Jul 31st - 5:22 pm
“There’s this pathological need on the second floor for exact control – control at a level that’s not really achievable, and not even healthy, over the long-term.”
The Moreland mess was again addressed on ”Morning Joe,” with MSNBC host Ari Melber remarking on the “serious cloud hanging over the governor’s mansion.”
Mediaite notes that CNN, which employs Cuomo’s brother, Chris, has avoided the Moreland scandal, even as other national outlets have picked it up.
A timeline of all Cuomo’s public comments about Moreland, compliments of the Syracuse Post-Standard.
Rocland County DA Thomas Zugibe confirmed he was contacted by Cuomo’s office about issuing a Moreland statement, but didn’t feel pressured to do so.
Here’s a headline Cuomo will probably like, all things being equal.
Common Cause NY wants Cuomo to continue “public dialogue” on Moreland – just not with former commissioners.
Senate Investigations Chairman Carl Marcellino says the GOP has “batted around” the possibility of a Moreland probe, but will wait until the US attorney finishes his work.
Hillary Clinton is leading potential Republican challengers in the key state of Ohio in 2016 matchups, according to a new Q poll.
REBNY President Steve Spinola, who is normally forthcoming, hasn’t given an interview since news of his retirement broke last month.
The Rev. Al Sharpton claimed Dante de Blasio would be a candidate for an NYPD chokehold if he were not the son of the mayor.
Rep. Charlie Rangel dismissed rumors that he will try to designate a chosen successor before he is re-elected in an uncontested general election vote.
US Sen. Chuck Schumer is worried about all the “dark money” flowing into NY.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton sat down with NY1′s Errol Louis for his first “Inside City Hall” interview since taking office.
HBO has given a green light to a six-hour David Simon miniseries about race relations and poverty-stricken low-income housing in 1960s Yonkers.
A popular Southampton restaurateur, whose brother-in-law is Rep. Tim Bishop, has been accused of sexual harassment.
Bon Jovi should not play Buffalo any time soon.
NJ Gov. Chris Christie is in New Hampshire for the second time in two months.
Albany will serve as a backdrop for yet another Hollywood movie.
George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, has authored a personal biography of his father, George H. W. Bush, the 41st president.
Jul 31st - 4:37 pm
The Senate GOP conference on Thursday touted their six months of operational spending coming $6.8 million under budget.
And the Republicans, in a news released trumpeting the budget report, threw in some partisan jabs at Democrats’ brief time in the majority.
“Our responsible leadership of the New York State Senate continues to be very beneficial to hard-working taxpayers and their families. Since 2011, we’ve made a conscious effort to do more with less and placed increased scrutiny on all of our expenditures,” Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said. “As a result, we’re spending less and returning to taxpayers more of their hard-earned money.”
The conference says that between Oct. 1 of last year and March 31 of 2014, expenses in the Senate totaled $85.1 million — an increase of just under 2 percent over last year, but 7.4 percent less than budgeted.
And, as Republicans fend off a stiff challenge from a coalition of the Working Families Party, Mayor Bill de Blasio and labor groups to give Democrats full control of the chamber, the conference stresses that keeping costs down in the chamber is a GOP hallmark.
“There is a sharp distinction between the Republicans, who significantly underspent their budget allocation, and the Democrats, who significantly overspent their budget when they briefly controlled the Senate,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco said. “Republicans practice what they preach – fiscal responsibility.”
Democrats have argued that a strong tide of turnout has swept most of the problematic lawmakers from the 2-year majority out of office.
Jul 31st - 4:23 pm
Revenue in the first quarter from the state’s personal income tax were $1.3 billion — higher than what the state Division of Budget anticipated, according to a report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office.
But the report found that the first-quarter results were lower than the same period of time last year.
The state’s year-to-date collections were $632.3 — a 3.3 percent decline.
Nevertheless, the state’s coffers benefited from nearly $800 million in financial settlements, including $50 million from MetLife, $20 million from AXA Equitable and $715 million from Credit Suisse.
An additional $2.2 billion was received by the state on July 20 following the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year, stemming from the settlement with French bank BNP Paribas.
An additional $1.3 billion is expected from the settlement.
Jul 31st - 3:53 pm
Citing his tenure in Albany, the Superior Officers Association of Nassau County endorsed Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein’s re-election bid.
Klein, a Bronx lawmaker, faces former city Conucilman Oliver Koppell in a Democratic primary.
The union is Long Island-based, but the group points to Klein’s long-standing support that’s helped their active and retired members.
“Senator Klein has consistently demonstrated his support of our 1,100 active and retired members by utilizing his many years of Albany experience to enact meaningful legislation that benefits our members, their families and all New Yorkers,” said President Brian Hoesl of the Superior Officers Association.
Klein has racked up a series of labor endorsements over the last several weeks which he’s touted as a sign of his broad support, in and out of the Senate district.
“I’m proud to receive the endorsement of the Superior Officers Association whose members keep Long Island safe and I will continue to be a voice in the Senate for members of law enforcement who protect hardworking families across New York,” Klein said.
Jul 31st - 2:33 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded in a statement Thursday to a letter from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office that warned against coaching potential witnesses in the ongoing probe of the Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption and promised to end publicly commenting on the issue that has engulfed his administration.
The letter, reported this morning by The New York Times, came after commission members released statements backing up Cuomo’s argument that the anti-corruption panel was not interfered with by his office.
The statements were released on Monday this week and coincided with the governor’s first public comments to an extensive New York Times story that reported on the governor’s office’s involvement in the commission and efforts to block subpoenas to politically problematic areas.
Bharara’s letter reportedly warned the Cuomo administration would face possible witness tampering and obstruction charges stemming from efforts to reach out to commission members, who in turn publicly stated the anti-corruption panel remained independent of the governor’s office.
Cuomo on Thursday acknowledged the existence of the letter from Bharara’s office and that his office raised “concerns with relevant parties” in response to inaccurate reporting following the Times’ story.
“We are aware of the letter sent by the U.S Attorney for the Southern District. The New York Times published a story last week that generated a wave of news reports across the state, some with numerous inaccuracies, and we wanted to correct them,” Cuomo said. “We discussed these concerns with relevant parties.”
Cuomo added that due to Bharara requesting an end to a “public dialogue” he won’t have any additional statements to make on the Moreland issue.
“Several members of the Commission (District Attorneys and a law school dean) issued personal statements to correct the public record,” Cuomo said. “These statements reiterated comments they had made over the past year. As I believe the U.S. Attorney has made it clear that ongoing public dialogue is not helpful to his investigation, we will have no additional comment on the matter.”
The governor has publicly commented twice on the Moreland controversy since The Times story last week: On Monday in Buffalo and again Wednesday on Long Island.
Both times, Cuomo insisted the commission was an independent entity, and pointed repeatedly to a statement released on Monday by Commission Co-Chairman Bill Fitzpatrick, the Onondaga County district attorney.
Updated: Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause, points out the letter from Bharara as reported doesn’t suggest the governor can’t speak with the public — and by extension members of the press — about the Moreland Commission mess.
“The United States Attorney for the Southern District, Preet Bharara, did not say as the Governor suggests, that “ongoing public dialogue is not helpful”. In fact his reported letter only proscribes communications between the Governor and the Moreland Commissioners. Public dialogue is what keeps our elected officials accountable, and the Governor must address voters’ concerns about his conduct,” she said. “The United States Attorney’s letter should not be used as a shield against the public or the press.”
Jul 31st - 12:57 pm
The New York Republican Committee on Thursday picked Charles Joyce, the president of a company that constructs oil and gas pipelines, for a spot on the Republican National Committee, state GOP officials announced.
Joyce, a Wellsville resident, replaces Bill Powers, a former state party chairman who recently moved to Florida.
“I’d like to thank Chairman Cox and the members of the New York Republican State Committee for their vote of confidence,” Joyce said in a statement. “Thanks to Chairman Cox and his team, New York Republicans are in the strongest position we’ve been in years. We’re poised to take back statewide offices, send more Republicans to Congress, pick up more seats in the Assembly and win an outright majority in the State Senate. I look forward to working with Chairman Cox and Committeewoman Rich to continue to build our Party at the state and national level.”
Joyce is also a frequent Republican donor in New York, and state Chairman Ed Cox said in a statement that he’s been “instrumental” in helping rebuilding the part in New York.
“I’m thrilled that Charlie has agreed to serve our Party in an increased capacity both here in New York and at the national level,” said NYGOP Chair Ed Cox. “Charlie’s support for the Party over the last several election cycles has been instrumental in rebuilding our Party – the RNC has a worthy successor to former State Party Chair Bill Powers.”
Jul 31st - 12:07 pm
As The New York Times reports the U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office has sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo warning against coaching former members of the Moreland Commission, Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino said in a radio interview the latest revelation just proves his “Godfather” comparison.
“That’s why I made the analogy to the Godfather,” Astorino told Fred Dicker on his Talk-1300 show. “This is not a suggestion. These were basically threats to pull back the subpoenas, to issue subpoenas only to legislators, to others, and to stop investigations on his pay to play pals or political cronies.”
Astorino on Thursday reiterated his call for a special prosecutor to be appointed in order to investigate whether any state laws were broken the governor’s office sought to direct or block subpoenas from the anti-corruption panel.
The special prosecutor should be appointed by a panel of New Yorkers picked by the governor, Astorino said.
Cuomo twice this week has insisted the commission was an independent entity, pointing out that while his office provided input to the panel, the commission didn’t act on it.
But Astorino, who remains behind in both public opinion polls and fundraising, said the problems will continue to pile up for Cuomo.
“This is the big problem they all face now: Cuomo has a shovel and instead of hitting people over the head with it, he’s digging himself a deeper and deeper hole,” Astorino.
On the political side, state Democrats have blasted Astorino in TV ads for political patronage in Westchester County.
“The governor is just using the tactics that he only knows and that’s to bludgeon people,” Astorino said.
Jul 31st - 11:52 am
Governor Cuomo has repeatedly pointed to Moreland Commission Co-Chair William Fitzpatrick’s statement Monday that there was no interference in the commission’s work. Fitzpatrick said in part Monday,
If I or my co-chairs or any other commissioner had been told or ordered not to pursue a sensitive topic, I can state with a high degree of certainty that we all would have resigned. That never happened.
The Governor has offered this statement up as proof that his aides did nothing wrong, and ultimately the commission acted independently. On Monday Cuomo said,
The question is but did they act independently. Chairman Fitzpatrick says 100%. And by the way, if anyone tried to jeopardize my independence I would have quit. By the way, if you know Fitzpatrick, you know that he would have quit.
Now, the New York Times claims U-S Attorney Preet Bharara sent a warning letter to about potential witness tampering and obstruction of justice. The implication is that members of the Administration may have leaned on Fitzpatrick and others to publicly assert their independence and defend the Governor. Ties between Cuomo and Fitzpatrick are extensive. To get a glimpse at their familiarity, one need only listen to Cuomo’s press conference in Buffalo Monday where he referred to the Moreland Co-Chair as “Fitz.” (I have a friend named Fitz too. He’s a great guy, although he can be a tad ornery at times. I think everyone has a “Fitz” actually, at least in modern day America ).
But here is where this gets interesting. Fitzpatrick’s wife, the Honorable Diane Fitzpatrick is a Syracuse Court of Claims Judge. She was first appointed in 1998 by Governor Pataki. And guess what? She is up for re-appointment for another 9-year term in 2015 by Governor Cuomo, should he be re-elected. Some believe that has at the very least the appearance of a conflict, especially in light of William Fitzpatrick’s flip-flopping public statements. Hence the letter from the U-S Attorney.
In fact, there are a handful of Syracuse area Republicans with close ties to the Cuomos. The Fitzpatricks, J. Patrick Barrett and Joanie Mahoney, all of whom served on the Moreland Commission. Mahoney, even threw a fundraiser for Cuomo earlier this month. Mohoney came forward to defend Cuomo last week, telling TWC News,
No one ever, in my presence, ever said we can or can’t do anything. Whether there were problems, I would put them in the category mostly of personality problems. I think there were some people who had a difficult time getting along.
So, what do these connections prove? Nothing in and of themselves. But what do they look like? That’s a whole other question. There is a saying in politics…does something pass the smell test. If it doesn’t, it has the potential look and smell really awful.
Jul 31st - 11:21 am
Citing his independence, one of the largest public employee unions in the state on Thursday formally endorsed Democratic Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
“We did it four years ago, we’re proud to be here again today endorsing Tom DiNapoli,” said Civil Service Employees Association President Danny Donohue at a meeting for the union at the Desmond Hotel in an Albany suburb.
Labor was a key player for DiNapoli’s 2010 campaign, when he was first running for a full four-year term for the post that oversees the state’s pension system and conducts audits.
DiNapoli today said turnout this year will be key for any success over his Republican opponent, Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci.
“It really is a year that we’re going to have to remind people 2014 is an important election year,” DiNapoli said. “Certainly it’s always a challenge when you run for comptroller. We’re not a top of the line, front-page race.”
But the political landscape is different for DiNapoli this year.
In 2010, his Republican opponent was wealthy hedge fund manager Harry Wilson.
This year, Antonacci is participating in the first-ever state public financing program, which was the product of an ethics overhaul package in the state budget (DiNapoli has blasted the agreement for coming in the middle of an election cycle and not including other offices).
Donohue praised DiNapoli’s independence in the office, as well as his tenure in the state Assembly.
“That he stands up,” Donohue said when asked why CSEA was endorsing DiNapoli. “As comptroller he’s independent that he understand his role, that he fights for the people he’s handling the money for.”
CSEA has not been as effusive about the top of the Democratic ticket, Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Donohue has been sharply critical of the governor, who has pushed for a less-generous labor contract with CSEA and the Public Employees Federation, a union composed of mostly white-collar workers. Cuomo also angered labor groups in 2012 when he won the passage of a new, cheaper pension tier.
An endorsement from CSEA for Cuomo’s bid for a second term at this point seems unlikely.
“We’re here today for Tom DiNapoli because he’s our choice,” Donohue said when asked about supporting Cuomo’s re-election. “We’ll deal with the governor as we have to deal with the governor. But today’s about Tom DiNapoli.”
DiNapoli dismissed any concerns that the ongoing fallout from the Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption would be a drag on the Democratic ticket.
In addition to Cuomo’s GOP opponent seeking to capitalize on the issue, Republican attorney general hopeful John Cahill has knocked Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s involvement.
Antonacci has called on DiNapoli to perform an audit of the Moreland Commission’s spending.
“It’s the beginning of the silly season, so everyone is going to seize on everything,” DiNapoli said.
He added that since the commission’s work is now part of a federal investigation, he’s refraining from commenting on the matter.
“My view is a simple one: The U.S. attorney has an examination going on right now,” he said. “Let’s all let Preet Bharara do his job, let his folks explore what they need to explore and we’ll see what the results of that process happen to be. In the meantime, we’re focused on keeping the comptroller’s office in good hands and running a positive campaign on the work that I’ve done.”
Jul 31st - 6:15 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.
At 7:35 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on WIBX 950 First News with host Bill Keeler.
At 9:30 a.m., RACC holds a golf outing, Wiltwyck Golf Club, 404 Stewart Ln., Kingston.
At 10 a.m., the SUNY Board of Trustees hold a special meeting with a likely executive session, Multipurpose Center, SUNY Global Center, 116 East 55th St., New York.
Also at 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, the Rev. Al Sharpton and clergy and community members from Staten Island host a roundtable on police-community relations, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.
Also at 10 a.m., CSEA and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli make an announcement, the Desmond Hotel, Colonie.
At 11:04 a.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill will be a guest on “The Capitol Pressroom” with Susan Arbetter.
At 11:45 a.m., NY-4 GOP candidate Bruce Blakeman will hold a press conference to discuss the role of his Democratic opponent, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, in the Moreland mess, Nassau County Supreme Court Building, 100 Supreme Court Dr., Mineola.
At noon, GOP state Senate candidate Sue Serino holds a press conference to “set the record straight” on the Dutchess County energy tax, Dutchess County Office Building, 22 Market St., Poughkeepsie.
At 12:47 p.m., Astorino will be a guest on WVOX with host Denise Ward.
At 1:30 p.m., directors of the Statewide Local Development Corp. meet, Empire State Development, 633 Third Ave., 37th Floor Conf. Room, Manhattan.
Also at 1:30 p.m., Astorino will conduct a NY Rising Buy Out Tour with Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci, 47 Terry St., Sayville.
At 2:30 p.m., de Blasio will honor firefighters and EMS workers who saved the lives of three young children from a fire on Loring Avenue in Brooklyn, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.
At 3 p.m., Astorino will conduct a roundtable discussion and tour with Sandy victims and Mastic Beach Mayor Bill Biondi, Mastic Beach Firehouse, Neighborhood Road, Mastic Beach.
At 3:30 p.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss tours local business district in the Village of Catskill, departing from 411 Main St., Catskill.
At 4:15 p.m., Moss visits the Matthew 25 Food Pantry, 8 Union St., Catskill.
At 4:30 p.m. Moss visits the Catskill High School Digital Media Center and Distance Learning Program, 341 W. Main Street, Catskill.
At 5 p.m., Moss attends the Catskill Fire Department Chicken BBQ, Long River Shopping Plaza, 170 W. Bridge St., Catskill.
At 5:30 p.m., Moss attends Meet & Greet event with voters at the Creekside Restaurant, 160 W. Main St., Catskill.
At 6 p.m., during a forum coinciding with the Police Reform Organizing Project’s release of a report titled “Broken Windows: A True Tale of Two Cities,” advocates and scholars criticize court and law enforcement practices during the six months since Bratton and de Blasio took office; New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W. 64th St., Manhattan.
Also at 6 p.m., NYC Councilwoman Inez Dickens and supporters attend a political fundraiser marking the councilwoman’s birthday, presented by Rep. Charlie Rangel and hosted by Assemblyman Keith Wright; My Image Studios Inc.’s MIST Harlem cultural center, 46 W. 116th St., Manhattan.
At 7 p.m., Moss delivers remarks at meeting of the Hudson Valley Americans for Freedom, Churchtown Fire House, 2219 County Route 27, Hudson.
In an escalation of his investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the Moreland Commission, US Attorney Preet Bharara issued a sharply worded letter to the governor, threatening to investigate his office for either obstruction of justice or witness tampering. The letter came a day after several commissioners issued statements praising the governor – apparently at the administration’s request.
During an event on Long Island, Cuomo continued to be dogged by questions about the Moreland Commission and its demise.
In response to questions about Moreland-related attacks by his GOP opponent, Westchester County executive Rob Astorino, Cuomo replied: “Yeah, that’s entertaining.”
Cuomo never actually rescinded the executive order that established the Moreland Commission, leaving the panel in limbo and maintaining 23 of its 25 members as deputy attorneys general. A Cuomo spokesman said the administration believes doing so wasn’t necessary.
Columbia University Law Prof. and LG candidate Tim Wu said members Cuomo’s administration may have violated four different state criminal laws by interfering with the operations of the now-defunct commission. Wu is an expert in state criminal law.
The fallout from the Moreland mess has now extended to impact Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, one of the commission’s three co-chairs who has remained quiet about its demise. She’s running for Congress, and her GOP opponent, Bruce Blakeman, has seized on this issue.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted he’s not paying much attention to the Moreland Commission scandal, but defended Cuomo, calling him an “agent of reform.”
Only days before U.S. authorities reached a landmark $8.97 billion settlement with BNP Paribas over the bank’s dealings with countries subject to U.S. sanctions, Cuomo reportedly intervened to ensure the state government got a much bigger share of the proceeds.
A top executive at two nonprofit organizations founded by the Rev. Peter Young was charged with stealing more than $1 million in state money and approving a no-show job for ex-Assemblyman William Boyland Sr.
A U.S. District Judge denied motions by NYC’s five police unions to be treated as defendants in the landmark stop-and-frisk lawsuit.