Cuomo: Hevesi’s Office Used the State Pension Fund to Get Hevesi’s Son Elected

Azi Paybarah

In a conference call with reporters, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said that aides to former state comptroller Alan Hevesi used the state pension fund to pay off a political leader who helped get Hevesi’s son into office.

“[New York Liberal Party leader] Ray Harding was dispatched to help clear a seat in the State Assembly so Alan Hevesi’s son could run for the open seat,” Cuomo said.

Before being elected as state comptroller, Alan Hevesi was an assemblyman representing Forest Hills for more than two decades. When he left, Michael Cohen was elected to the seat. According to Cuomo, Harding help get Cohen to leave the office by installing him in a six-figure job at HIP, an insurance company. Harding then secured support for Hevesi’s son, Andrew, to run for the seat, said Cuomo.

As Cuomo tells it, Comptroller Hevesi received political support from Harding for a number of years, and, in exchange, Harding got tens of thousands of dollars for work he supposedly did as a placement agent with the pension fund. Cuomo said Harding was being paid back for his political work in supporting Hevesi.

Cohen is now actively running for the City Council.

Cuomo said the current assemblyman, Andrew Hevesi, “played no role in this,” and the attorney general’s office will not ask him to step down.

Cuomo said the scheme demonstrated a “brazenness” in how Hevesi’s allies were abusing their access to the state pension fund. He said details would be outlined in the official complaint, which his office is releasing shortly. He said other charges from the ongoing investigation may yet come to light.

CORRECTION: This post has been updated to make clear the that fact that the indictment alleges that Alan Hevesi’s aides–and not Hevesi himself–facilitated the deal with Harding. Cuomo: Hevesi’s Office Used the State Pension Fund to Get Hevesi’s Son Elected