Presented by AARP NY
The probe launched by the state Attorney Generals office into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo has gotten underway, and one of the governors main accusers was interviewed at length
by investigators on Monday.
CharlotteBennett handed over 120 pages of records to document her complaints, which include Cuomo asking her
about her sex life and telling her he was open to dating younger women. The 25-year-old ex-Cuomo aide met with investigators on Zoom for more than four hours to detail her allegations, her attorney said. And theres a new, cringeworthy detail
: One piece of new information that came to light today was the Governors preoccupation with his hand size and what the large size of his hands indicated to Charlotte and other members of his staff, said the attorney, Debra Katz. Remind you of anyone
It is imperative that this investigation not only focus on Gov. Cuomos actions, but also on the culture of fear, abuse, and secrecy that he and his most senior staff cultivated, Katz said, urging other women who may have experienced inappropriate behavior and anyone who might have witnessed it to speak out.
As for that other investigation the impeachment inquiry opened last week
by the Assembly lawmakers are in the process of hiring an outside law firm
to help conduct the probe, Speaker Carl Heastie said. There are some members who want an immediate consideration of impeachment, he said. But Id say the overwhelming majority, almost everybody, believes in due process, and thats why we were able to move forward and have the [Assembly] Judiciary Committee launch an impeachment investigation.
ITS TUESDAY. Got tips, suggestions or thoughts? Let us know … By email: [email protected]
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, or on Twitter: @erinmdurkin
WHERES ANDREW? In Albany with no announced public schedule.
WHERES BILL? Holding a media availability.
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
CUOMO GETTING VACCINE, NOT TAKING Qs: The event at SUNY Old Westbury, like the two Cuomo held last week, was closed to the press due to what the governor’s office called pandemic restrictions…. The governor announced the return of an air show
Memorial Day weekend at Jones Beach State Park, an event canceled last year because of the pandemic. SUNY Old Westbury, along with two other sites on Long Island, will open as vaccination sites Friday, the governor also announced. Cuomo said he plans to get the vaccine in the coming days at a pop-up vaccination site “in a Black community.” He said he hopes to encourage those in minority communities to get vaccinated. The governor said he will receive the vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson to show it is safe. Buffalo News Aaron Besecker
ALBANY COUNTY Executive Dan McCoy confirmed Monday that the head of the state’s vaccination effort called him to ask about his support for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a fellow Democrat beset by allegations of sexual harassment and a cover-up of nursing home deaths. McCoy said he received a call from Larry Schwartz, a former aide to Cuomo who’s leading the state’s vaccination program, and was briefly asked about his support for the governor. But unlike some other county executives, McCoy who has been slow to criticize the administration over its handling of the pandemic suggested he found nothing inappropriate about Schwartz’ phone call as the two often go from “one conversation to the next to the next” when they talk. Times Unions Bethany Bump
NEW YORK is canceling most spring and summer high school Regents exams. State education officials approved the move on Monday
, along with removing the high school exit tests from this years graduation requirements, citing the myriad challenges students have faced during the coronavirus pandemic. Only Regents exams in Algebra I, English, living environment, and earth science required under federal rules will be administered this June. New York and several other states asked the U.S. Department of Education to waive the Regents and other tests for the second year in a row, as students continue to learn through a mix of in-person and virtual learning, with varied access to the internet and devices. But the Biden administration decided to keep standardized exams in place this year. In response, New York officials quickly announced plans to cancel Regents exams that are not federally required. Chalkbeats Reema Amin
H. DOUGLAS BARCLAY, lawyer, prominent local politician and the patriarch of the New York State Republican party, died this weekend at 88 years old
. His son Will Barclay, currently the New York State Assembly minority leader, confirmed his father died at home surrounded by family. Doug Barclay hailed from the Pulaski area and served 20 years, from 1965 to 1984, in the New York State Senate. He was the seventh generation of his family to live on a family farm along the Salmon River. Theyll remember him as a leader, fighter and advocate, Will Barclay said of his fathers constituents. Syracuse.coms Chris Libonati
#UpstateAmerica: It remains one of the most notorious crime stories in the history of the Capital Region. Porcos trial, moved to Orange County in a rare change of venue, lasted seven weeks. Jurors took less than six hours to convict Porco of the killing. By comparison, the legal battle over the Lifetime movie is now nearly eight years long and still going
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WHAT CITY HALL’S READING
ANDREW YANGs road to fame was paved with right-wing podcasts. Before he joined the New York City mayors race in January or even appeared on a presidential debate stage during the Democratic primary, Yang reached an audience of millions
through an unconventional venue: shows that promoted a strongly anti-progressive point of view. During one interview last May, Yang said, There are many elements of Trump voters that I completely get and empathize with before describing people who had become disaffected with corruption and checked out of politics. In another he suggested automating the jobs of fast-food workers, who would be embroiled in a local push for unionization just months later. POLITICOs Tina Nguyen and Sally Goldenberg
Yang and fellow mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia teamed up to tout a plan
to streamline small business licensing.
IN NEW YORK CITY, the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 over an average of seven days has hovered between 6% and 7% for the past several weeks
, a plateau that epidemiologists warn will be difficult to push down. Most of the rest of the country hit a record postholiday peak in January and then saw a sharp drop in the daily number of new Covid-19 cases before a recent slowdown. New York City didnt see as sharp of a peak, the drop-off hasnt been as steep and the deaths werent as high, city health officials say. What separates this post-peak compared with the one last spring, after the novel coronavirus ripped through New York City, is that all activities were sharply curbed last March and fear was running high. Now, people are beyond fatigued with isolating, more of the city has opened and continues to open, and some people are less scared of the virus and changing their behavior as more of the city has opened. Wall Street Journals Melanie Grayce West
A study from Northwell Health finds that more than one in ten children
hospitalized for Covid-19 in New York had acute kidney injuries.
MAYOR DE BLASIO is demanding yet another probe into Gov. Cuomo and his administration. Cuomo is already facing an attorney generals investigation into sexual harassment claims, a federal probe into his withholding the release of data on COVID nursing home deaths and a state Assembly impeachment inquiry not to mention questions about the structural integrity of the bridge named after his father. To top that all off, longtime Cuomo ally Larry Schwartz came under fire Sunday for contacting county officials to gauge their political support of Cuomo while also discussing the distribution of vaccines, raising the question of whether he was tying the two things together. What weve heard from the governor and his team trying to link vaccine supply to political support that is the definition of corruption, de Blasio said Monday morning. It is disgusting. It is dangerous. There are lives on the line, and it cannot be tolerated. New York Daily News Michael Gartland
IF YOURE old-fashioned, you were likely brought up to believe that voting is a duty and a privilege, whether those terms called to mind images of Valley Forge or the Pettus Bridge or both. The people who are running for mayor have exercised their duty to varying degrees over their time
as New York City voters, a City Limits review of Board of Elections records for the major candidates indicates. While Andrew Yangs remarkably thin voting record has already generated headlines (and a defense from Yang himself), other candidates also have holes in their histories. Ray McGuire didnt vote in the 2000 presidential race, the 2010 gubernatorial contest or the 2001 or 2017 city elections. Dianne Morales didnt vote in the primary or general contest in the 2001 or 2005 citywide elections. Maya Wiley didnt vote in the last citywide general election, Eric Adams didnt cast a ballot in the Barack vs. Hillary presidential primary in 2008, and Shaun Donovans absence from the city during and after his Obama administration stint means there are a lot of years when he wasnt part of New York Citys body politic. City Limits Jarrett Murphy
CURTIS SLIWA ripped two dopes Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday for running the Big Apple into the ground as he officially launched his bid for Gracie Mansion
. Wearing his signature red beret and a gray suit, the Guardian Angels founder, 66, vowed to put more NYPD officers on the streets to quell what he called out-of-control crime, if hes elected. I can no longer stand in the shadow of these two dopes who, together, have driven New York City down to the point that, as the largest city of America, its got the slowest recovery from the pandemic, Sliwa told a group of supporters outside Madison Square Garden, with giant cutouts of the mayor and governors heads with lines through them…Sliwa is seeking the Republican nomination for mayor in the June primary to replace de Blasio, who is term-limited. New York Posts Reuven Fenton and Lia Eustachewich
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK New York Progressive Action Network has co-endorsed attorney Maya Wiley and former non-profit executive Dianne Morales for mayor. The organization, which includes 30 chapters and affiliates throughout the state, was formed in 2016 by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Theyre the latest group to offer a dual endorsement in the first citywide ranked choice voting election. Joe Anuta
ON THE TRAILMost of the mayoral hopefuls filed their latest fundraising numbers with the Campaign Finance Board Monday evening and several candidates are banking on public funds from the citys 8 to 1 match program to be doled out next month. Eric Adams has a balance of nearly $7.5 million while Scott Stringer has roughly $7 million on hand. Both have already received north of $4.5 million in matching funds. Maya Wiley would have been in the red had she not been approved for $1.9 million in public funds earlier in the day. Her balance stands at around $1.7 million. Kathryn Garcia had roughly $400,000 on hand and expects to qualify for around $2.4 million in public funds in April. Shaun Donovan has around $720,000 in his coffers and is participating in an older program that matches 6 to 1, but allows him to collect bigger donations. He expects to receive around $1.6 million during the next payout. Ray McGuire, Dianne Morales and Andrew Yang did not appear in CFBs database Monday. Joe Anuta
DEBATES! POLITICO will be co-hosting three NYC debates in June with NBC 4 New York/WNBC and Telemundo 47/WNJU in the races for mayor and comptroller. Moderators include City Hall Bureau Chief Sally Goldenberg, WNBC political reporter Melissa Russo, WNBC news anchor David Ushery and WNJU morning news anchor Allan Villafana.
A message from AARP NY:
Scranton on the Hudson
SO FAR, President Biden has made only a passing comment on the crises
that have engulfed Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and he seems to be hoping to avoid getting pulled in any further. But as a longtime friend of the New York governor, Mr. Biden is one of the very few people in the nation with the potential to prevent a protracted standoff between an increasingly isolated Mr. Cuomo and the rest of the Democratic Party. That has strained Mr. Bidens efforts to stay firmly on the sidelines as the governor faces a fusillade of calls to resign. Mr. Cuomo is confronting a spiraling set of allegations and investigations involving sexual harassment, a toxic workplace, the manipulation of the number of deaths at New York nursing homes and perceived loyalty tests from the governors vaccine czar. Mr. Biden and Mr. Cuomo have not spoken, people close to both men said. Asked on Sunday night whether Mr. Cuomo should resign, Mr. Biden said only, I think the investigation is underway, and we should see what it brings us.
“The governor and his allies have urged people to wait for the results of the investigations to buy time, in the hope of stabilizing Mr. Cuomos support. And Mr. Biden appears inclined to give him that time at least for now. But a prolonged period of intraparty sparring over Mr. Cuomos future could be problematic for Mr. Biden. It threatens to distract from his early initiatives, including mass vaccination efforts and his partys imperative to sell the public on the nearly $2 trillion stimulus package Mr. Biden signed into law last week. The New York Times Maggie Haberman and Shane Goldmacher
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday called reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomos vaccine czar blurred lines by querying county officials about their loyalty to New Yorks embattled governor concerning and inappropriate. We work to ensure that [the Covid vaccine] is equitably distributed and that there are not steps that are taken that are concerning, Psaki told reporters Monday. So we were concerned, of course, about the reports of this inappropriate behavior, but we also have a number of steps in the system to ensure that the people of New York, the people of any state [that] the vaccines are being distributed fairly and equitably. Psaki’s remark at Monday’s press briefing marks one of the Biden administrations strongest rebukes of Cuomos management to date. POLITICO Nick Niedwiadek
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.
FROM THE DELEGATION
A DEMOCRATIC member of Congress has joined calls for a federal probe
into safety concerns regarding construction of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in New York. Rep. Mondaire Jones on Monday wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to urge an investigation into potential structural deficiencies on the bridge that connects Rockland and Westchester counties, in an area he represents about 25 miles north of New York City. Wall Street Journals Paul Berger
AROUND NEW YORK
Grad student workers at Columbia University went on strike
State tax collections through February were $758.4 million higher than forecast
, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said.
A coalition of immigrants and supporters will take part in a hunger strike
this week as they push for a relief fund for undocumented workers.
The Brooklyn Municipal Buildingwas renamed
for late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Our City, a progressive independent expenditure group has endorsed Elisa Crespo
in the upcoming Council special in the Bronx.
Police arrested an allegedFort Greene Park dog stabber.
Saratoga Springs is a little behind
on police reform.
Subway speed limitshave been increased
at dozens of locations, but there are concerns about the future of the initiative.
SOCIAL DATA BY DANIEL LIPPMAN
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: former Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), senior policy adviser at Squire Patton Boggs The APs Julie Pace MSNBCs Amy ShusterJeff Nussbaum, speechwriter for President Joe Biden SKDKnickerbockers Jason RosenbaumPatrick AppelNeil Vigdor NYTs Brian Rosenthal Adam Blickstein Matt Greenberg
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.
THE CALLER WAS a woman looking to move with her boyfriend into a studio apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, advertised for $1,751 a month. The man who answered, the real estate broker on the listing, said he would be happy to show them the place. The woman, however, had one last question: Would the landlord accept her federal housing voucher for tenants of lesser means, known as Section 8? If she accept what? Oh, no, she would not, Harris Philip, an independent broker, told the woman, who was actually an undercover investigator for a watchdog group. She just doesnt. She wants well-qualified people. That exchange, secretly recorded by the group, Housing Rights Initiative, in February 2020 and shared with The Times, is part of a sweeping lawsuit filed on Monday in federal court in Manhattan that accuses 88 brokerage firms
and landlords in New York City of discriminating against people with housing vouchers. The New York Times Matthew Haag
NEW YORK CITY has officially purchased the property at 227 Duffield Street, a 19th-century rowhouse in Downtown Brooklyn recently designated as a landmark for its ties to the abolitionist movement. The Landmarks Preservation Commission last month granted landmark status to the home, occupied by known abolitionists Harriet and Thomas Truesdell from 1851 to 1863, after years of advocacy and a threat by a developer to raze it and build a mixed-use building in its place. First Lady Chirlane McCray, who has been a vocal advocate for the preservation of the site, announced the purchase during Mayor Bill de Blasios briefing on Monday and said the deal ensures the property will be protected and celebrated for a very long time. 6sqfts Devin Gannon