NY lawmaker defends contract in brief update on Cuomo impeachment probe

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

ALBANY, N.Y. — The Assemblyman leading the impeachment probe into Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed back Wednesday on criticisms about how much money has been allotted to the investigation.

Assemblyman Charles Lavine, D-Nassau, defend the $250,000 initial contract with law firm Davis Polk, tasked with diving into myriad allegations of sexual harassment against the governor and other scandals surrounding the Cuomo administration.

“It is not true that only $250,000 has been allocated for the entirety of the investigation,” Lavine said during a brief public update about the probe. “Rather the Assembly puts an initial cap on its contracts in order to allow the comptroller to disburse that amount.

“The cap may be amended as needed, and it will need to be amended here,” he added.

So far, 75 individuals and entities with relevant information have been contacted or interviewed by investigators with Davis Polk, Lavine said.

A hotline set up for the probe has received 125 voicemails and investigators are reviewing 165 emails sent in. Investigators have reviewed “tens of thousands of pages of documents,” including emails, texts, photographs, personnel records and training materials.

“I am very pleased with the progress so far,” Lavine said.

The wide-ranging investigation is exploring multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by several women, including current and former staffers, against Cuomo as well as claims that the governor illegally used staff to help him write and promote a COVID-themed book last year.

Also being probed are allegations that Cuomo helped family and friends get access to scarce coronavirus tests early on during the pandemic, the potential hiding of the true number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, issues with the Mario Cuomo Bridge and whether the governor knew of any attempts to suppress or obstruct related investigations.

A majority vote for impeachment in the Assembly would set up a potential trial overseen by the Senate and the state Court of Appeals. Both the Senate and Assembly are run by Cuomo’s fellow Democrats.

Amid the mounting scandals, dozens of Cuomo’s fellow Democrats have joined Republicans in calling on the governor to resign. Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing and repeatedly said he has no intention of stepping down.

The governor is also facing an independent investigation into the sexual harassment claims being overseen by Attorney General Letitia James’ office and a federal probe into his administration’s handling of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.

James’ office is also looking into Cuomo’s $5 million book deal and whether staffers were illegally tasked with assisting in the production of the pandemic tome.

Earlier Wednesday, the governor said he has not taken any steps to make changes in how he operates or the way his office is run amid the multiple probes.

“There is also a number of reviews that are going on to analyze the specifics,” Cuomo said during a press briefing held at his Manhattan office. “Let’s see what they say and if there is a problem, bonafide problem, then address it.”