The Weekend That Was

Preliminary conversations between Syracuse developer Scott Congel and B. Thomas Golisano over a potential partnership to buy the Buffalo Bills are reportedly dead.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo met privately Friday with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, without aides, to discuss their commitment to find common ground between a coalition of LIRR unions and the MTA before July 20, when a strike could begin. They also talked about planning for a possible LIRR strike.

Labor bosses from Maryland, Virginia and Kentucky are demanding that local unions walk off the job as soon as they reach the July 20 strike deadline — although that would cause migraines for 300,000 LIRR commuters.

Atlantic City’s crumbling casino market disintegrated even further Saturday as the owners of the Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City said they expect to shut down in mid-September.

The executive director of the Thruway Authority says the state plans to explore “other potential funding sources and innovative financing options” that could keep the toll hikes on the new Tappan Zee Bridge modest.

For the past year, Empire State Development, the state’s economic development arm, has delayed a Freedom of Information request by Gannett’s Albany bureau that seeks details about the spending on New York’s “Open for Business” marketing campaign.

De Blasio’s planned trip to Italy with his family represents a stark contrast with his immediate predecessors who portrayed themselves as chief executives who shunned vacations.

There are more than 700,000 Chinese Americans in the New York City area, and Democratic LG candidate Tim Wu – whose father, a scientist, is an immigrant from Taiwan – already has been actively courting Asian-American political clubs and leaders.

Wu’s primary target, Cuomo’s running mate Kathy Hochul, says she has been on a “listening tour” and will start more traditional campaigning soon.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be the featured speaker at the MSU Billings Foundation’s inaugural Montana Business Hall of Fame ceremony in October.

Maureen Dowd finds it “unseemly” that Chelsea Clinton is joining her parents on the paid speech circuit.

Michelle Obama privately denied any ­alleged “Blood Feud” with Bill and Hillary Clinton as described in the current best-seller at a private Park Avenue meeting with Democratic ­donors.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy is shrugging off any suggestion of controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s paid speaking gig at UConn in April, saying it’s getting attention only because she may run for president.

The president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva has responded to an article by The New York Times published today in which a student there shares the story of how the college handled her report of a rape on campus.

Sheriff Timothy B. Howard, elected to lead one of Erie County government’s largest and most important departments, took a part-time job six months ago as a contract employee for a local M & T bank.

The push to bring the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn took place in Manhattan Saturday.

De Blasio’s administration used a Manhattan hotel to sell the Democratic National Committee on the idea of having the party’s 2016 convention at the Barclays Center, noting some delegates will have to sleep across the river.

Artist and curator Jim Richard Wilson, who earned national acclaim as founding director of the Sage Colleges’ Opalka Gallery, died early Sunday morning after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 61.

Richard Lipsky, a former lobbyist who did time behind bars after pleading guilty to bribery charges, pens an OpEd about the need to remove legal barriers for ex-cons trying to return to a productive life on the outside.

State AG Eric Schneiderman tried to play the race card in his 2010 primary battle against Nassau DA Kathleen Rice, drafting ex-Sen. Shirley Huntley to do his dirty work, new court papers charge. She refused, and the AG later charged her with stealing from a nonprofit she started.

The Syracuse Post-Standard says the state should spend the $2.2 billion BNP Paribas settlement on “infrastructure.”

Former “Saturday Night Live” star Tracy Morgan has been released from a rehabilitation facility as he heals from serious injuries he suffered in a car crash that left a fellow comedian dead. He’s suing WalMart, claiming the retailer was negligent when a driver of one of its tractor-trailers rammed into Morgan’s limousine van.


Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who agreed to throw his weight behind Senate Democrats in the fall elections, met quietly this week with the chamber’s top Republican, Senate co-leader Dean Skelos.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is planning to attend a gathering of Mississippi Democrats next month as he continues to mull a 2016 presidential bid.

Lyft, an app-driven car service planning to debut in New York City this evening, ran into another roadblock as AG Eric Schneiderman sought a court order to stop the company from operating in the state.

…The temporary restraining order was granted by a state Supreme Court justice, forcing Lyft to halt its operations at least until Monday of next week.

Carthage Area Hospital in Jefferson County reached a settlement connected to $750,000 it allegedly overcharged Medicare.

While NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is on a family trip to Italy, First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris will oversee and administer day-to-day functions of city government.

De Blasio had no public schedule today. According to Twitter, he spent some time playing beach volleyball with NYC Council members.

MTA chairman Tom Prendergast says the authority is “better prepared than we were in 1994″ for a potential LIRR strike.

The City Charter states that if the mayor is absent from the city for nine days, the public advocate may succeed him. Tish James says she’s available to assist Shorris if he needs her.

Republicans have submitted petitions for a potential challenger to Democratic Sen. George Latimer: Jean Maisano, director of public relations at The Guidance Center of Westchester.

A group of environmental organizations is going to court in opposition of state approval of a mine expansion in the North Country.

“I probably shouldn’t say this, but then again, I’m Joe Biden.”

There’s a Democratic primary battle in the 3rd Senate District, (which is being vacated by GOP Sen. Lee Zeldin, who’s running for Congress).

The second annual Adirondack Challenge rafting races will take place Sunday, July 20 in Indian Lake. It’s unclear whether Cuomo will attend.

Local news anchors in Colorado Springs, Colorado did not appreciate former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent comments about their district.

State Education Commissioner John King spoke at the department’s 20th Network Team Institute about his late uncle Haldane King, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.

Sen. Martin Heinrich is adding his name to the roster of Senate supporters backing Hillary Clinton, serving as a draw for a New Mexico event for  the super PAC “Ready for Hillary.”

A state-funded study on possible new sites for a Buffalo Bills stadium continues and is expected to be presented by the end of the month.

Homeland Security Commissioner Jerry Hauer told CSX Transportation and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company that their required disclosures of rail routes can’t be exempted from FOIL.

Buffalo Teachers Union Backs Teachout

Most of Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Zephyr Teachout’s more than 45,000 signatures to get on the September primary ballot came from the New York City area. But at least 600 came from Buffalo.

The President of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, Phil Rumore, said the BTF decided to pass petitions for Teachout and her Lt. Governor candidate Tim Wu, to send a message to Governor Cuomo.

“He’s supported charter schools, cut funding for public schools, and has said failing schools should face the death penalty. Our members don’t support those positions,” Rumore said.

The union’s move will likely raise some eyebrows especially in Western New York. Cuomo’s Lt. Governor Candidate, Kathy Hochul, was put on the ticket, in part, to help the Governor win some of the Western New York votes he lost to Carl Paladino four years ago.

“It’s a message I’m sure teachers across the state feel need to be sent,” Rumore said.

It’s a stance other union leaders are taking note of.

“I’m certainly interested to see if Buffalo’s support for Teachout could start a trend,” said Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski.

Urbanski said the RTA typically defers to the New York State United Teachers Union in statewide races but will speak to the BTF and NYSUT, and possibly raise the issue with RTA members in September.

“Governor Cuomo has name recognition and big bucks, but many teachers have been displeased with him,” Urbanski said.

Much of that displeasure comes from the poor rollout of the Common Core.  It’s something Rumore called a factor in his union’s decision to back Teachout.

“It’s teaching our kids to death.  I call it institutionalized child abuse,” said Rumore.

When asked if the BTF would support Republican Rob Astorino if Cuomo and Hochul make it through the primary unscathed, Rumore didn’t rule it out.

“That’s a decision we really haven’t had any discussions on that but it’s a possibility, let me put it that way,” Rumore added.

Long Island’s Esposito Backed By CWA

The Communications Workers of America on Friday endorsed Democratic Senate hopeful Adrienne Esposito, who is running for the Suffolk County Senate district being vacated by Republican Lee Zeldin.

“CWA knows that Adrienne Esposito will stand with us as we fight to grow and protect good, middle-class jobs throughout New York,” Michael Gendron, CWA 1108 political director, said in a statement.

Esposito, who was endorsed with 36 other Democratic candidates for the state Senate by 32BJ last week, faces a Democratic primary challenge from Joseph Fritz, a local party activist and attorney.

Republican Anthony Senft is running to replace the incumbent Zeldin in the SD-3.

Zeldin is seeking the congressional seat held by Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop.

Long Island is expected to be a hotly contested battleground for control of the state Senate this year, with Republicans also defending the district held by ex-Sen. Charles Fuschillo, who resigned late last year to lead the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Hawkins Says Astorino Is Scared To Debate Him

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins says Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino is “afraid” to include him a debate and called in a statement Friday to include all candidates in any candidate forums.

Astorino on Thursday challenged incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to a series of eight debates in different regions of the state.

But the Westchester County executive opposes having third-party candidates who achieved ballot access to be included.

Astorino said in a radio interview Friday morning that he didn’t want the “cast of characters” that were allowed on-stage in the 2010 gubernatorial debate. He added that a 10 percent or 15 percent threshold in public opinion polls could be a determining factor.

But Hawkins, who helped the Green Party achieve automatic ballot access four years after receiving more than 50,000 votes, says he’s technically running closer to Astorino than Astorino is to Cuomo in a recent Marist College poll.

In that poll, Astorino received 24 percent of the vote, with Hawkins getting 6 percent. Cuomo has a large lead of 59 percent.

“Voters have gotten non-stop media coverage of Astorino over the last few months and most don’t like what they hear. It is time to let them hear about the progressive alternative,” said Hawkins.

He added:

“Astorino is afraid to debate me because he knows a large percentage of New Yorkers are progressive,” Hawkins said. “He doesn’t want to have to defend his widely unpopular conservative ideas against a progressive like me. Astorino just wants to debate Cuomo about which one of them would be better at implementing the conservative agenda of tax cuts for the 1% to be paid for by spending cuts for the 99%.”

Where Cuomo Spends His Time

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has divided his time over the last 12 months between New York City, Albany and the metropolitan “area” around five boroughs, according to an analysis by the New York Public Interest Research Group.

The analysis by NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney, which covers the period of July 12, 2013 through today, is based on Cuomo’s public schedules; some trips identified in more detailed schedules released on his Citizen Connects website do not appear on the initial schedules or updates.

Cuomo has spent 152 days over the last 12 months in New York City, where the governor has a Manhattan office.

His schedule has placed him in the non-specific “New York City area” on 103 occasions — a description that often implies either his home in Westchester County or weekend trips to Long Island.

Albany, the state’s capital city, came in third, with 93 days for Cuomo.

The governor has traveled to Nassau County 15 times in the last year. Erie County, in a region of the state he has aggressively courted during his first term, was the site of 14 gubernatorial visits.

Cuomo’s public schedule over the last year also put him out of state only twice: New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

The finally tally adds up to more than 365, since Cuomo has made appearances in multiple places, which each receive full credit as a single “day.”

Where in the World is Andrew Cuomo by Nick Reisman

Schneiderman And Lawsky Seek Halt To Lyft

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Department of Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky are seeking a temporary restraining order against Lyft, a ridesharing service that state insurance officials have found to be illegal.

The court documents, filed today in state Supreme Court, charge Lyft came to the state “and set up shop while defying every law passed whose very purpose it is to protect the People of New York.”

Lyft operates as a service that allows riders to search for rides via a cell phone app that connects them to drivers using personal cars. Riders pay a rate based on time and distance.

The service began operating in Buffalo in April and had planned to begin service in New York City this evening.

The effort to seek the injunction comes as taxi and livery concerns have sought to make Lyft and other services like it operate under similar regulations to their drivers.

SandC by Nick Reisman

Astorino On The ‘Non-Story’ Of His Consultant Job

Democrats are pouncing Friday on a Daily News story that found Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino receives a $30,000-a-year consultant fee for media conglomerate Townsquare Media that owns radio stations in the Northeast and Midwest, including New York.

Astorino, interviewed this morning on WBNF, a Binghamton-based station that is owned by the company, called the news “the biggest non-story” of the campaign and defended the employment.

Astorino’s campaign has noted the outside employment was cleared by the county attorney.

Democratic surrogates of the governor, meanwhile, questioned the consultant fee.

“The Westchester County Executive oversees a budget of $1.6 Billion each year, and Westchester’s residents demand someone devoted to doing the job well,” said the anti-Astorino group, the Astorino Truth Squad.

In the interview this morning, Astorino reiterated his challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a series of eight regional debates around the state, adding a dose of Freudian analysis.

“I think it goes back to his father,” he said. “His father was scared to debate as well.”

Hochul Backs Common Core Slow Down

Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul says she supports the Common Core education standards, but also backs a slower implementation as approved by the state Legislature this year.

“I think at the end of the day we need to do more to elevate the level of education in the state and the governor does as well,” Hochul said at a Broome County Democratic picnic last night. “We’re OK with taking a step back and making sure it’s done right.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers in March agreed to slow the implementation of the standards for student examinations. The Legislature last month agreed to a Cuomo-backed bill that delayed Common Core implementation for teacher evaluations.

“It’s smart to just step back and make sure that we all end up in the same place,” Hochul said.

Cuomo has criticized the roll out of Common Core by the state Department of Education, but said he backs the standards overall.

Hochul largely agreed, saying the standards themselves are “sound.”

“Sometimes it comes down to the roll out,” she said. “I believe the principles are sound, but the governor and the Legislature decided to have a reprieve.”

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino is strongly opposed to the Common Core standards, saying that he would seek to withdraw the state from the program if elected governor. Astorino is forming a ballot line called “Stop Common Core” to run on this fall.

“I don’t know why it should be a divisive issue,” she said. “We all want our kids to be able to do the best they can.”

Hochul: Theories Over Access ‘Laughable’ And ‘Absurd’

Claims of her invisibility have been greatly exaggerated, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul insisted last night to reporters in Broome County.

Hochul’s recent stops on the campaign trail and meetings with elected officials have not been advertised to the press in advance. Instead, Hochul’s Twitter feed has been posting photos of her meeting with Democratic officials across the state, only after the fact.

Questions over the whereabouts of Hochul first gained traction this week when The New York Post quoted Democratic sources suggesting Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t want Hochul available to reporters in part because of her moderate positions on gun control and immigration.

“It’s basically laughable,” she said. “It’s so absurd.”

By contrast, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Chris Moss has had campaign schedules emailed to reporters in advance by Rob Astorino’s gubernatorial campaign.

Hochul said the discussion over her availability is being fueled by Republicans.

“Basically, I think the media is just listening to opposition that’s trying to find something to throw at us,” she said. “They don’t like how I’ve fought all my life for the working men and women of this state.”

Hochul, the former Democratic congresswoman selected to replace outgoing Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy on Cuomo’s ticket, said she made herself available to the press early on in the campaign, but few reporters were interested in talking to her.

“I need to get out and meet the people,” Hohul said. “I’m not going to hold a press conference every time I go meet a county chairman or a member of the Assembly or the Senate. But what’s more important for me to be an effective partner for the governor is to hear first hand from the people of this state what their concerns are.”

She added that her first media availability was held 24 hours after she was nominated for the lieutenant governor’s post, which was held in Buffalo.

The Cuomo campaign did not make her available for questions at the state Democratic convention, held in Suffolk County.

“I was asked almost no questions, that’s fine,” she said.

In that news conference Hochul references, she did make some news, saying she supports the Dream Act, which provides tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants, after she was asked by the press in attendance.

“I held two major press conferences and no one showed up,” she said. “So that was a decision of the media and I’m find with that. I know it’s a long campaign season.”

She added that a broader roll out of her campaign will soon be under way.

“After I’ve had my listening tour we’ve been ready to roll out whenever the media wants to find me,” she said.

Hochul’s first television appearance is scheduled she appears on NY1′s Inside City Hall next week.