Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"It's a serious problem. Dean is too vain to wear a hearing aid, but during negotiations he may just be hearing 80 percent of what's being said, ...

It's not what any New York taxpayer wants to hear.

The two most powerful leaders in the state Legislature -- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos -- don't trust each other, believe that each lies to the other and rarely speak privately, sources close to both men tell The Post.

On the rare occasion that they do speak, Skelos may not even be able to hear Silver correctly, the sources said, referring to the Senate leader's generally unknown-to-the-public hearing loss.

Some on the inside say Skelos' hush-hush hearing impairment has made it difficult to negotiate with Silver, Cuomo and others because he often doesn't catch all that's being said.

"It's a serious problem. Dean is too vain to wear a hearing aid, but during negotiations he may just be hearing 80 percent of what's being said, and that can cause serious problems," said a prominent Senate GOP insider.

The issue became publicly apparent at a bizarre press conference last week in which the property-tax-cap deal was announced -- when Skelos couldn't understand at least one of the questions being posed.


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