Gov. Andrew Cuomo today didn’t excuse the offices of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli from their roles in reviewing a settlement deal with Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
“It was ‘a secret deal’ reviewed by the Attorney General’s office and implemented by the Comptroller’s Office. It was not a deal done outside the checks and balances of government,” Cuomo said.
He added, “You can argue it’s a worse situation because if it was just a legislative agreement, you could say, ‘Well it was done because it bypassed the checks and balances.’ Apparently it didn’t.”
Either Cuomo was trying to deflect away from Silver or trying to link all of them to the controversial $103,000 settlement in June. Cuomo has indicated that he would set up a powerful Moreland Commission to investigate the case if JCOPE presumably doesn’t investigate how the settlement was crafted.
Schneiderman and DiNapoli have both denied culpability, or even knowledge that they knew about the settlement.
There is no close bond between Cuomo and the other statewide elected officials, who are all Democrats. Cuomo in 2010 refused to endorse DiNapoli for comptroller, and he was widely believed to be backing Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice as his successor in the AG’s office.
Since being elected, DiNapoli and Cuomo have spared over pension reform, while Cuomo’s director of Financial Service Benjamin Lawsky, a Cuomo protege, has taken on Wall Street — a role that had been carved out by attorneys general.