Barron Calls Cuomo Sarcastic, Cute

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Was it a set-up, or a frank discussion about race?

Last night’s forum about race and discrimination with Andrew Cuomo and Charlie King at the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn attracted only about a dozen people (not counting staffers, reporters and elected officials). Perhaps a few more would have showed up if they knew firebrand Councilman Charles Barron, a member of the church, would get to ask a question.

“I’m very familiar with the history of HELP homes inc and Genesis homes, you’re structure was white males… the higher up you went in HELPinc, the whiter it got…We had to demonstrate against your organization because of the structural racism, you had no black vice presidents – none…you brag about building homes and all the things you did in East New York, but there was a lot of structural racism in your organization…why should we believe you now”

Cuomo’s responded:

“When I was there that wasn’t the case, I then left and went to Washington…the exact opposite facts that you just stated are my record at HUD…”

The forum’s moderator – who used to support King, but now backs Cuomo – Assemblyman Daryl Towns, finally got around to asking Barron to sit down…after about five minutes. [More of the exchange is after the jump.]

Afterwards, Towns turned to questions from the audience, which they submitted on index cards. The questions were picked by King’s campaign manager and hand delivered by Cuomo’s political director, Joe Percoco.

During the Barron exchange, Charlie King sat quietly with his head bowed.

Caitlin Klevorick, King’s campaign spokeswoman, said there was no set up.

“Charlie Barron’s question was of his own making we were totally unaware of the question until it was asked,” she said.
–Jason Horowitz

Barron and Cuomo:

Barron: “I’m very familiar with the history of HELP homes inc and Genesis homes, you’re structure was white males… the higher up you went in HELPinc, the whiter it got…We had to demonstrate against your organization because of the structural racism, you had no black vice presidents – none…you brag about building homes and all the things you did in East New York, but there was a lot of structural racism in your organization…why should we believe you now” (Scattered applause)

Cuomo: “When I was there that wasn’t the case, I then left and went to Washington…the exact opposite facts that you just stated are my record at HUD…”

Barron: “I’m talking about HELP homes Inc”

Cuomo: “Yeah well I was gone…”

Barron: “When you were there when you were there that’s what existed…they never had a black even when you were there in the top echelon…”

Cuomo: “That is not true”

Barron: “Oh the vice presidents?”

Cuomo: “Look we’re going back 20 years I’ll pull the records for you…”(groans from the back pews)
“Now stay with me Mr. Councilman.”

Barron: “I’ll stay with you if you stay with my question…”

Cuomo: “I’ll pull the records from 20 years ago because I’m getting a little older my memories getting a little…”(Boos from the back pews)

Barron: It’s not about records, you can get sarcastic and cute but the bottom line is that when you say you are against structural racism that should be demonstrated in your history in the hood in East New York, which it did not exist.”

Cuomo: “Well I don’t believe you are correct. I always had a diverse work force at Health and at Hud…”

Barron: “I’m talking about vice president ins HELP homes inc. Name ‘em.”

Cuomo: “I didn’t have vice presidents.”

(Towns then tells Barron to pipe down. Barron sums up his argument and adds the following, for good measure.)

Barron: “You can have a dialogue with Charlie if you like.”