). "Richard Leone, 75, Dies; Port Authority Chairman and Force in N.J. Politics". New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Sullivan, Joseph F. (14 December 1973). "Leone Is Named by Byrne As New State Treasurer". New York Times.
  3. ^ "NJ Governor". New Jersey Division of Elections. State of New Jersey. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  4. ^ Sullivan, Joseph F. (8 June 1977). "BYRNE IS RENOMINATED BY JERSEY'S DEMOCRATS; BATEMAN DEFEATS KEAN; GOVERNOR OUTRUNS 9 Roe Only Challenger to Pull Votes All Over State Tax on Income Key Issue BYRNE AND BATEMAN NOMINATED IN JERSEY". New York Times.
  5. ^ Pizarro, Max (17 July 2015). "Richard 'Dick' Leone, served as Treasurer in the Byrne Administration, has Died".
  6. ^ Sherman, Ted (22 July 2015). "Richard Leone, former N.J. treasurer and political adviser, dead at 75". Newark Star-Ledger. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  7. ^ "New Jersey Briefs; Deputy State Treasurer Named". New York Times. 15 January 1973.
  8. ^ Sullivan, Joseph F. (19 April 1977). "Byrne Slated to Announce Today That He Will Run for a 2d Term". New York Times.
  9. ^ Sullivan, Joseph F. (14 February 1978). "Maguire Backs Leone as Nominee for U.S. Senate; Support by Camden's Mayor". New York Times.
  10. ^ Sullivan, Joseph F. (16 February 1978). "Bradley Enters U.S. Senate Race, Aided by Byrne's 1977 Manager". New York Times.
  11. ^ Sullivan, Joseph F. (26 April 1978). "Menza Tells of Overtures to Aides To Get Him Out of Race for Senate; Leone Denies Overtures". New York Times.
  12. ^ Sullivan, Joseph F. (19 May 1978). "Leone, Trailing in New Poll, Calls Bradley's Ad Campaign 'Insulting'; Acknowledges He Is 20 Points Behind Specifics Demanded Brock Endorses Case". New York Times.
  13. ^ "NJ US Senate - D Primary". Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  14. ^ Barron, James (12 April 1990). "Port Authority Set to Name Ex-Byrne Aide as Chairman". New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  15. ^ Witkin, Richard (22 April 1977). "Ronan Is Reported Ready to Quit; Goldmark Advanced for Port Post; Ronan Tells Carey He Wants to Resign Port Post". New York Times.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
William Marfuggi
Treasurer of New Jersey
Succeeded by
Clifford Goldman