Teachout: Cuomo Might Have to Resign Over Moreland Mess (Updated)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s multiple opponents and critics didn’t not waste any time in seizing on this morning’s bombshell report in the New York Times about the administration’s extensive meddling in the now-defunct Moreland Commission.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Zephyr Teachout was the first to release a statement, calling the revelations in the paper “deeply disturbing.”

The Fordham Law professor said that if Cuomo directed or even knew of efforts by his top aide, Larry Schwartz, to obstruct and interfere with the commission’s work than he should “immediately resign.”

“When a private indiscretion became public, Governor Eliot Spitzer quickly resigned from office,” Teachout said.

“The Cuomo administration’s indiscretions – public acts that violate the public trust – are far worse. The administration’s direct obstruction of Moreland suggests there is deep corruption within the Governor’s office.”

“…The Cuomo administration’s handling of the Moreland Commission distills what plagues our democracy: a special class of insiders in Albany, connected through financial and political clout, have immunized themselves from the law. Governor Cuomo has taken this corruption and elevated it to new levels.”

Ironically, it was just yesterday that Teachout was standing with Cuomo’s GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, and railing against the governor for failing to reign in corruption during his tenure.

Teachout specifically cited Cuomo’s shutting down of the Moreland Commission as proof that the governor is not serious about addressing the underpinnings of the corruption problem that has plagued the state Capitol for years.

Astorino released a far more subdued statement, saying Cuomo is in “big trouble” and cheering on US Attorney Preet Bharara for taking over where the Moreland Commission left off.

“We applaud the United States Attorney for his work to levy justice on Moreland’s targets, and on those who interefered with the Commission to protect Mr. Cuomo and his political allies,” Astorino said. “We urge the greatest expediency possible in these deliberations. New Yorkers cannot afford to have a crook in the Governor’s Mansion.”

Schneiderman Doubles Down On TV Air Time

From today’s Morning Memo:

Democratic AG Eric Schneiderman has reserved a second $1 million block of TV air time for the end of the campaign, locking up the airways early as his GOP opponent, John Cahill, struggles to catch up in the fundraising race and build name recognition.

A source familiar with Schneiderman’s plan says this block – like the first $1 million chunk purchased by his campaign in June – is with broadcast stations in the state’s five major media markets: NYC, Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, and covers the final month of the AG’s race.

Consider this: Schneiderman has now spent more on future TV ads than Cahill has raised to date.

According to the July 15 reports filed with the state Board of Elections, Cahill has raised just over $1 million and has $968,689 on hand. Schneiderman took in $2.6 million over the past six months, and has $6.9 million on hand.

These early ad buys don’t merely give the AG bragging rights and allow him to flout his eight-to-one spending advantage. They also secure him as much as a 20 percent discount.

Cahill, meanwhile, will be forced to buy time at a more expensive rate (unless he acts ASAP), and since Schneiderman has already snapped up the good time slots, the former Pataki administration aide will have to make do with what’s left over.

Though Schneiderman has a major cash advantage – thanks largely to the power of incumbency and his longstanding support among labor unions – the AG is clearly leaving nothing to chance in his first re-election race.

The AG enjoys a wide lead over Cahill, though the race has tightened just a hair, according to this week’s Siena poll. (Cahill, it should be noted, is garnering more support among GOP voters than any other of the party’s statewide contenders).

Also, though a majority – 56 percent – of New Yorkers say they don’t know who Schneiderman is, despite the fact that he has held statewide office for the past four years, more people – 74 percent – don’t know Cahill.

And Schneiderman is determined, clearly, to do everything he can to keep things this way – spendingbig to raise his own name recognition, and perhaps to define Cahill (most likely as too conservative for Democrat-dominated New York) before Cahill can afford to do it himself.

There is still the possibility that Chill will be assisted by big spending by an anti-Schneiderman Super PAC, but that has yet to materialize.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 7:25 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on AM970 with host Joe Piscopo.

At 7:48 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on WVOX Good Morning Westchester with host John Marino.

At 8:03 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on WGY with hosts Chuck and Kelly.

From 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., Crain’s New York Business holds a forum on “The Business of Taxis: Innovating an Industry,” John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524 W. 59th St., Manhattan.

At 8:45 a.m., members of The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s board of commissioners hold board and committee meetings; 15th floor, 225 Park Ave. South., Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Education holds hearing on Avonte’s Law, 250 Broadway, 16th Floor. Watch here: http://on.nyc.gov/1uBIXAH

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Councilman Andrew Cohen and others hold a press conference regarding participatory budgeting for the 2015-2016 budget year, City Hall, Red Room, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Assemblymen Michael Cusick and Matthew Titone, administrators from the College of Staten Island, and American Red Cross representatives publicize how residents can prepare for hurricane season, during an event featuring two American Red Cross relief supply trailers; base of building 1M near the campus tower, 2800 Victory Blvd., Staten Island.

At noon, Brooklyn BP Eric Adams and Councilman Mark Treyger will call for reforms to the citywide approach towards water safety in the wake of the sixth drowning death of the summer, Stillwell Avenue entrance, Coney Island Boardwalk.

At 1 p.m., LG Bob Duffy makes an announcement, Loretto – The Nottingham, 1301 Nottingham Rd., Jamesville.

Also at 1 p.m., NYC Public Advocate Tish James will join the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York to release a joint policy report entitled “Improving Voting Access for New Yorkers with Disabilities”, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss atends and delivers remarks at the Baron Steuben Association of Retired Troopers Dinner, Redwood Restaurant, 6 Cohocton St., Naples.

Also at 6 p.m., Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout and her LG running mate, Tim Wu, hold a strategy call for reporters and supporters.

Also at 6 p.m., NY-21 Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello will be speaking at a meet-and-greet, Minerva Volunteer Fire & Rescue Station, 1495 State Route 28N, Minerva.

At 7:15 p.m., funeral services will be held for 43-year-old Staten Island resident Eric Garner, who lost consciousness and died as NYPD officers attempted to arrest him on Thursday, July 17; Bethel Baptist Church, 265 Bergen St., Brooklyn. (The Rev. Al Sharpton will speak).

At 8 p.m., the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City holds 2014 state and local endorsement meeting at the LGBT Center, 208 West 13th St., Manhattan.


A three-month investigation by the New York Times reveals extensive interference in the now-defunct Moreland Commission by the Cuomo administration, and extreme frustration on the part of many commissioners and staffers. The administration submitted a 13-page response insisting it did nothing wrong.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg flew El Al to Tel Aviv “to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel.”

Long Island Rep. Steve Israel is reintroducing legislation to install anti-missile technologies on U.S. commercial airliners, prompted by the Ukraine air disaster and Hamas rockets in the Gaza crisis.

State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long sided with GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino in his war of words with NJ Gov. Chris Christie, saying Christie is “in bed with Cuomo.”

Though they are technically opponents, Astorino and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout teamed up for a joint attack on Cuomo and the “growing corruption crisis in Albany” under his watch.

Bill Hammond tries to explain the “Cuomo paradox” – why voters love the governor that insiders loathe.

Cuomo signed into law a bill to extend Albany’s pilot residential parking permit system for two years. He also OK’d a bill that will allow the city to install red light cameras at up to 20 intersections.

The legislation that created JCOPE also called for creation by June 1, 2014, of an eight-member review panel to “study, review and evaluate” the activities and performance of the commission. The panel is support to issue a report in 2015. So far: Nothing.

Factions of Erie County’s divided Democratic Party appear headed for open warfare following allegations that Board of Elections officials deliberately destroyed designating petitions for a local candidate deemed unfriendly to Democratic Headquarters – a potential criminal offense.

Every New York Police Department officer will be retrained in the use of force following the death of a Staten Island man after an officer subdued him with an apparent chokehold, Commissioner William Bratton said.

More >


Two U.S. appeals courts issued contradictory rulings on Obamacare subsidies. One upheld them. The other struck them down for millions of Americans covered through HealthCare.gov.

Brooklyn BP Eric Adams: “If flying a #whiteflag on the #BrooklynBridge is someone’s idea of a joke, I’m not laughing. We won’t surrender our public safety to anyone.”

Some news outlets fell victim to a twitter parody account that took responsibility for the flag switch.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer still uses an ancient LG flip-phone, in part because “you can FOIA any email.”

Speaking of outdated technology

Looks like NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and his son, Dante, are having a good time on their Italian vacation. More here.

Back home in NYC, Sen. Bill Perkins called Eric Garner’s death – apparently by being choked by an NYPD officer – a “murder.”

LG Bob Duffy had some interesting tweets today.

Hudson Valley Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Chris Gibson sent a letter to the FERC this week urging it to abandon the Lower Hudson Valley Capacity Zone.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a potential 2016 contender, called fellow would-be White House aspirant Hillary Clinton “a 20th century candidate.”

A judge ruled investors in the Empire State Building can’t sue over their claims they were shortchanged by the deal that turned the iconic skyscraper into a public stock.

New York has a sandwich tax, and a burrito (somehow) qualifies.

Anti-Zephyr Teachout protestors and Randy Credico crashed the Teachout-Astorino press conference.

Stair Fair tickets can be bought online at a discount.

Under fire for flouting the law in NYC, the popular apartment sharing website Airbnb has hired de Blasio’s former camaign manager, Bill Hyers.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer is looking to capitalize on his reputation as the scourge of Wall Street analysts by backing TipRanks, which describes itself as a financial accountability website.

Emmi Roth USA, a producer of premium specialty cheeses and dairy products, will expand its yogurt manufacturing facility in the Finger Lakes.

Al D’Amato Calls On Astorino To Apologize

Republican former Sen. Al D’Amato — a key GOP ally for Gov. Andrew Cuomo — called on GOP candidate for governor Rob Astorino to apologize to both the incumbent Democrat and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after remarks made this morning on the radio.

“I strongly urge Rob Astorino to apologize for calling two distinguished Governors, Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo, corrupt. With little resources to mount a serious campaign and with dwindling support, Rob Astorino isn’t in the position to be picking fights and doing gimmicky press conferences. He should go out and show us that his campaign is not a ‘lost cause.’”

Astorino in an interview with Fred Dicker this morning knocked Christie for suggesting his race against Cuomo was going to result in a landslide defeat, saying the New Jersey Republican should resign as head of the Republican Governors Association if he won’t help elect Republicans.

Astorino suggested that Cuomo and Christie have a “handshake” deal related to the George Washington Bridge entry lane closure controversy.

Earlier in the day, former Gov. David Paterson, the New York Democratic Committee’s chairman, criticized the comments as well.

It’s interesting that D’Amato released a statement blasting Astorino.

In claiming he can win, Astorino has often pointed to George Pataki’s 1994 surprise upset over the current goveror’s father, Mario Cuomo.

But D’Amato was a key architect of that ’94 victory helping propel Pataki, then a little-known state senator, to the governor’s office.

Meanwhile, State Republican Chairman Ed Cox in a statement said he was “disappointed” in Christie’s lack of faith in Astorino.

“Gov. Christie seems to have forgotten from whence he came. His own underdog challenge to former Gov. Jon Corzine in 2009 would not have been made possible without crucial RGA funding, which enabled him to fight an otherwise hopeless battle against the Democratic Party machine in Trenton,” Cox said. “There is no such thing as a lost cause. Only lost opportunities. I encourage Gov. Christie to reconsider his position.”

Cox added he’ll be the RGA’s meeting in Aspen this week to discuss the race for governor.

Notable Donations

Last week, we discovered that Senator Liz Krueger had donated $3,500 to Oliver Koppel’s campaign for State Senate. This donation was made in July, long after a deal had been struck for the Democrats and the Independent Democrats to end their feud and join forces for a new majority in the State Senate. A spokesman for Krueger said the check she had written to Koppell must have gotten “lost in the mail.” Part of the chessboard deal among labor unions, Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo and the State Senators was that all those involved would not actively support primaries against IDC members. Or at least that’s what some people who were part of that deal think.

Well, perhaps Krueger did not get the memo. Because yet another filing shows that she also gave $2,000 to John Liu who is waging an insurgent campaign against IDC member Tony Avella. That donation was made on July 8th, which was also long after the deal had been in place. I reached out to Krueger to see if this too was an errant check that had somehow leaped out of the mail carrier’s bag only to reappear weeks later, just in time to be recorded in the month of July, but this time there was no answer or explanation.

Krueger’s Spokesman Andrew Goldston had said that Krueger endorsed Oliver Koppell in his race, even though there was never any announcement about that, and it was not mentioned when Krueger and Koppell made a joint appearance to discuss campaign finance in the Bronx  this past Spring. Did Krueger endorse John Liu as well? I don’t recall seeing it if she did. Earlier this month, Senate Democrats made it clear they would not be supporting the primaries against IDC certain members despite helping them early on, and encouraging those challengers to run. Sources now say Liu was never part of any deal.

Asked for comment last week, A Senate Democratic Spokesman said the DSCC is not giving any money to Liu or Koppell, but they cannot tell individual members what to do. That should make for a fun session next year, assuming the Democrats can regain power. If I’m not mistaken, the criticism they endured while in power was that they couldn’t control their members, resulting in “dysfunction.” The word almost everybody uses to describe Albany before I got there.



Cuomo Approves Labor Protections For Unpaid Interns

A measure that would extend civil-rights and workplace protections including the ability to bring lawsuits over sexual harassment to unpaid interns was signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The new law, which takes effect immediately, would extend anti-discrimination protections to unpaid interns when it comes to hiring, firing, or terms of employment – as well as retaliation.

Prohibitions against sexual harassment of interns by employers is also codified, including both quid pro quo and creating a hostile environment.

The measure is approved about a year after a state court ruled that unpaid interns are not protected by anti-sexual harassment laws.

Extending new labor protections to unpaid interns stemmed from a lawsuit filed by Lihuan Wang, a New York-based intern at Phoenix Satellite Television U.S.

A state judge determined that Wang couldn’t bring the case due to her status as an unpaid intern because she lacked the status of a regular employee.

The new law was one of 91 bills approved on Tuesday by Cuomo.

Mahoney Aide Gets Job In Cuomo Administration

An aide to Republican Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney is joining Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, her office on Tuesday announced.

Matthew Millea, who holds the title of deputy county executive for physical services, will became the deputy secretary of state for planning and development in August.

“Onondaga County taxpayers have been well served by Deputy County Executive Matt Millea,” Mahoney said in a statement. “Matt did an excellent job for our community whether it was implementing Save the Rain or overseeing millions of dollars in capital improvement programs, he will be missed.”

Taking over for Millea in Onondaga County is Mary Beth Primo, who most recently served as the first chief deputy county attorney and as the top director for economic development.

Mahoney is a close GOP ally of Cuomo both on the fundraising side as well as in government, having served on his anti-corruption Moreland Commission.

Hannon Opponent Endorsed By NARAL (Updated)

Ethan Irwin, the Democratic opponent to Republican Sen. Kemp Hannon, was endorsed on Tuesday by NARAL Pro-Choice New York.

“For the last two years the women of New York have been denied full equality because of partisan politics in the State Senate. As a Senator, I will never play political games with something as important as women’s rights. I will fight to pass Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act in its entirety, and I am honored that I will do so with NARAL at my side. Working together, we can and we will achieve full equality for women in New York,” Irwin said in a statement.

Women’s issues are coming to the forefront of the election this year as allies of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo plan to create a ballot line called the Women’s Equality Party.

The new ballot line is being formed to push for the 10-point women’s agenda, which has stalled in the Legislature.

Senate Republicans have passed various provisions of the agenda including pay equity and an anti-human trafficking component, but declined to hold a vote on a measure designed to codify the Roe v. Wade decision in statement.

Hannon defeated Democrat Ryan Cronin in 2012, 58,843 votes to 54,382 votes.

Updated: Senate Republican spokeswoman Kelly Cummings responded in a statement.

“Under Republican leadership, the Senate has already passed a comprehensive women’s equality agenda that would ensure equal pay for equal work, end human trafficking and afford additional protection to the victims of domestic violence, among other critically important measures,” she said. “Those measures would be law today if the Democrats in the State Senate and Assembly hadn’t held them hostage for an extreme provision that would allow non-doctors to perform an abortion right up until the moment of a baby’s birth and put women’s health in jeopardy. New Yorkers overwhelmingly oppose approval of that controversial provision.”

Paterson Blasts Astorino’s Christie Statements

He didn’t call him “little Robbie” this time, but former Gov. David Paterson in a statement from the state Democratic Committee blasted the comments by GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino as “reckless, irresponsible” for suggesting Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Chris Christie were conspiring to not support the Republican’s campaign.

Astorino on Fred Dicker’s Talk-1300 radio show earlier today said Christie should step down as head of the Republican Governors Association if he was too closely tied to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Christie, the RGA chairman, has said he has no plans to campaign for Astorino.

But Astorino suggested in the radio interview that if Cuomo and Christie had cut a “side deal” then he shouldn’t be in the position of helping Republicans run for governor.

“If there’s a side deal or a quid pro quo or a handshake between the two of them, he can’t do his job,” Astorino said of Christie.

“Maybe there’s an issue we don’t know about,” he added.

Paterson, the Democratic committee’s chairman, called the comments “not fitting” for a candidate for governor.

“I read Rob Astorino’s quotes calling for Governor Christie to step down from the RGA, and alleging a cover up on Bridgegate as a reason for Christie’s lack of support for Astorino,” Paterson said. “That is a reckless, irresponsible accusation to make with no basis whatsoever, and not fitting for a qualified Gubernatorial candidate. Maybe that’s why his candidacy is not being taken seriously.”