‘It was not optional’: Cuomo staffers say work on governor’s pandemic book was not voluntary

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is once again in hot water as several staffers came forward to say their work on his COVID-19 response book was not voluntary, despite the office saying it was.

According to Fox News, several staffers have come forward to say their work was not voluntary, which would then be illegal and an ethics violation.

The Governor’s office had previously claimed the work was not forced or a part of anyones’ jobs.

“As is permissible and consistent with ethical requirements, people who volunteered on this project did so on their own time,” Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said last week.

Local newspaper The Times Union of Albany repoted that staffers came forward to the paper.

There was a “clear expectation that we would do political work to help with his campaign and run the governor’s personal errands in the Executive Chamber,” one staffer told the paper.

It is illegal in New York for the governor or any staff to use government resources for personal gain.

Another staffer said “it was not optional.”

“It was considered a part of your job. Everyone knew that you did what was asked of you and opting out was never really an option,” a former staffer told the Times Union.

The news comes as New York representative Lee Zeldin announced his candidacy for New York governor last week.

Read the full article here.


Democrat-Run New York And Pennsylvania Lead US In Shuttering The Most Small Businesses Through Lockdown

New data from tech giant Facebook reveals that New York and Pennsylvania, both Democratic strongholds run by Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Tom Wolf respectively, have had the greatest number of small businesses in the nation crumble during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Facebook study makes an effort to skirt the issue of lockdowns and claims that “strictness of [non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as lockdowns] did not seem to be correlated with higher rates of closed [small and medium-sized businesses].” The rational follow-up is, given the extensive data that points otherwise, how is this hypothesis even drawn?

Facebook published its first “Global State of Small Business Report,” which collected data from more than 35,000 small businesses in 27 countries affected by the pandemic and, evidently, government responses. The report found that New York and Pennsylvania maintained the highest rate of small business closure in the United States, tied at 31 percent.

The new information comes days before Cuomo is set to increase state taxes as part of a $212 billion spending plan. Taxes will reportedly increase by $4.3 billion dollars. The fiscal year 2021-2022 plan supported by the governor will increase personal taxes for people making over $1 million a year and for couples earning over $2 million a year. In addition, the plan intends to increase the corporate franchise tax rate for businesses earning $5 million or more a year in profits. The New York Senate signed off on the measure on Wednesday, and four of the 10 provisions will head to the State Assembly for a vote.

Similarly, in February, Wolf proposed a $37.8 billion spending plan, which includes the first personal income tax increase in Pennsylvania since 2003, as first noted by Penn live. The state’s personal income tax rate would move from 3.07 percent to 4.49 percent and allocate about half of all funding to the public education system. In addition to this tax hike, Wolf proposed a $12 minimum wage “with a path to $15/hour,” and $145 million in reserves from the Workers Compensation Security Fund to go toward small businesses — those that have somehow survived his harsh pandemic restrictions, that is.

New York leads the pack for the most reductions in employment across the country — at 38 percent. New York is second only to Hawaii in having the highest unemployment rate in the U.S., at 8.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pennsylvania ranks not much higher at 40, with an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent. Even while the state forced businesses to shutter their doors, it did not stop the death rate from climbing. In terms of COVID-19 death rates, New York ranks second in the nation with 259 per 100,000 people. Pennsylvania ranks 11th-highest in death rates, at 198 per 100,000 people, according to data from Becker’s Hospital Review.

Analytics firm TrendMacro published a report in September citing that states that instituted harsh lockdowns like New York and Pennsylvania fared worse economically and even had more severe outbreaks than freer states. “The five places with the harshest lockdowns — the District of Columbia, New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts — had the heaviest caseloads,” the study noted.


New York to give up to $15,600 to undocumented migrants who lost work due to Covid

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York lawmakers struck a deal Tuesday on a $2.1 billion fund for undocumented essential workers who lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic, The New York Times reported.

The “Excluded Workers Fund” could provide payments to hundreds of thousands of people excluded from other pandemic relief.

The measure passed in the New York legislature this week with a vote of 42-21, as part of a broader $212 billion state budget agreement. New York will now offer one-time payments of up to $15,600 to undocumented immigrants who lost work during the pandemic.

Undocumented workers that are able to verify that they are state residents, ineligible for federal unemployment benefits and lost income as a result of the pandemic, could receive up to $15,600, the equivalent of $300 per week for the last year, according to the Times.

Others undocumented immigrants who are unable to meet the same level of verification will be eligible for up to $3,200.

The Fiscal Policy Institute, a New York based policy group, estimated that 290,000 workers will benefit from the Excluded Worker Fund. About 92,000 workers in New York state will be eligible for the full $15,600 payment.

Fox News contributor and former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer slammed the Excluded Workers Fund, calling New York “one messed up state.”

“Many American taxpayers are struggling to make ends meet. Businesses by law are not supposed to hire people who are here illegally. So what does NY do? It takes money from taxpayers and gives it to people who are here illegally. NY is one messed up state,” Fleischer wrote on Twitter.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy


Zeldin Announces Run for Governor of NY — ‘We Have to Turn Things Around’

Thursday on FNC’s “Fox & Friends,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) announced he is running for governor in 2022 amid a slew of scandals by current Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

Zeldin said that “losing is not an option” and emphasized the importance of turning “things around” in New York.

“So, I have spoken to New Yorkers from all across this state, and it doesn’t matter whether you are middle income, you are from upstate, downstate, you are getting hit with new tax hikes now. It hurt about the public safety and cashless bail, so after talking to New Yorkers who feel like this is a last stand, a last great opportunity to save New York,” Zeldin outlined. “And the fact that to save our state Andrew Cuomo has got to go, I’m announcing here this morning on your show that I’m running for governor of New York in 2022. And we are going to win this race. I’m all in; we are all in. Losing is not an option, and we have to turn things around.”

In making his announcement on Twitter, Zeldin said that to save his state, “#CuomosGottaGo!”

“I’ll bring the kind of relentless, fighting spirit towards helping to save our state that Cuomo reserves for multi-million dollar self-congratulatory book deals, cover-ups, abuse & self-dealing,” he added.

Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent


Watch: Illegal Aliens End Hunger Strike After Winning $2.1B in Taxpayer-Funded Aid from Andrew Cuomo

Illegal aliens are ending their 23-day hunger strike after successfully lobbying New York state Democrats and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to provide them with billions in taxpayer-funded aid.

While more than a million jobs have been lost in New York and an estimated 80,000 New York businesses may not make it to the end of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, Cuomo and state Democrats will provide $2.1 billion in stimulus checks and unemployment-style benefits to nearly 200,000 illegal aliens.

In comparison, as Breitbart News reported, small businesses devastated by the pandemic are receiving just $1 billion in tax credits and grants — $1.1 billion less than illegal aliens in the state.

Many illegal aliens who stand to benefit from the aid are ending the 23-day hunger strike they started last month, eating a meal at a victory rally on Wednesday.

Previous estimates suggested illegal aliens could receive up to $28,600 a year thanks to the taxpayer-funded benefits approved by Cuomo. Weekly, illegal aliens could receive $500. For those unemployed since March 2020, illegal aliens could receive, on average, $12,600.

New York, and particularly New York City, has been ravaged by Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D) economic lockdown measures that have now been in place for more than a year. Historic venues, hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and local neighborhood spots have had to close their doors for good as a result of the lockdowns.

Those forced to close include The Roosevelt hotel in Midtown East, which opened in 1924; the Copacabana nightclub, which opened in 1940; The Paris Cafe, which opened in 1873; and Empire Coffee & Tea, which opened in 1908, among hundreds of others.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here


Andrew Cuomo’s New York: Illegal Aliens to Get $1.1B More in Taxpayer-Funded Aid Than Small Businesses

Nearly 200,000 illegal aliens living in New York will soon receive $2.1 billion in taxpayer-funded stimulus checks and unemployment benefits thanks to a budget agreed upon by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

While more than a million jobs have been lost in New York and an estimated 80,000 New York businesses may not make it to the end of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, Cuomo and elected state Democrats agreed on a budget deal that provides billions to illegal aliens at the taxpayer’s expense.

Specifically, according to the New York Times, the state budget includes $2.1 billion in taxpayer-funded one-time payments in the form of stimulus checks and unemployment-style benefits for about 187,000 illegal aliens — about $1.1 billion more than small businesses are set to get in grants and tax credits after being forced to close by Cuomo’s economic lockdowns.

The budget also provides about $2.3 billion in federal funds for tenants who have been behind on rent as a result of Cuomo’s lockdowns, just $200,000,000 more than what illegal aliens will receive.

Previous estimates suggested illegal aliens could receive up to $28,600 a year thanks to the taxpayer-funded benefits approved by Cuomo. Weekly, illegal aliens could receive $500. For those unemployed since March 2020, illegal aliens could receive, on average, $12,600.

New York Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy called the New York state legislature “even more radical than the Biden-Harris administration” and said the budget deal “has replaced any last semblance of common sense with woke insanity.”

“Democrats are about to pass a budget that raises taxes on New Yorkers and businesses by $4 billion while enacting a $2 billion fund that will provide $25,000 payouts to illegal immigrants,” Langworthy said in the statement:

The few brave Democrats who have dared to speak out against this outrageous proposal are being called racists by their own party. While many will appreciate the irony in Democrats turning on each other, the terrifying truth is our state has been hijacked by extreme leftists where racism is cheapened and once again, those who break the law are given priority.

New York, and particularly New York City, has been ravaged by Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D) economic lockdown measures that have now been in place for more than a year. Historic venues, hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and local neighborhood spots have had to close their doors for good as a result of the lockdowns.

Those forced to close include The Roosevelt hotel in Midtown East, which opened in 1924; the Copacabana nightclub, which opened in 1940; The Paris Cafe, which opened in 1873; and Empire Coffee & Tea, which opened in 1908 among hundreds of others.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here


NYPD Orders Officers to Allow People to Smoke Weed in Public

The NYPD has issued new orders on enforcement of marijuana-related offenses after New York legalized recreational use on Wednesday.

On March 31, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing the growth, sale, and recreational use of marijuana. In a four-page memo circulated among officers of the New York Police Department, they have been instructed to ignore smokers unless money changes hands, and not to search vehicles based on the smell of both “burnt and unburnt” weed.

Sale of weed is now legal “unless they receive compensation,” while “hand-to-hand exchange of lawful amounts … without compensation to a person 21 or over, is not considered a sale.”

Police were advised that anyone over the age of 21 is legally allowed to smoke weed “almost anywhere that cigarette smoking is allowed including on sidewalks, on front stoops and other public places.” Smoking “in any of these locations is not a basis for an approach, stop, summons, arrest or search,” the memo said.

Officers have also been told not to “approach, stop or detain” individuals out on parole for potential weed offenses, even if it is a known restriction on said parole. Instead, the memo advises, they “should notify the relevant parole officers” for encforcement.

Despite this, officers themselves are still banned from partaking themselves. “Rules governing the use of marijuana for members of the NYPD have not changed,” according to the memo.

An unnamed source within the NYPD expressed concern about the change, questioning its effect on public safety. “We always say, ‘Drugs equal guns.’ When you smelled weed, you could pull a car over,” he reportedly told the outlet. “Now, you can’t pull them over.”

On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo said the bill “rights the wrongs of the past by putting an end to harsh prison sentences, embraces an industry that will grow the Empire State’s economy, and prioritizes marginalized communities.” New York is now the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana use.


Nolte: While NY Nursing Homes Begged for Tests, CNN’s Chris Cuomo Got VIP Tests

As New York’s besieged nursing homes begged for coronavirus tests, CNN’s Chris Cuomo enjoyed VIP testing at his home in the Hamptons, reports the New York Post:

The Cuomo administration largely ignored a county official’s pleas for COVID-19 [coronavirus] tests for nursing homes at the pandemic’s height last spring — even as the governor allegedly secured the then-scarce tests for his relatives, The Post has learned.

That lackluster response came, as The Albany Times-Union reported last week, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo allegedly pulled strings to secure tests for bigwigs connected to his administration, as well as relatives including his brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, and their elderly mother, Matilda.

As was reported last week, the Albany-Times Union broke a bombshell report about how disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) abused his authority to offer friends and relatives, including CNNLOL’s Fredo Cuomo, VIP testing service. This included top officials being pulled away from important work to personally conduct the tests. The testing was done at home. The tests were rushed in police cars to testing sites. At the already over-burdened testing sites that could (at the time) only conduct a finite number of tests each day, the Cuomo VIP tests jumped to the front of the line. Worse still, the results of the VIP tests were kept private, which means the data was never used to aid in any way with New York’s overall health catastrophe.

And now we learn that the same nursing homes Cuomo ordered to accept infected patients (an order that could only come from a sociopath) were begging for these (at the time) rare testing capabilities. Meanwhile, CNNLOL’s Chris Cuomo sat at home and enjoyed VIP testing — numerous time, per reports — in the comfort of his own home.

It’s not as if Fredo could not have known how scarce these testing resources were, especially in the state where he lives. Sure, he’s stupid, but nobody is that stupid. He does pretend to be a newsman.

Here’s the real question…

How could someone who is young and healthy, like Cuomo, in good conscience accept these VIP services when he knew he was safe and that others, specifically the elderly, were in real need of these resources?

Oh, and let’s not forget that during the worst of the pandemic, when time was a vital resource, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was supposed to be leading the fight against the epidemic, found time to call Chris Cuomo every day. Yep, after Cuomo caught the coronavirus and pretended to be quarantining (instead, while infected, he was actually running around New York without a mask), Fauci called Cuomo every single day.

How many innocent people died because the young and healthy Chris Cuomo received all this special treatment?

What a selfish monster.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


Report: 7 Individuals with Direct Knowledge Say Andrew Cuomo Gave ‘Royal’ Coronavirus Treatment to Family and Elites

Seven individuals with direct knowledge believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) gave preferential treatment to family relatives and New York elites at state coronavirus testing centers.

According to a report, the immediate family of the New York governor, including his brother CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, are among those suspected of benefiting from Andrew Cuomo’s influence, obtaining “attention that appeared to go beyond that of others, receiving multiple visits at their Hamptons home from Department of Health physician Eleanor Adams, according to two people familiar with the visits.”

“They were treated like royalty… I didn’t understand why they were able to jump the line,” one of the seven individuals with knowledge said of the Cuomo family.

“I remember them being like, ‘They’re coming, they’re coming,’” the nurse remembered, articulating how site leaders spoke about the family when they were approaching. “And they would say, ‘Have the state trooper ready … have it ready to go to Wadsworth.’ There was a lot of anxiety over those samples getting to the right place.”

Other high society persons are also reported to have received special treatment, which were “described by staff as ‘priorities,’ ‘specials,’ ‘inner circle,’ or ‘criticals,’ according to five people, including three nurses,” who detailed how those close to Andrew Cuomo received redirected resources “that were fast-tracked.”

The individuals who divulged the news and described the “behind-the-scenes operations and their feelings of discomfort” spoke to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity “out of fear of retribution by Cuomo’s office.”

Both brothers’ spokespersons have parsed the accusations.

“There was no ‘VIP’ program as the Washington Post described — when priority was given, it was to nurses, guardsmen, state workers, and other government officials central to the pandemic response and those they were in direct contact with…,” said Rich Azzopardi, the governor’s spokesman.

CNN spokesman Matt Dornic refused to comment on Chris Cuomo’s medical history. “As we have already said, we generally do not comment on employees’ medical care and we have nothing more to add,” he concluded.

Chris Cuomo conveniently took a hiatus shortly after the alleged nepotism story broke but returned to his show Monday, avoiding the allegations, along with the rest of CNN, which also “implemented a coverage blackout of the latest bombshell, including the network’s left-wing media guru Brian Stelter, who has a growing trend of avoiding the biggest media controversies on his media-centric program ‘Reliable Sources,’” according to Fox News.

Chris Cuomo’s alleged special treatment runs counter to what he said on his show in 2020 after he was infected with the Chinese virus. Doctor Anthony Fauci “can say that anyone who wants a test can get one, and they know that’s BS, because you and I both know that we know people in our lives who can’t get tested,” he complained. “And when they do get tested, they can’t get results, until they’re already over the illness.”

The new reporting comes while Andrew Cuomo is already under investigation by New York state Attorney General Letitia James for alleged sexual harassment. Despite the current investigation, James asked the New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics Thursday to open an investigation on Andrew Cuomo’s “testing protocol.”

“The recent reports alleging there was preferential treatment given for COVID-19 testing are troubling,” Jame’s spokesman said in a statement.

A spokesman for the ethics commission responded by saying the panel “cannot comment on anything that is or might be an investigative matter.”


‘There was nothing I could do’: Cuomo accuser recalls alleged incident in detail

On Monday, a ninth woman accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of sexual misconduct, illustrating in detail how he allegedly grabbed her face and forcibly kissed her at her home.

Cuomo is currently being investigated by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) for the accusations of sexual misconduct, as well as separately for allegedly covering up data on COVID-related nursing home deaths.

MORE ON CUOMO: FBI investigating if Cuomo aides lied to DOJ about nursing home deaths

“The whole thing was so strange and inappropriate and still makes me nervous and afraid because of his power and position,” said 55-year-old Sherry Vill, a married mother of three, during an afternoon press conference with attorney Gloria Allred, according to The New York Post. “I am still afraid of him, but I am no longer willing to remain silent.”

The alleged incident happened in May 2017, while the governor was touring homes in Greece, New York, which had recently been hit by flooding, including Vill’s. She and her attorney provided images of Vill and Cuomo together to corroborate her account.

MORE ON CUOMO: Cuomo accuser’s lawyer alleges Cuomo ‘interference’ in NY AG’s probe

Vill said Cuomo “took my hand and pulled me to him,” then he kissing her on the cheek in what she felt was in “a highly sexual manner.”

The governor tried to explain the inappropriate contact as a cultural norm, according to Vill.

“He said, ‘That’s what Italians do, kiss both cheeks,’” she recanted.

“I felt shocked and didn’t understand what had just happened,” Vill said. “But I knew I felt embarrassed and weird about his kissing me. I am Italian, and in my family, family members kiss. Strangers do not kiss, especially upon meeting someone for the first time.”

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As he was departing, Cuomo “stopped, he turned to me and said, ‘You are beautiful,’” she recalled.

“That made me feel even more uncomfortable,” Vill said. “I felt as though he was coming on to me in my own home.”

Cuomo allegedly grabbed Vill’s face another time and kissed her on the cheek outside her house. This occurred in front of Vill’s son, who was recording the governor’s visit and snapped a picture of the contact, which was displayed at the virtual news conference on Monday, according to The Post.

MORE ON CUOMO: Cuomo: ‘I’m not going to resign’

“I felt like I was being manhandled, especially because he was holding my face and he was kissing my cheek again,” Vill said. “The way he looked at me and his body language made me very uncomfortable. I felt he was acting in a highly flirtatious and inappropriate manner, especially in front of my family and neighbors.”

“I know the difference between an innocent gesture and a sexual one,” she also said. “I never felt as uncomfortable as I did the day that Gov. Cuomo came to my home. His actions were very overly sexual, highly inappropriate and disrespectful to me and my family.”

To learn more about the story and the accusation, read The New York Post‘s full article here.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.