City Council candidate Michael Cohen, whose departure from the New York State Assembly came up in Andrew Cuomo's investigation into alleged abuses of the state pension fund by aides to the former state comptroller, released a statement over the weekend saying he did nothing wrong.
Cohen, who has not been accused of any wrong-doing in the probe by the attorney general's office, said, "At no time when I was thinking about leaving the State Assembly did I seek to trade upon my office. Among those to whom I expressed an interest in employment closer to home was one now the subject of investigations."
Cohen is currently running for a Council seat in the Forest Hills neighborhood he represented for six years in the Assembly. Already, one of his opponents in the race has contacted supporters to alert them to the investigation.
Here's Cohen's statement:
Statement from Michael Cohen, Candidate for City Council, Queens – 29th Council District.
"While there are limits as to what I can discuss, since investigations into the Comptroller's office are ongoing and the State Attorney General's office has asked me to respect certain common-sense boundaries, there are some points of fact I would like to highlight.
My family, friends and neighbors are very familiar with the reasons why I left Albany in 2005, after just over six years as a State Assemblyman, to be closer to home. I'm not in the habit of discussing such personal matters, but needless to say it was an exceedingly difficult time.
At no time when I was thinking about leaving the State Assembly did I seek to trade upon my office. Among those to whom I expressed an interest in employment closer to home was one now the subject of investigations.
When I needed to be home with my family, there wasn't an imperative that I work right away. While not affluent by any measure, that could have waited several months to a year. I simply couldn't devote the time I felt appropriate to my legislative position and needed to be back in Queens full-time more than I needed to start working right away. That I was able to start immediately upon my resignation from the State Assembly, while also needing to take time off, speaks only to the compassion of those I was then starting to work with.
My campaign to be the full-time City Councilman for much of the area I represented in the State Assembly is a return to public service that I am excited about. I believe the best part of being a legislator is constituent service and I look forward to more of that."