Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be in New York City and Niagara County today.

At 10 a.m., Cuomo’s residency challenge to get his Democratic primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, thrown off the September ballot continues, Brooklyn Supreme Room 775, before Judge Walker.

At 10:30 a.m., former NYC Councilman and state Senate candidate John Liu will unveil his transportation plan, outlining priorities for access-a-ride and expanding express bus service, Cross Island Parkway’s north service road near Cryders Lane and 154th Street, Queens.

At 11 a.m., NYC moms, and public officials – including Sen. Liz Krueger – rally in support of breastfeeding and celebrate the 20th Anniversary of a state civil rights law allowing women to breastfeed in public, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins holds a news conference “to contrast his positions on schools, desegregation, and affordable housing with that of Republican Rob Astorino and Democrat Andrew Cuomo,” entrance to the County Office Bldg., 148 Martine Ave., White Plains.

At 11:30 a.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill holds a meet-and-greet with local business and community leaders, The Pillars, 13800 W. County House Rd., Albion.

From noon to 4 p.m., Sen. Malcolm Smith hosts a BBQ, 111-55 167 St. and Sayres Avenue, Queens.

At 1 p.m., Cahill, joined by Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess, will continue to push AG Eric Schneiderman to speak publicly about his role in the Moreland mess, 400 Public Safety Building, 13925 State Route 31, Albion.

At 1 p.m., National Action Network officials publicize a planned Aug. 23 march across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge following a noon private meeting with officials from the city Department of Investigation to discuss criticisms by NYPD union officials; Eric Garner’s death, and other incidents; 80 Maiden Ln., Manhattan.

At 2:30 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, Niagara Falls State Park, Goat Island.

At 4:30 p.m., BEW Local 2109 Picnic, Joseph Davis State Park, Lewiston.

At 7 p.m., Rep. Chris Gibson will march in the Pawling Firemen’s Parade and meet with constituents.

At 8 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio visits the Ingersoll Community Center, where kids will be participating in “skate night” and dance classes, 177 Myrtle Ave., Brooklyn.

Headlines…

The NYT Eleanor Randolph: “…if (Zephyr Teachout) is such a trifle, then why has (Cuomo) hired one of the best elections experts in the state to pore over her records and find ways to get her off the ballot?”

“I think what it shows is that in the wake of a real scandal, and the missteps of the Moreland Commission, Andrew Cuomo is scared, and he would rather that I’m not on the ballot,” Teachout said before testifying in her residency case.

Teachout started crying on the stand when her own lawyer asked about the city apartment she shared in 2010 with a woman who died of cancer. “I still miss her,” she said.

Whether Teachout survives this legal challenge, Cuomo will still have a primary that allows him to raise even more money than he has, because he hasn’t challenged the petitions of comedian/activist Randy Credico.

Sources tell the Wall Street Journal federal prosecutors are examining whether Cuomo or his staff directed the Moreland Commission to not refer cases to district attorneys for prosecution. This is one part of what is now a three-tiered investigation.

Rep. Charlie Rangel defended Cuomo’s use of outside counsel to represent the executive chamber as the US attorney’s Moreland investigation continues.

The chair of the Hudson City Democratic Party organized an event for Teachout this Sunday. He said Cuomo has been an “utter disappointment” and he can’t support him for re-election.

Rescue New York Inc. recently registered as a campaign committee with the state Board of Elections, and is planning to spend money in the final months of the gubernatorial election to assist GOP candidate Rob Astorino.

Rescue New York’s treasurer, Lisa Lisker, has ties to some of the nation’s most prominent Republicans. There are at least three outside interest groups planning on helping GOP candidates (in the state Senate and AG hopeful John Cahill) this cycle.

Education advocates want the governor and legislative leaders to use the surplus to (finally) meet the CFE settlement requirements and end GEA, which total $5.9 billion.

The final autopsy report in the death of Eric Garner revealed that the illegal cigarette dealer was not high on drugs or alcohol when he died after being put in a chokehold by an NYPD officer.

More >

Extras

Zephyr Teachout wrote on her 2009 tax return that she lived”zero” months in New York City. In court today, she called that “a mistake.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gave an in-person endorsement to Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul. (She backed the governor via phone during the Democratic convention).

“A Good Way to Wreck the Local Economy: Build Casinos.”

Hillary Clinton praises Kirsten Gillibrand as a “great senator” and a “great  friend” in a three-page foreword to the New York Democrat’s soon-to-be-published memoir.

New York’s four major good-government groups are set to do battle with one another over the redistricting constitutional amendment.

Teachout will meet with fracktivists in Ithaca this weekend.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed Avonte’s Law - legislation aimed at making schools safer for students with special needs.

NY-21 Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello believes the reason his Democratic opponent, documentary filmmaker Aaron Woolf, is running is to “make a movie.”

The NYPD’s resident beekeeper is retiring.

The Buffalo Bills’ trust has begun making in-person presentations to prospective buyers, with as many as eight scheduled over the next three weeks.

A Republican activist filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney for the congressman’s hiring of a drone to videotape his recent wedding.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said critics of his plan to march across the Verrazano Bridge to protest Eric Garner’s death haven’t bothered to ask what that plan is.

A trial court judge has ruled in favor of Cuomo’s cap on at least part of the top salaries at non-profits such as those that provide disability services.

Cazenovia College has reportedly had more forcible sex offenses reported per student than any other college in the New York state. (See the Post-Standard’s database, here).

Bill and Hillary Clinton will reportedly pay a total $100,000 for a three-week Hamptons rental.

Some poor guy in the Rochester area – also named Joe – has a phone number so close to Assemblyman Joe Morelle’s that he fields calls intended for the assemblyman several times a week.

UFT President Mike Mulgrew, at an AFT conference in LA last month: “…You sick people need to deal with us and the children we teach. Thank you very much!”

GOP state comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci launches his statewide minor league baseball park tour in Auburn tonight.

The NYS AFL-CIO gave an early endorsement to Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky’s re-election bid.

A leading Canadian member of the Peace Bridge Authority spoke out against comments made by its chair, Sam Hoyt, about public relations around a state project to connect the bridge to the highway.

Wu: Hochul More Aligned With Boehner Than Pelosi

As Kathy Hochul picked up an endorsement Thursday from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, her Democratic rival for lieutenant governor Tim Wu said the former representative from western New York was more closely aligned policy-wise with House Speaker John Boehner.

“I hold great respect for Congresswoman Pelosi. Unfortunately, Kathy Hochul’s record on immigration and gun safety is more aligned with Republican Speaker Boehner than with Congresswoman Pelosi. Last night, Kathy Hochul said that she is entertaining a debate with me about these and other important issues. I’m looking forward to it.”

In a statement, Pelosi, a California Democrat, called Hochul “the progressive choice” for lieutenant governor.

“Kathy’s principled and pragmatic leadership produced results for her constituents in Congress. New Yorkers will be well served with Kathy fighting for them alongside Governor Andrew Cuomo,” Pelos said. “I am proud to endorse Kathy Hochul for Lieutenant Governor of New York.”

Wu has knocked Hochul repeatedly on the immigration issue, noting that as Erie County clerk she opposed a plan to give driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Hochul in May said she backs the Dream Act, which provides tuition assistance for undocumented immigrants, as well as the SAFE Act, Cuomo’s signature gun-control law from 2013.

The endorsement from Pelosi capped a day of campaigning on Long Island for Hochul who promoted the creation of a new ballot line focused on women’s issues, the Women’s Equality Party.

As Hochul was campaigning today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign was in court in an effort to knock Wu’s running mate, Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout, off the September primary ballot.

Teachout Goes to Court

Years ago, a good friend of mine ended up as the lead item on Page Six for something he probably should not have done ( although the infraction was minor by today’s standards ). To this day, he still jokingly brings up the calm yet brutally honest way I described the situation for him when he called for my reaction that day which was, “well…it’s not good.”

I was reminded of that story while sitting in court this morning listening to former State Senator Martin Connor  ( on behalf of the Cuomo team ) question Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Zephyr Teachout about her residency.

By law, Teachout needs to have lived here in New York for the last five years in order to run for governor. Connor called Tecahout as his first witness and proceeded to ask about her various addresses over the time period. Fairly quickly it was established that Teachout obtained a Vermont Driver’s license in 2009 – the first year she would have had to be living here to meet the requirement. Teachout then traded in her Vermont license for a New York one in May 2014, or right around the time she was deciding to run for governor.

During her early days in New York, Teachout lived with a friend in the East Village and didn’t obtain a residence of her own until 2011. She often cited her parents address in Vermont as her permanent address, and received her mail at her Fordham University office.

As late as 2013, after being stopped for a traffic infraction, Teachout provided the police officer with a Vermont address.

There are very few bills with New York addresses ( if any ) to prove New York residency, and for the last three summers she has lived in a cabin in Vermont where she participated in musical theater productions. Some of this was first reported last month. Also this past May, Teachout apparently visited her accountant and amended tax returns to reflect a permanent New York presence.

To top it all off, her cell phone has a Vermont area code.

Finally, and this was my favorite point, the only property Teachout has owned recently was in New Hampshire where she “flies hang gliders,” according to her testimony.

Now, in fairness, the defense has not yet had the opportunity to present its case. And we are told Teachout’s mother, a Vermont judge, will be testifying tomorrow on her daughter’s behalf.

But it was a little surprising to see the candidate on the stand trying to deflect all of these facts that were skillfully drawn out by Connor while her lawyer mostly just sat there. Teachout has said that the Moreland Morass has greatly changed the dynamic of the race in her favor, but if she can’t successfully push back against this challenge, there will be no race to speak of.

Duffy: No Comment On Special Prosecutor

As Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino pushes for a special state prosecutor to pursue a concurrent Moreland Commission investigation, Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy declined to comment on the proposal.

“Watching this whole issue transpire, the governor’s been very clear about not commenting on the Moreland Commission,” Duffy told reporters in Buffalo today. “It’s not something I have any indirect or direct knowledge of, anyway.”

Astorino has called for a panel to appoint a prosecutor to investigate whether any state laws were broken when Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office became involved in the direction of subpoenas from the commission, appointed last year to probe illegality in the state Legislature.

The circumstances of the commission’s demise in April, as well as Cuomo’s office’s involvement, is the subject of an investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office.

After his office received a letter warning against the coordination of public statements issued by former members of the commission, Cuomo said in a statement he would refrain from publicly comment on the case.

Duffy noted that was the current policy and added that Bharara’s office was reviewing the matter.

“I would defer all questions back to him,” Duffy said.

Planned Parenthood Slams Amedore On WEA

Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York is taking former Assemblyman and second-time state Senate candidate George Amedore to task for his comments during a Capital Tonight interview last night, saying he misrepresented both his voting record on women’s rights and the abortion-rights portion of the governor’s 10-point Women’s Equality Act.

During our conversation, Amedore emphatically declared himself to be “pro-life,” and said he could not vote for the Women’s Equality Act if it contained the abortion-rights plank. Though supporters insist that plank merely codifies the existing rights laid out in the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, opponents say it would dramatically expand both access to and performance of abortions in New York.

Amedore said the measure “puts New York state women and their lives at risk,” which Planned Parenthood President Tracey Brooks deemed “just another recent example of ultra-conservative politics – extreme views which disingenuously claim to protect women’s health.”

“This is a part of troubling nationwide trend where politicians believe they are better positioned to make health care decisions than women and their physician,” Brooks continued in a statement released this afternoon. “Wildly inaccurate claims like Amedore’s play politics with women’s health decisions and are what truly put women’s lives at risk. It is clear that Amedore is out of touch with the women of New York State.”

Brooks also said that Amedore glossed over his own voting record during his three terms in the Assembly minority, where he voted against pay equity (another plank of the WEA) “every time he had the opportunity.”

“New York State women deserve better – they deserve representation that respects them and all of their constitutional rights,” Brooks concluded. “We stand against George Amedore this November.”

This shouldn’t come as any big surprise. Planned Parenthood is among the organizations that is committed to flipping the Senate into Democratic hands in hopes of seeing the WEA passed in that chamber.

In 2012, it supported the Democrat who defeated Amedore, now-Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, by 18 votes, winning despite the fact that the district was specifially drawn by the Senate GOP with Amedore in mind.

Amedore is now running against Tkaczyk a second time, and said last night that he feels confident in his chances – especially since this isn’t a presidential election year that will boost Democratic turnout. Also, the 2012 race was dominated by spending (some $500,000 ) by outside interests trying to make Tkaczyk into the poster child for public campaign financing. So far, no outside spending has materialized in this race, but Amedore said he fully expects it will as Election Day draws closer.

Amedore’s timing could have perhaps been better, given the fact that Democratic LG Kathy Hochul has two events today – both on Long Island – launching the Women’s Equality Party that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to create for the November elections. As Nick pointed out earlier, the Hochul events come as the governor’s legal challenge to the residency of his female Democratic challenger, Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout, is in court for the first time today.

Report: State Lawmakers Spending Heavily On Legal Fees

The various corruption investigations and sexual harassment scandals have been an economic boon for law firms in New York, according to a review of legislative spending by the Empire Center for New York State Policy.

The think tank found state lawmakers have spent more than $1 million in public money for outside legal representation over the last six months, based on the recently released expenditure reports.

The Assembly has paid a total of $657,629 to five different law firms. The largest chunk of money went to Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedma — $345,000.

The state Senate, meanwhile, has $418,574 in legal services performed by Jones Day, most likely stemming from work performed during the redistricting process.

Other outside spending was most likely due to representation for the Moreland Act Commission investigation and representation for the various sexual harassment scandals in the Assembly.

The expense reports cover Oct. 1 of last year through the end of the fiscal year, March 31.

The report comes as the state is spending $300,000 on legal representation for the now-defunct Moreland Commission in the ongoing investigation of its closure by the U.S. attorney’s office.

Hochul: Travel Aimed At Raising Name ID

Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul has been spending a good chunk of her time campaigning around the state in the New York City region, saying in an interview that focusing on the downstate area is meant to raise her profile.

The campaigning by Hochul is a sharp contrast to the top of the ticket, Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo, who has held official events in western New York and on Long Island recently to promote economic development.

“I’m the one who has to get my name out there,” Hochul said in an interview Wednesday with NY1′s Zack Fink. “He has high name recognition. He’s been doing a lot of governing.”

Hochul, a former representative from western New York and Erie County clerk, remains a largely unknown quantity to the rest of state.

To that end, Hochul has been meeting with members of Congress and other elected officials from the area (In recent weeks, the campaign has been sending out schedules in advance of her public appearances).

In a further effort to boost her name recognition, Hochul today is expected to be endorsed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“He’s out there doing what he needs to do and I’m out there doing what I need to do, which is introducing myself to the voters of New York City,” she added.

The appearances come as she faces a primary challenge from Tim Wu, a Columbia professor who is running alongside Zephyr Teachout.

“We’ve been in the Chinese community, the Orthodox community, the Latino community — all the boroughs. It’s been great,” Hochul said.

Moreland Attorney To Cost State Up To $300K

As first reported by The Wall Street Journal, the state attorney general’s office has approved a $300,000 contract for legal representation for the Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption in the ongoing federal investigation surrounding the panel being shutdown.

Updated: The Daily News first reported on the contract last week.

The contract with the law firm Hinckley, Allen & Snyder was approved last week, and was backdated to May 16 and runs through the end of the year.

Bharara in April took possession of records generated by the commission after it was shutdown following an ethics agreement in the state budget.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has hired white-collar criminal lawyer Elkan Abramowitz to represent the executive chamber as whole, but is using campaign funds to pay for those legal expenses.

Cuomo defended the use of campaign funds for legal expenses, saying this week he didn’t want to spend taxpayer money for the representation.

The governor and his staff have come under scrutiny for attempting to block subpoenas issued by the panel.

In TV Ad, Senate Republicans Knock Haber On WEA (Updated)

An ad released on Thursday by the Senate Republican Campaign Committee seeks to turn the fight for the 10-point women’s agenda on Democratic candidate Adam Haber.

The ad, which can be seen here, blasts Haber for supporting the complete agenda — including the abortion plank — at the expense of the other nine planks in the package.

“Adam Haber’s playing politics with women’s equality,” the ad’s female narrator says. “Haber opposes a common-sense plan that requires equal pay for women and fights domestic violence and human trafficking. He says it has to include an extreme measure allowing non-doctors to perform abortions, even allowing late-term abortion up to the moment of birth.”

The ad even cites a “top Democratic assemblywoman” — in this case it’s likely Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, the main sponsor of the anti-human trafficking legislation — who has pushed for the measure to be taken up separately in her chamber.

Haber is running in the Nassau County district held by Republican Sen. Jack Martins. The race is expected to be one of the hard fought campaigns as Senate Republicans are trying to maintain control of the chamber this fall as the five independent Democrats have pledged to form a new coalition with mainline conference Democrats.

The ad on the women’s equality package is the latest sign that Republicans are trying to portray themselves as willing to compromise on the legislation while characterizing the effort to codify Roe v. Wade as an expansion of existing abortion right (Supporters of the abortion plank contend the GOP’s claims are untrue).

Democrats and women’s groups have argued the women’s agenda was negotiated as a single package and should be voted on as a whole.

Updated: The Haber campaign weighs in on the ad, noting the Democratic hopeful has been endorsed “by every women’s advocacy group involved in this race.”

“This is a transparent attempt to distract voters from Jack Martins’ consistent and outrageous anti-choice votes,” said spokesman Jacob Tugendrajch. “Not only does anti-choice Jack Martins oppose Roe v Wade, but he even voted against a simple pay equity measure in 2011, blocking it in committee. The voters of Nassau deserve better than this cynical attempt to distort the past.”