Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo Settles With Quadrangle, Global

AG Andrew Cuomo just announced he has reached multimillion-dollar settlements in his ongoing pay-to-play pension fund probe with two investment firms and three unlicensed brokers – including the Quadrangle Group, which used to handle Mayor Bloomberg’s money, and the political consulting firm Global Strategy Group.

According to a press release from Cuomo’s office, Quadrangle will pay $7 million; GKM Newport Generation and Global’s will pay $2 million.

In addition, GKM Newport Generation Capital Services will pay the equivilent of $1.6 million, California lobbying firm Platinum Advisors will pay $500,000; and unlicensed placement agent Kevin McCabe (a former political strategist for ex-NYC Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.) will pay $715,000.

All parties have agreed to comply with the AG’s Public Pension Fund Reform Code of Conduct.

Cuomo will be joined this morning on a telephone press conference by good government advocates who will add their voices to his call for pension fund reform that would change management of the fund from a sole trusteeship to a board system.
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Schneiderman’s First County Chair

Four days after formally announcing his AG campaign, Sen. Eric Scheiderman has landed his first endorsement from a Democratic county chair.

“Eric Schneiderman has proven that he is a true reformer who will tackle corruption in government and in the private sector,” said Dutchess County Democratic Chairwoman Elisa Sumner in a statement released by the Manhattan lawmaker’s campaign.

“He has worked to transform the criminal justice system, represented public interest clients as a private attorney and led efforts to reform our state government,” Sumner continued. “Dutchess County Democrats can count on Eric Schneiderman to continue and build upon the great work of Andrew Cuomo as Attorney General.”

Schneiderman was also endorsed by state committeewoman Beth Soto, Town of Beekman Democratic Co-Chair Mark Hoops and Democratic Chair of Fishkill Michael Rizzo.
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Rep. Brian Higgins is the latest Democrat to be accused by GOP gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino’s campaign of having a hand in the e-mail scandal that has engulfed the Buffalo businessman since Monday.

Michael Caputo told YNN’s Jennifer Bernstein this morning:

“We know they did it, Brian Higgins knows who did it. We’ll return the favor someday.”

According to Caputo the Buffalo police have isolated the bomb threat telephone call that was made yesterday to Paladino’s Ellicott Square building, causing the complex to be temporarily evacuated.
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Sliwa Abandons Paladino

Curtis Sliwa is just about as outspoken as they come, but even he has to draw the line somewhere. And he has done so with GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino.

Curtis Sliwa

Sliwa, who appears regularly on NY1, has been a Paladino booster (recall the now-infamous 9/11-health care reform bill radio interview) and had agreed to introduce the Buffalo businessman tomorrow at an “Ask Carl” town hall meeting in Staten Island.

But that was before the world caught sight of the sexually and racially explicit e-mails forwarded by Paladino.

“Obviously, we were disappointed that Mr. Paladino didn’t use the delete button, but rather used the send button, and, as a result, we are deleting ourselves from any involvement with the introduction or any other phase of his campaign,” Sliwa told me this afternoon.

“…He says, ‘Well, it’s the result of a liberal blogger.’ I don’t care if it’s a liberal, conservative or apolitical, did you or did you not continue a chain of e-mails that were offensive to the president, had racial overtones…We just had two governors back-to-back that were losers, we’re looking for somebody who’s going to put their head above this personal flotsam and jetsam that has paralyzed the office.”

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Cuomo’s Attack Dog

Newly-minted state Democratic Party Executive Director Charlie King said today the organization will act as a “truth squad” for the 2010 ticket, pushing back on the Republicans when they “distort, micharacterize or talk in code.”

King settled quickly into his new role, unleashing on Rick Lazio (for accepting a Wall Street bonus), Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy (for “pay-to-play”), Carl Paladino (’nuff said), and even state GOP Chairman Ed Cox (for giving Levy “a pass” for jokes about black people and “anchor babies,” while taking Paladino to task).

In a brief interview this afternoon, I asked King if he is going to be serving as presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Cuomo’s attack dog, essentially buying the AG more time before he has to announce his candidacy and start throwing bombs himself.

” What I’m going to do is when Republicans decide to distort, mischaracterize or talk in code, I’m not going to be shy about pointing that out or having the state party point that out,” King responded. “The party gets to take on the attack dog position, OK you can say that.”

While stressing that his arrival at the party does not herald the imminent departure of Chairman Jay Jacobs, who was installed by Gov. David Paterson, King did say more changes are in the offing. He plans to establish a “full-fledged coordinated campaign,” which will entail hiring a party spokesperson, political director and field operation manager, among others.

Espada Challenger Ramps Up

Activist Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, who has been mulling a primary challenge to Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr., is putting the pieces in place for a full-fledged campaign by hiring a fundraiser.

Lisa Hernandez Gioia confirmed she has been in talks with Pilgrim-Hunter for about a month and has agreed to sign on to help her raise money.

“It’s important to have good people in Albany and it seems to me that right now not everyone up there in a good person,” Hernandez Gioia told me this afternoon in a brief telephone interview.

Hernandez Gioia, who is married to former Councilman Eric Gioia, said she believes Pilgrim-Hunter is “great” and has done a lot of good things for the community (she was involved in the effort to redevelop the Kingsbridge Armory – a very controversial issue in the Bronx).

Pilgrim-Hunter also had discussions with Red Horse Strategies, a consulting firm headed by Doug Forand, Marc Lapidus and Nathan Smith – three DSCC veterans who were involved in the successful 2008 push by the Democrats to take control of the Senate majority from the GOP.

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Shake-Up At State Democratic Party?

State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs is poised to announce staffing changes designed to give presumptive gubernatorial candidate, AG Andrew Cuomo, more control over the organization, insiders say.

One name that has been circulating as a potential executive director candidate for the party is Charlie King, who has a longstanding association with Cuomo.

“Jacobs isn’t their guy; they want to put a control on him,” one Democratic insider said of the Cuomo camp. “They want someone in there that they can trust. King makes a lot of sense. He’s black, which is something Cuomo is sensitive about. He’s close to (the Rev. Al) Sharpton and he’s someone Cuomo has known a long time.”

Jacobs was installed in his post by Gov. David Paterson, replacing June O’Neill, a former Mario Cuomo administration aide who was hand-picked for the party position by ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer. (Spitzer created an upstate-downstate co-chair system for the party. Dave Pollak, the downstate chair, was among the first casualties of Paterson’s ascension to the governor’s office).

King worked for Cuomo at HUD. He was also Cuomo’s running mate in the 2002 governor’s race, during which Cuomo angered many Democrats and black leaders for challenging then-state Comptroller H. Carl McCall in a primary. Cuomo ended up dropping out of the race one week before the primary, and McCall went on to lose to then-GOP Gov. George Pataki.

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Q Poll: Lazio Leads GOP Field, Cuomo Beats Everyone

Today’s Q poll finds Rick Lazio with a double-digit lead over both his GOP primary opponents, but yet-unannounced Democratic contender, AG Andrew Cuomo, handily defeats all three of his would-be Republican opponents.


Among registered Republicans, of whom 411 were questioned for this poll, Lazio leads Suffolk County Steve Levy and Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino 34, 11, 11, respectively. The only trouble for Lazio is the fact that 40 percent of respondents said they don’t know who they support, which means there’s considerable room for movement here.

Cuomo’s behind-the-curtain approach to the media, as detailed in today’s Times,  isn’t hurting his standing with New York voters.  His job approval rating is 74-14, and this is the ninth month in a row the AG has enjoyed popularity scores of 70 or above.

Cuomo leads all three of the GOP hopefuls by at least 2-1;  (55-26 over Lazio, 60-24 over Paladino, and 57-24 over Levy). That hasn’t changed much since the last Q poll in February, although neither Levy (who was still a Democat at the time) nor Paladino (who hadn’t announced yet) were included in that line-up.

Cuomo has lost a little ground to Lazio since December 2009, when the Q poll showed the hypothetical head-to-head match-up at 62-22.

But, as Q pollster Mickey Carroll wisely noted, the campaign has only just begun. Things could change considerably once Cuomo formally enters the fray and starts engaging (assuming he bothers to) his Republican opponents.

“Who are those guys? Steve Levy and Carl Paladino don’t register at this stage,” Carroll said. “But neither of them is a shrinking violet. As they start to make noise, we’ll see if they can cut into Rick Lazio’s lead – for the questionable reward of facing Cuomo.”

Upping The Ante

Remember how I discussed in my last post the Roger Stone subterfuge strategy of dealing with political crisis? Well, Stone protege Michael Caputo has just proved my point.

Seeking to further muddy the waters in the wake of his candidate’s dirty e-mail scandal, Caputo just dashed off a letter to state Inspector General Joseph Fisch demanding an investigation into the potential violation of the Public Officers Law by AG Andrew Cuomo aide Joe Percoco.

Caputo cites a recent Times profile of Percoco, in which he is described as Cuomo’s “most pugnacious aide” who is routinely dispatched to “marshal his supporters, undercut his rivals and clear a path for him to become the prohibitive favorite in the race for governor of New York.”

In Caputospeak, Percoco is “a political bully who intimidates perceived adversaries of the attorney general.” Caputo also says he is “incredulous that Mr. Percoco is separating his state duties from his political activities,” adding:  “Am I to believe that Mr. Percoco waits until 5 p.m. to begin organizing fundraisers and twisting arms for Cuomo.”

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Paladino Spokesman: Cuomo Behind Dirty E-mail Leak

On the heels of GOP gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino’s claim that someone “hacked” his computer, stole hundreds of sexually and racially explicit e-mails and released them to the media comes a charge by the candidate’s spokesman that presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee AG Andrew Cuomo is behind the leak.

Michael Caputo alleged the Western NY Web site where Paladino’s e-mails first appeared this morning is run by a “hardcore Democrat” who has written a number of critical posts about the Buffalo businessman – including the fact that he not only used to be a Democrat himself, but also contributed campaign cash to the very Democrats he’s now attacking.

Caputo alleged that this blogger is in fact in receipt of  “in depth research conducted by somebody’s oppo research team.” Asked whose team that might be, Caputo responded:

“We think it’s Cuomo and we think this is an indication of how the attorney general is going to go (in the general election). There’s no reason to think it’s (Rick) Lazio or (Suffolk County Executive Steve) Levy.”

“I mean, it’s not lost on me that a story came out on Levy today,” Caputo continued. “The people who are talking most about reform in Albany are getting attacked on smear levels today. We’re talking about reform, and they want to talk about sex with horses and S&M clubs.”

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