Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

Here and Now

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.

Headlines…

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.

More >

Extras

The Westchester County DA’s office is reviewing a request for an investigation of Rob Astorino in connection with the Independence Party endorsement in his 2013 re-election campaign.

…The headline of this POLITICO story initially referred to the Westchester county executive and GOP gubernatorial hopeful as ”Ray Astorino.”

Sources tell the NY Post that former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani has declined to endorse Astorino and will sit out the governor’s race.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said he’s been too busy to focus on the Moreland mess, but knows the governor is a ”person of high integrity.”

Hillary Clinton says she regrets saying that she and husband Bill Clinton left the White House “dead broke” in 2001.

The Moreland Commission scandal has upended Cuomo’s long-held strategy of avoiding the national media.

Post-Star editor Ken Tingley: “It is obvious that Gov. Cuomo doesn’t work for the people, he is working only to benefit his own ambitions.”

Tom Golisano is absent from the bidding on the Bills – for now.

Jimmy Kimmel: “If the Bills go to Toronto, we’re going to war with Canada.”

The de Blasio family redecorated the private spaces of Gracie Mansion with donations from the modern funiture chain West Elm.

NY-21 Democratic candidate Aaron Woolf was “caught off guard” by a reporter’s question about his personal wealth.

The Jewish Voice wants former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg to run for president.

So-called “dark money” spending nearly eclipsed candidate spending in the June 30 GOP NY-21 primary.

The AFT posts a list on BuzzFeed of nine fim and TV teachers who “deserved due process.”

Former Gov. David Paterson has yet another gig.

The AFL-CIO endorsed Pete Sikora, a lobbyist for the CWA, to replace retiring Brooklyn Assemblywoman Joan Millman.

The National Congress of American Indians and the Oneida Indian Nation praised Hillary Clinton for supporting the campaign to change the Redskins’ name.

Congrats to Bob Freeman, executive director for the state Committee on Open Government, on his award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Happy birthday Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

Bharara and Schneiderman Do Lunch

At the height of Moreland madness, two of the most high profile players in this seemingly never-ending saga – US Attorney Preet Bharara and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman – met for a very public lunch in lower Manhattan yesterday, multiple sources confirm.

The Democratic duo was spotted lunching at City Hall Restaurant – an eatery favored by members of the New York City political set due to its proximity to (you guessed it) City Hall. Schneiderman and Bharara have known each other in a professional capacity for the past several years, but aren’t personal friends, according to a source familiar with their relationship.

It’s worth noting that Bharara, who is investigating the demise of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s now-defunct corruption-busting Moreland Commission, would probably not be seen in such a public place with Schneiderman if the attorney general was a target of that probe.

Given the role that Schneiderman played, however, through his agreement to deputize its 25 members to broaden their purview beyond the executive branch and loaning of top aides to staff the commissinon, it’s possible that he is providing information to the US attorney as the investigation progresses.

Schneiderman has been under fire – especially from his Republican opponent, former Pataki administration official John Cahill – for refusing to comment on the Moreland Commission and explain why he did not speak up when the Cuomo administration was, as has been exhaustively documented by the New York Times (and refuted by Cuomo himself) interfering with its work.

It’s no secret that the relationship between Cuomo and Schneiderman has been rocky, dating at least as far back as the 2010 Democratic primary to replace Cuomo in the AG’s office.

At the time, Cuomo was widely believed to prefer Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice to Schneiderman in that race, due in part to her ticket-balancing capability (the Democratic slate that year was all white, almost all male – with the exception of US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand – and all from downstate), but also because he felt Schneiderman was too liberal and, as a former senator, too tied to the scandal-scarred Legislature.

Now Rice is running for the seat of retiring Long Island Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, and is trying to keep a low profile given her role as one of the Moreland Commission’s three co-chairs. (Unlike Onondaga County DA Bill Fitzpatrick, whose public comments have provided considerable cover for Cuomo in the wake of the Times story, neither Rice nor the third co-chair, Milton L. Williams, Jr., have offered support of the governor’s position).

Rice may soon be forced to end her silence. Tomorrow, her Republican opponent in the NY-4 race, former Nassau County Legislator Bruce Blakeman, is holding a press conference tomorrow afternoon outside the Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola to “to discuss his opponent’s role in the Moreland Commission and answer questions from the media.”

Moreland = Troopergate?

From today’s Morning Memo:

A former top Senate GOP aide says there are uncanny parallels between the infamous “Troopergate” scandal that bedeviled former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and the Moreland mess that is now causing headaches for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

John McArdle, who served as spokesman for Joe Bruno when the then-Senate majority leader was the target of Spitzer’s botched political hit job, made the connection during his appearance on the “Insiders” segment of last night’s CapTon.

“Governors have tried this in the past – one in particular – Governor Spitzer, who, I think, used an entity – the State Police to try and force something,” McArdle said.

“…Here’s the parallel: That something was done in an attempt to force using an entity – whether it was Moreland or the state troopers – and you had it backfire.”

“I think the Moreland Commission, which is an executive entity – the statute says Moreland exists to investigate the executive, not the Legislature, that is the statute – so I think what happened with this is that by deputizing the members and making them deputy attorney generals, it was an effort to go after the Legislature,” McArdle continued.

“I think that was the intent all along. And using the commission as a vehicle, was, I think, the wrong vehicle, since they in turn started looking at the governor.”

(Interestingly, McArdle’s partner on “Insiders” last night was Democratic consultant Bruce Gyory, who worked for the Spitzer administration – albeit after Troopergate. Gyory declined to comment on McArdle’s theory).

Troopergate, as you’ll recall, involved Spitzer’s effort to use the State Police to report on Bruno’s travel and try to catch him violating the rules of mixing politics and state business while traveling on state aircraft.

Bruno at the time was Spitzer’s main political nemesis, and the governor was intent on trying to flip the Senate into Democratic hands.

The whole thing backfired, in no small part due to the NY Post’s Fred Dicker, who broke the story and furiously fanned its flames, but also because of an investigation conducted – and bombshell report issued – by none other than one Andrew Cuomo, who at the time was state attorney general (not to mention governor-in-waiting and a longtime political rival of Spitzer’s).

Troopergate sparked numerous probes – including one by Albany County DA David Soares, who, ironically, was also a member of the now-defunct Moreland Commission, and complained (according to the New York Times’ opus) about not receiving any case referrals before the governor shut the commission down.

No charges were ultimately brought against Spitzer for his role in Troopergate, but several of his top aides were slapped with charges by JCOPE’s predecessor – the State Commission on Public Integrity.

Also, Troopergate didn’t bring Spitzer down, though it did tarnish his reputation considerably. The former governor orchestrated his own demise with his penchant for pricey prostitutes.

McArdle didn’t mention another parallel between Spitzer and Cuomo – both are ambitious and aggressive, which led to complicated relationships with the Legislature.

But Cuomo has a deeper well of support than the self-professed “steamroller” Spitzer – even though some are now crowing over his current Moreland troubles. (Whether that support is motivated by fear of reprisal from the powerful governor is another story).

Cuomo has also been in office much longer than Spitzer was at the time Troopergate broke, and he has had far more success in office than Spitzer, passing four on-time budgets and numerous pieces of high-profile legislation (the SAFE Act, gay marriage etc.) through the Legislature.

So far, there’s just one probe – conducted by US Attorney Preet Bharara – into the Moreland scandal.

GOP AG candidate John Cahill is slamming his Democratic target, AG Eric Schneiderman, for remaining silent to date on the matter. But Schneiderman is in a bit of a bind, having deputized the Moreland members to give them investigatory powers outside the executive branch and providing top staffers to assist the commission.

Watch Here >>

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Nassau County.

At 8:30 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino attends a breakfast with local ministers hosted by the Rev. Michel Faulkner, Sylvia’s Restaurant, 328 Lenox Ave., Manhattan.

At 9:03 a.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill appears on the Bob Lonsberry Show, AM 1180 WHAM.

At 10:30 a.m., public transportation advocates from the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign discuss the release of their annual report card ranking city subway lines based on performance statistics; City Hall station, southeast corner, Broadway and Warren Street, Manhattan.

At 10:45 a.m., Astorino holds a press conference on the Moreland Commission scandal, Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers St., Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Cuomo makes a Sandy rebuilding announcement, 50 Florence Ave., Freeport.

Also at 11 a.m., Cahill holds a press conference along with Assemblymember Ray Walter and Assembly candidate Angela Wozniak to call on AG Eric Schneiderman to “break his silence” on his role in the Moreland mess, 350 Main St., Buffalo. (AG’s Buffalo office).

At 11:30 a.m., Astorino will be a gust on “The Capitol Pressroom” with guest host Kyle Hughes.

Also at 11:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio makes an announcement, University Senior Housing – Community Room, 1285 Merriam Ave., the Bronx.

At 12:45 p.m., U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand holds a conference call with reporters on legislation regarding college sexual assault.

At 2 p.m., Cahill and Assembly candidate/former U.S. Marshal Peter Lawrence hold a press conference where Cahill will reiterate his Moreland message, 144 Exchange Blvd., Rochester. (AG’s Rochester office).

Also at 2 p.m., winery owners and their allies call on Cuomo to deny a proposal for gas storage facility in Finger Lakes, LOB, Room 120, Albany.

At 2:15 p.m., Sen. Tony Avella and advocacy groups challenging the “Willets West” mall proposal begin their oral arguments followed by a press conference on the courthouse steps, New York State Supreme Court, 71 Thomas St., Room 210, Manhattan.

At 1:30 p.m., Astorino will hold a press conference on the Moreland Commission scandal, Nassau County Supreme Court, 100 Supreme Court Dr., Mineola.

At 6 p.m., GOP LG candidate and Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss attends the Chemung County Fair, 170 Fairview Rd., Horseheads.

Also at 6 p.m., the Teachout-Wu campaign holds a “strategy call” with supporters.

At 6:30 p.m., Astorino will attend a Long Island Superstorm Sandy/meet the candidate forum, Loyal Order of Moose Lodge, 883 S. Broadway, Lindenhurst.

At 9:30 p.m., Astorino attends the Frank Kenna Republican Club meeting, VFW Post 2348, 31-35 41 St., Astoria.

Headlines…

Is the IDC-regular Democrat reunification deal in jeopardy (already)?

The now-defunct Moreland Commission spent over $350,000 in its nine months of existence for travel, information technology and data analysis.

Bill Hammond says Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s commission “was an elaborate bluff — and the Legislature called him on it, not once but twice.”

Brandishing a bottle of bleach, GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino continued his call for the cleanup of Albany.

Astorino scoffed at the controversy that erupted after he used a line from “The Godfather” to criticize Cuomo’s handling of the Moreland Commission, saying: “Next time I guess I’ll quote from the Wizard of Oz and maybe they’ll get upset with that too.”

The NYT slams Cuomo’s “unconvincing spin” on the Moreland Commission’s demise.

Of the two dozen companies so far announced that will receive 10 years of tax breaks through START-UP NY, more than half are actually expansions of companies that already operate in New York or elsewhere.

The Buffalo News sings the praises of Cuomo’s START-UP NY program, saying: “It’s hard to recall any time in the last decade or more that a governor has made so many appearances in Buffalo to announce hundreds of new jobs.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is excited about his family’s move into Gracie Mansion – especially since there is no longer “a line for the bathroom, or conflicts over the bathroom.” (The new digs has five compared to his Park Slope one).

New York City’s finances are being responsibly managed despite the large cost of negotiating labor settlements with city workers, according to members of the state Financial Control Board.

More >

Extras

“Inside City Hall” host Errol Louis says NJ Gov. Chris Christie has been “far more adept” at handling Bridgegate than Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been at handling the Moreland mess.

In an unusual move, Christie called a special midsummer session of the New Jersey Legislature toconsider changes to the state’s bail system

Cuomo has collected at least $650,000 in campaign contributions from recipients of tax credits to redevelop industrial sites during the past four years.

GOP LG candidate Chris Moss said people “end up in jail” for lesser crimes than those he believes Cuomo could be guilty of in regards to the Moreland Commission.

A CBS/NYT poll found Cuomo leading GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino by 24 points – a lot, but less than other polls have shown.

Donald Trump admits he isn’t likely to win the bid to become the next owner of the Buffalo Bills.

Members of the Cuomo administration met this week with medical marijuana advocates as some lawmakers call for speeding up the state’s issuance of the drug.

Only one New York contest – NY-11 – made DCCC Chairman Steve Israel’s list of the top seven House races this fall.

US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand issued an “investor report” on her Off the Sidelines PAC.

Former AIG Chairman Hank Greenberg will go on trial in January after more than nine years of legal jousting over former AG Eliot Spitzer’s lawsuit accusing him of fraud.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is among those encouraging Cuomo to travel to his country.

The Manhattan Democratic Party accidentally announced the death of one of its  most legendary figures: Longtime district leader James McManus.

What, exactly, is AG Eric Schneiderman’s share of the Moreland mess?

The NY GOP is poised to nominate an oilman from Allegany County to fill a vacancy on the RNC left by former state party Chairman Bill Powers.

Brooklyn Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz spent more than $1,300 in campaign funds during a European vacation.

Rep. Paul Tonko thinks the footage of him speeding (going over 90 on the Thruway) was a “professional sort of approach.”

NYC’s finances are on “solid footing” according to a report from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office.

NY-21 GOP candidate Elise Stefanik’s campaign released a new web video.

Hillary Clinton says that the Washington Redskins football team should change its name because the term is “insensitive.”

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former President Bill Clinton will participate in a three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit hosted by President Barack Obama.

Two years after his conviction on federal corruption charges, ex-NYC Councilman Larry Seabrook’s name will be removed from 55 trash cans spread across his former Bronx district.

Ex-Councilman Halloran Guilty On All Five Counts

A jury today found ex-Queens Councilman Dan Halloran guilty on all five counts of the corruption charges he faced stemming in part from his role in a bribery scheme to sell the GOP line in the 2013 NYC mayoral primary.

US Attorney Preet Bharara issued the following statement:

“With today’s verdict of guilty reached by an impartial and independent jury, the clean-up of corruption in New York continues in courtrooms. As the jury unanimously found, Daniel Halloran played a key role in two distinct political corruption schemes: first, for $20,000, Halloran was willing and able to serve as a go-between to deliver bribes to political party officials, and second he also took nearly $25,000 in cash and illegal campaign contributions to steer $80,000 in City Council money to other bribe payers.”

“Dan Halloran was the lone defendant in the trial that just ended in his conviction, but he is unfortunately not alone in a crowded field of New York officials who are willing to sell out their offices for self-enrichment.”

“This Office will continue the vigorous prosecution of political corruption to secure for the people of New York – regardless of party affiliation – what they deserve: the honest labors of their elected representatives. And we will continue to partner with the FBI, whose outstanding investigative work in this case was instrumental to achieving a just result.”

Halloran, a Republican, was charged with taking more than $20,000 in payoffs from two undercover FBI operatives posing as corrupt developers in exchange for agreeing to funnel public cash to them and to help bribe Republican NYC county leaders to allow Democratic Sen. Malcolm Smith, also of Queens, to run Row B in the party’s mayoral primary.

(That race was eventually won by former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, who lost the general election in a landslide to the winner of the Democratic primary, current NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio).

Testifying in his own defense, Halloran admitted taking the cash, but said he considered the money payment for consulting services and never procured any public funds for the real estate developers/FBI agents.

Originally, Halloran and Smith were once co-defendants, along with former Queens GOP official Vince Tabone. But attorneys for Smith and Tabone opted to accept a mistrial due to a procedural error having to do with Yiddish phone recordings, while Halloran’s attorney decided to proceed as scheduled.

Smith and Tabone will be re-tried in January, and today’s verdict perhaps is not the best omen for them. In the meantime, Smith is seeking re-election, though he has been cast out from both the Democratic Senate conference (which he once led) and the IDC.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and the New York City “area” today with no public schedule.

At 8:15 a.m., Sen. Simcha Felder speaks at the Shema Kolainu’s 12th annual Legislative Breakfast, Renaissance Ballroom, 5902 14th Ave., Brooklyn. (NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer will also speak).

At 9 a.m., State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli addresses a “Brooklyn Newsmakers” event sponsored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership; NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, 6 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn.

At 9:05 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOB gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on 100.7FM WUTQ “Talk of the Town.”

At 10 a.m., DEC Commissioner Joe Martens, NYSERDA president and C.E.O. John Rhodes and others hold press conference on the wood-fire heating industry, Evoworld Inc. at Troy Boiler Works, 2800 7th Ave., Troy.

At 10:40 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on “Live from the State Capitol” with Fred Dicker.

At 11 a.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Christopher Moss will will comment on the Cuomo administration’s role in “directing criminal investigations away from political allies at a press conference,” Broome County Courthouse steps, 92 Court St., Binghamton.

Also at 11 a.m., Queens DA Richard Brown, Sen. Michael Gianaris, and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas will host a press conference at the Queens DA’s office to announce the recent passage of a bill that would crack down on persistent sexual abusers, 3rd Floor Conference Room
125-01 Queens Blvd., Kew Gardens.

At 11:34 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on WABC 770 with host Geraldo Rivera.

At 12:15 p.m., Hillary Clinton will sign copies of her new memoir at the Northshire Bookstore, Broadway, Saratoga Springs. (Security is expected to be very tight).

At 12:30 p.m., Moss will repeat his accusations against the Cuomo administration, on the sidewalk in front of the Chemung County Justice Building/Correctional Facility, 211 William St., Elmira.

At 1:30 p.m., Astorino will hold a press conference calling on Cuomo to answer questions about his administration’s role in “directing criminal investigations away from his political allies,” Capitol steps, Albany.

Also at 1:30 p.m., Brooklyn BP Eric Adams, Assemblyman Walter Mosley, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed, city officials, housing advocates and real estate executives introduce an initiative intended to increase participation in lotteries to qualify for housing for low-income residents; rotunda, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

At 3 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio discusses the city’s financial plan at a meeting of the New York State Financial Control Board, Governor’s Office – Board Room, 633 Third Ave., 38th Floor, Manhattan. (Stringer will also attend).

At 3:30 p.m., Astorino will repeat his earlier call regarding the governor and the now-defunct Moreland Commission, Plattsburgh City Hall, 41 City Hall Place, Plattsburgh.

At 5:30 p.m., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand hosts “New York Farm Day,” 325 Russell Senate Office Building, Kennedy Caucus Room, Washington, D.C.

From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Adams, Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson and other officials participate in a “State of Brooklyn Reception” presented by government news organization City & State; Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn.

Ay 7 p.m., religious and NYC officials, including Public Advocate Tish James, the director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery, Amy Peterson, and NYC Council members discuss efforts to rebuild following Hurricane Sandy during a summit; 110-31 Merrick Blvd., Queens.

Headlines…

Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended his administration’s treatment of the now-defunct anti-corruption Moreland Commission, saying his aides offered advice to investigators but that it operated with “total independence.” He called the commission a “phenomenal success.”

“Of course I talked to people,” Cuomo said. “It would be unintelligent not to talk to people. The best evidence of independence is when someone from the second floor says ‘Why don’t you do this?’ And then the chairman says ‘I disagree, I don’t want to do that.’ That’s not a sign of interference. This is demonstrable proof of independence.”

Cuomo was testy with a New York Times reporter who questioned him in Buffalo, saying: “If you had watched the movie to the end, the name of the movie would have been ‘Independence. You named it “Interference.’”

In a ten-minute segment yesterday morning, “Morning Joe” hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough skewered Cuomo’s handling of the commission, comparing it unfavorably to NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal and to the excesses of Huey Long.

Cuomo’s hand-picked LG running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, doesn’t think the Moreland mess will impact the fall elections.

Former Gov. Mario Cuomo defended his gubernatorial son, saying his is “as honest a politician as we have seen in New York,” adding: “I wish I were as good a man.”

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino sparked a backlash when he compared the Italian-American Cuomo’s handling of the commission to “a mafia boss coming forward and saying that he wants to make a suggestion, an offer you can’t refuse…That clearly is intimidation.”

The state Democratic Party launched a pro-Cuomo ad blitz as the governor’s office braced for the embarrassing New York Times story about the governor’s handling of the commission.

More >

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule. (This changed late last night, he was supposed to be in NYC).

At 10 a.m., State Comptroller Tom 10 a.m. DiNapoli announces a fiscal profile, City Hall, 42 Ridge St., Glens Falls.

At 10:15 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on “Live from the State Capitol” with host Fred Dicker.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, joined by community officials and others, discusses the release of his office’s audit of the New York City Housing Authority; Raymond V. Ingersoll Houses, 120 Navy Walk, Brooklyn.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the Rev. Al Sharpton and Eric Garner’s family meet with the U.S. Attorney of the Civil Rights Division for the Eastern District, at Camdan Plaza, Brooklyn.

At 11 a.m., FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro presides over promotion ceremony for 106 FDNY members; Christian Cultural Center, 120-20 Flatlands Ave., Brooklyn.

Also at 11 a.m., Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell will formally endorse Dr. Terrence Murphy of Yorktown for SD-40, 39 Mt. Ebo Road South, Brewster.

At 11:20 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on AM970 The Answer with host John Gambling.

At 1 p.m., opponents of horse-drawn carriages participate in a demonstration sponsored by the animal rights organization NYCLASS; steps, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 1:06 p.m., Astorino will be a guest on WXXI with host Evan Dawson.

At 1:30 p.m., the NYC Council holds its Stated Meeting, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 2:30 p.m. (Italian time), NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will speak at a public ceremony with the Mayor of Grassano Francesco Sanseverino, Palazzo Materi.

At 4:30 p.m., Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout and her running mate, Tim Wu, hold a press conference calling on Cuomo to “come clean” on interference in the Moreland Commission corruption investigations, outside Cuomo’s NYC office, 633 3rd Ave., Manhattan.

Headlines…

Good government activists called on Cuomo to address the NYT bombshell on his administration’s interference with his now-defunct corruption-busting Moreland Commission, but he declined to say anything beyond the 13-page response he provided to the paper.

The story threatens to turn what was a “sleepy” re-election campaign for Cuomo into an effort dominated by the touchy subject of corruption – which Cuomo himself said he was targeting by creating the commission in the first place.

The NYT followed up its report with an editorial on Cuomo’s “broken promises.”

“While the governor has the legal right to involve himself in the workings of a Moreland panel, do he or his staffers face steeper legal peril because this panel was also empowered as deputy attorneys general?”

The governor made no public appearances yesterday and released no statements in response to the Moreland Commission story, but he did sign a bill into law that cracks down on pet theft and mistreatment.

Phil Reisman, in a “Spaceballs” reference: “The Schwartz is definitely with Cuomo.”

Josh Benson says the NYT report should “permanently banish the idea that Cuomo will ever put any skin in the game when he talks about reform.”

LG Bob Duffy declined to give his thoughts on Cuomo’s handling of the commission, saying he did not have “any direct knowledge” of it workings.

New York’s credit rating was raised to AA+ from AA by Standard & Poor’s, which cited strong fiscal management after Cuomo won his fourth consecutive on-time budget. This is the highest rating for the state since 1972.

The Cuomo campaign is now challenging both the petitions and the residency of the governor’s Democratic primary challenger, Zephyr Teachout.

Some attendees at the funeral for Eric Garner, the man who died while in NYPD custody after being put in an apparent chokehold, were upset NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t cut his Italy vacation short to be there.

While in Italy, the mayor ate pizza with a knife and fork – again.

Speaking at the funeral, the Rev. Al Sharpton called for “justice” for Garner and peaceful protests in response to his death.

Sharpton said Team de Blasio is different, compared to how Bloomberg and his police commissioner handled emergencies, and vastly different from Giuliani.

A top de Blasio administration lawyer infuriated cops by tweeting about how the city failed Garner — even as the investigation into his death remains open.

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Extras

Onondaga County DA Bill Fitzpatrick insists Larry Schwartz never directed him to stop any investigations or subpoenas when he chaired the Moreland Commission.

Democratic Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins defended the governor’s interference in the commission, echoing the administration’s “well, he created it” argument.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino expects “indictments and criminal charges” as a result of the NYT’s Moreland story.

Even after its disbandment in April, five staffers from the defunct commission remain on the state payroll - including its former executive director at a salary of $175,000 a year.

NY-19 Democratic candidate Sean Eldridge is wealthy now, but he once worked at a Taco Bell drive-through.

John Degnan has taken over as the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will be feted like a prodigal son returning home when he visits the small town in southern Italy where his grandfather was born.

Following Eric Garner’s death while in NYPD custody, NYCLU and labor groups are pushing Cuomo to veto a bill they say would hamstring the ability of local governments to discipline police for misconduct.

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito refused to say race was a factor in Garner’s death.

CBS’ “Late Show” will remain in New York City after David Letterman retires and Stephen Colbert takes over next year.

…that’s thanks to at least $16 million in state tax breaks and cash.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg released details of his trip to Israel, which he made to show it’s safe to fly into and out of the country.

Jennifer Rubin suggests Bloomberg should challenge Hillary Clinton from the left in 2016.

Bloomberg had a tense interview with CNN host Wolf Blitzer, in which he accused Blitzer of “insulting” America.

The thirteen “best” New York restaurants NOT in NYC – agree or disagree?

Eight Queens Library trustees were booted thanks to their opposition to ousting their free-spending director.

State Education Commissioner John King will be releasing ”instructional reports” on this year’s Grade 3-8 English and math tests early.