Presented by AARP NY

More details have emerged about the sixth woman to accuse Gov. Andrew Cuomo of inappropriate conduct, and theyre bad. The aide has said the governor aggressively fondled her chest during an encounter in the state’s Executive Mansion, according to the Times Union

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While the allegation was first reported on Tuesday, the Times-Union published additional details of the encounter Wednesday night.

The aide, who the TU has agreed not to identify, said she was summoned to the Executive Mansion to help him with an issue on his cell phone. They were alone in the governor’s residence at the time and she immediately told him to stop, she said. She said that he had been generally flirtatious and handsy with her in the past.

Cuomo has denied that he ever inappropriately touched anyone and also denied the accusation in a statement on Wednesday.

As I said yesterday, I have never done anything like this. The details of this report are gut-wrenching, Cuomo said. I am not going to speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation given the ongoing review, but I am confident in the result of the Attorney Generals report.

The report pushed more Democrats, including state senators Andrew Gounardes of Brooklyn, John Mannion of Syracuse, and Hudson Valleys Michelle Hinchey, to join calls for Cuomos resignation.

His conduct fosters a workplace culture that is unhealthy, unsafe, and toxic, Gounardes said in a statement. And his actions perpetuate the long-standing fear held by victims of this behavior that if they speak out, they will be punished for it. This is unacceptable anywhere in New York, but especially in the highest office in our state.

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WHERES ANDREW? In Albany with no public events scheduled.

WHERES BILL? Holding a media availability.

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A message from AARP NY:

Our seniors deserve better. State lawmakers must act now to demand safe and accountable nursing homes for those who need it, and provide more funding for services to help seniors remain independent at homewhere they want to be. Lets show New York seniors the respect and dignity theyve earned. Learn more.

WHAT ALBANY’S READING

A FORMER AIDE to Gov. Andrew Cuomo was accused Wednesday of allegedly trying to investigate the woman

who sparked the sexual harassment scandal thats threatening his political career. In a series of tweets, Lindsey Boylan claimed that Abbey Collins a former Cuomo spokeswoman whos now chief communications officer for the MTA was calling around asking our former colleagues about me once I came forward. Is that allowed? And why did you care so much, Abbey? Boylan wrote. Boylan added, Maybe the org chart changed since I left state service? Any particular reason why you were calling other former female colleagues @abbey_e_collins ? Im trying to piece it all together. Hopefully some folks can help me. New York Posts Bernadette Hogan and Bruce Golding

WHEN New York Gov. Andrew Cuomos administration learned last year that the federal government was about to release data on Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes, state officials were concerned: Would the federal numbers tell the public a different story than the states own? In a previously unreported call last June,

New York officials pressed Robert Redfield, then the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Seema Verma, then administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, for details on the coming data release, according to former Trump administration officials familiar with the call. New York state had reported about 6,000 nursing-home deaths by the time of the call, but that figure excluded residents who died in hospitals. Howard Zucker, the state health commissioner, and Linda Lacewell, the head of the New York State Department of Financial Services, asked whether the federal data reflected those out-of-facility deaths, one of the former officials said. The big issue was where the patient died, the official said. The Wall Street Journals Joe Palazzolo and Jimmy Vielkind

AFTER WEEKS of unsuccessfully seeking the impeachment of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo amid an avalanche of scandal accusations, New York State Republicans are now training their sights on his second-in-command

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. And it appears that state GOP Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy believes he has crafted a winning argument as he demands she either detail her insider role, or acknowledge herself as a ceremonial functionary. Langworthy told reporters in downtown Buffalo on Wednesday that it is time for Hochul to recount her knowledge of the administration’s response to several allegations of sexual harassment, as well as of hiding data of nursing home deaths stemming from Covid-19. There is nothing stopping her from answering these questions, he said, posing a series of what did she know and when did she know it? queries. Buffalo News Robert J. McCarthy

SERVICE providers say New York pocketed $400 million in enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) aid that should have flowed to nonprofits

providing direct care, housing and other supportive services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. New York Disability Advocates President Tom McAlvanah said the nonprofit service providers the organization represents never saw a penny of the first FMAP infusion the state received last year, as part of a federal stimulus bill in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and had feared with the latest federal stimulus the sector would again miss much-needed aid. Times Unions Amanda Fries

#UpstateAmerica: Two-time Olympic medalist Andrew Weibrecht is trying to backcountry ski all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks

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WHAT CITY HALL’S READING

NEW, MORE CONTAGIOUS variants of the coronavirus now make up more than half of casesof the disease in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio and public health officials said Wednesday. The infectious strain first detected in New York City and one found in the U.K. together add up to 51 percent of cases analyzed by the citys lab. What we are seeing is variants that are more infectious and therefore spread the disease more. And thats a real issue, de Blasio said at a press briefing. The New York City variant, also known as B.1.526, accounts for 39 percent of cases in the most recent week of tests up from 31 percent in the previous week. The U.K. variant was found in 12 percent of cases, up from 8 percent the previous week. The more infectious variants help explain why the citys coronavirus case numbers have stayed stubbornly high, despite more and more New Yorkers getting vaccinated against the disease, officials said. POLITICOs Erin Durkin

NEW YORK CITY restaurants can increase their indoor dining capacity to 50 percent next week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday. The measure rolling back some of the coronavirus safety restrictions goes into effect on March 19, Cuomo said. Indoor dining at Big Apple restaurants officially reopened at 25 percent capacity on Feb. 12 after Cuomo yet again shuttered indoor business at city eateries in mid-December. That was boosted to 35 percent late last month…The governor made the announcement Wednesday in a joint statement with New Jersey, which will also ramp up indoor dining from 35 percent capacity to 50 percent beginning March 19. New York Posts Natalie Musumeci

RETIRED BRIGADIER general Loree Sutton quit the mayors race on Wednesday, a day before candidates in the crowded competition were set to file their latest fundraising reports. Sutton, the citys first commissioner of veterans services, had struggled to raise cash and break ahead in this years strange primary season, in which a small army of wannabes has struggled for attention during pandemic conditions. I felt compelled to run for NYC mayor to offer a different kind of leadership as a general, doctor and commissioner, she said in a statement. I am especially grateful to all who believed in me and the centrist vision I championed for a restored, sustainable and inclusive city. Sutton had raised just $192,539 as of mid-January, with only $398 cash on hand, according to the citys Campaign Finance Board. New York Daily News Shant Shahrigian

ERIC ADAMS has won the backing of another prominent union as he accumulates labor support for his bid to succeed outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, will be endorsed on Thursday by 32BJ SEIU, which represents private-sector building service workers, three people familiar with the plans told POLITICO Wednesday night. The backing comes on the heels of Adams getting an important nod Wednesday afternoon from District Council 37, the largest municipal union accounting for some 200,000 employees and retirees. The union’s executive board decided to support Adams, a former NYPD captain and state senator, after an internal deliberation during which some factions favored Comptroller Scott Stringer’s candidacy. Adams was also endorsed last week by the Hotel Trades Council, a relatively small but politically-influential union. POLITICOs Sally Goldenberg

NEW YORK CITYS jails were under such threat from the coronavirus last spring that city officials moved swiftly to let hundreds of people out of the crowded, airless old buildings. The effort shrank the jail population to its lowest point in more than half a century. But it did not last. A year later, jails are more crowded than they were when the pandemic began. And there has been an increase in infections in recent months that could pose a public health risk even beyond the jail walls. There are now more than 5,500 people in the citys jails, slightly more than were detained last March…In lawsuits, prisoners and guards alike have called the living conditions inside unsanitary and dangerous. The New York Times Troy Closson and Jonah E. Bromwich

The cost of incarcerating an individual in New York City reached a record high

$447,337 last year.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK The Latino Victory Fund, a national political action committee, has endorsed in a pair of special elections in the Bronx for City Council coming up this month. The organization is backing Elisa Crespo in the race to fill Rep. Ritchie Torres former Council seat, and Mino Lora in the special election to fill a vacancy left by Andy Cohen, who secured a judgeship. Both Crespo and Lora would be the first Latinas to represent the areas, and Crespo would be the first openly transgender official elected in the state. Joe Anuta

A message from AARP NY:

Bidenology

WITH THE MASSIVE Covid-relief bill headed for his desk, President Joe Biden now begins a political tightrope walk that bedeviled his two immediate Democratic predecessors: selling recovery in a time when not everyone experiences its full force. The task begins in earnest with Bidens first prime-time address Thursday, during which he is expected to discuss his efforts to halt the pandemic. The passage of the $1.9 trillion package in Congress will serve as a backdrop, with Biden planning to sign the bill into law Friday. Already, the president has been touting the measure, tweeting that better days lie ahead, while his White House promoted announcements from Amtrak and American Airlines that furloughed employees will be brought back or not have their work interrupted because of the relief bill. For veterans of prior Democratic administrations, the aggressive sales job is a welcome change from the past, when the party often seemed to think major legislation would sell itself. POLITICO’s Chris Cadelago and Natasha Korecki

AROUND NEW YORK

17 government watchdogs want more transparency about this years budget

and for Cuomos big budget powers to be rolled back.

Protesters calling for Cuomos resignation were arrested outside his Manhattan office

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The Brooklyn PublicLibrarywill create outdoor reading spaces

at many of its branches.

The Bronx Democratic Party is backing more female candidates

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The Shed, the performing arts venue at Hudson Yards, plans to reopen to Covid-tested audiences

next month.

None of the Democrats running for mayor fully embrace de Blasios BQX streetcar plan

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An Asian American mother in Fresh Meadows says she was called the Chinese virus

and spit at while holding her baby as police investigate another hate crime against the Asian community.

Did you know that POLITICO Pro has coverage and tools at the state level? All the state legislative and regulatory tracking, budget documents, state agency contact information, and everything else you need to stay ahead of state policy movement integrate into our smart and customizable platform. Learn more and become a Pro today.

SOCIAL DATA BY DANIEL LIPPMAN

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Rupert Murdoch is 9-0 MC Gonzalez Noguera, SVP of global public affairs at Estée Lauder Sam Donaldson is 87 NBC News Miguel Almaguer CNNs Emily RileyAlice Stewart, CNN political commentator and NPR political contributor Amy Weiss, CEO of Weiss Public Affairs Nick Shapiro Charles McElwee Michal GrayevskyClio Calvo-Platero

MAKING MOVES Aysha Schomburg, formerly senior adviser at the city Administration for Childrens Services, is taking over the Biden administrations top child welfare post

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MEDIAWATCH “Beauty Brand Ulta Pulls Teen Vogue Ads Over New Editor-in-Chiefs Old Racist Tweets:The ad campaign, worth seven figures, is on pause following internal concerns over new top editor Alexi McCammonds past tweets, by the Daily Beasts Maxwell Tani and Lachlan Cartwright

A message form AARP NY:

Whats happened in New Yorks nursing homes during the past eleven months is a tragedy. More than 13,625 seniors have died of COVID-19, and still chronic problems persistlike understaffing, especially when it comes to direct care for residents. Our seniors deserve better. State lawmakers must act now to demand safe and accountable nursing homes for those who need it, and provide more funding for services to help seniors remain independent at homewhere they want to be. Lets show New York seniors the respect and dignity theyve earned. Learn more.

REAL ESTATE

FOR MONTHS NOW, A-listers and lesser-lights from the world of high finance have been traveling to the Sunshine State while riding out Covid-19. Hopeful locals see evidence that the areas long-elusive dream of luring Big Finance for good might be coming true at last. Along Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, real estate agents count commissions from a pandemic-induced real estate boom. Private schools fantasize about attracting the Spence set. The reality is more nuanced — much more. Only a small percentage of Manhattanites moved permanently to Florida last year. And as vaccinations stir fresh hope that the pandemics end is near, ebullient talk of South Florida drawing Wall Streeters en masse is already beginning to fizzle

. Bloombergs Katherine Burton, Annie Massa, Amanda L Gordon, and Jonathan Levin