|SEIU's Dennis Hickey Rivera|
Just one day after news surfaced about Dennis Hickey Rivera’s involvement in an alleged influence-buying scheme linking multiple deep-pocketed business executives to Puerto Rico’s scandal-plagued governor, Rivera hired a pricey New York public relations firm to do damage control, according to press reports.
Nell Callahan, Vice President of SKDKnickerbocker (also known as SKDK), said Rivera had retained the firm “to set the record straight.” Within 24 hours, SKDK reportedly circulated a memo to legislators’ offices in Washington DC defending of Rivera.
SKDK is a full service public affairs practice that offers crisis communications, branding, marketing, media training, digital/social media advice, speech writing, and message development. Its clients have included Barack Obama, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, AT&T, Facebook, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Jennifer Cunningham, SEIU 1199NY’s former political director, is a Partner and Managing Director at SKDK, where she advises politicians and provides “C-suite message and communication strategy for many Fortune 50 corporations,” according to SKDK’s website. Cunningham was formerly married to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Rivera was the president of SEIU 1199NY from 1989-2007. Since then, he's since served as a “Senior Advisor” to SEIU President Mary Kay Henry.
In an earlier post, Tasty described Rivera’s role in founding and operating the organization that took hundreds of thousands of dollars from banks, hedge funds, real estate developers, private equity funds, and other big business… and then hired the governor’s brother to fill an alleged no-show job as the organization’s only staff member.
In 2014, SEIU-UHW, headed by President Dave Regan, was the fourth-largest contributor to the organization, “Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País” (SEAP), according to federal tax returns.
along with SEIU’s Dennis Rivera, SEAP’s Board of Directors is composed of corporate executives including the CEOs of GM Capital, Banco Popular, UBS Financial Services, Bacardi Rum, Putnam Bridge Funding, and Putney Capital Management.