WHITE PLAINS, NY — Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State Address speech last week, entitled “Built to Lead,” consisted of big plans, including restoring the public trust in government. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino replied with a 200-word ethic lecture, starting with the pretty strong pronouncement: “Governor Cuomo saying he’s going to clean up corruption is like O.J. saying he’s going to find the real killer.”
Just a few days after the US Attorney for the Southern District absolved Governor Cuomo of any wrong-doing resulting from the Moreland Commission shutdown, Astorino steered thousands of dollars in lucrative legal contracts to many of his campaign donors. Astorino continued to criticize Governor Cuomo despite the fact that he has doled out millions of dollars to outside legal firms, many of which donated to his various campaigns. Astorino once again lockED into these agreements on Thursday, January 14, at the Board of Acquisition and Contract, which is controlled by the County Executive.
Phil Reisman, wrote in the Journal News the following day: “Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, either hasn’t heard that the 2014 gubernatorial race is over or believes that the 2018 campaign is in full swing and that he is, once again, the Republican Party’s chosen candidate.”
“Rob Astorino is so desperate to get to Albany that he has even begun to imitate its pay-to-play culture right here in Westchester County. This administration has proposed cuts to funding for human services, starved our infrastructure of the resources it needs and paid millions of dollars in fines for being unable to provide clean drinking water but can spend several million dollars taking care of the law firms that employ his campaign donors,” said Brian Hegt, spokesman for the BoL Democratic Caucus.
Nearly $36,000 was donated by various law firms that are set to receive contracts from the County on Thursday. Here is the list:
• Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker LLP
• Pannone Lopes Deveraux & West LLC
• Harriton & Furrer LLP
• Biaggi & Biaggi
• Canter Law Firm PC
• Harris Beach PLLC
• Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP
• Lyons McGovern LLP
• Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti LLP
• Bank, Sheer, Seymour & Hashmall
• Joan Marshall Cresap Law Office
Hegt continued, “As Rob Astorino continues to put his political ambitions over the Westchester taxpayers, members of the Board of Legislators will continue to push for ethics and campaign finance reform so that the ethical cesspool of Albany doesn’t make its way to Westchester.”
“In 2014, Astorino lost to Cuomo, but he managed to break the 40 percent barrier, even though he had little money and was not known statewide. That he wasn’t crushed in a landslide evidently gave him encouragement — and so he hasn’t stopped running for governor. At the very least, he’s leaving his options wide open – and in keeping them open has retained the outside services of public relations specialist Bill O’Reilly to handle the political side of his activities,” Reisman continued to say in his Lohud column.