Astorino Rips Cuomo Over Alleged Sandy Investigation Interference

Rob Astorino attacked Andrew Cuomo over reports the governor interfered in the Long Island Power Authority and an investigatory commission.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (Photo: Lauren Draper).
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (Photo: Lauren Draper).

Republican gubernatorial contender Rob Astorino assailed Gov. Andrew Cuomo over a New York Times report that the actions of the governor’s administration slowed the workings of the troubled Long Island Power Authority–and then covered its tracks by interfering with a commission Mr. Cuomo appointed to investigate the formerly quasi-government agency.

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The Times wrote today that Mr. Cuomo’s administration slowed crucial new hires at LIPA–including of a communications director–leading up to 2011’s Hurricane Irene and 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, both of which crippled utilities in Long Island and left hundreds of thousands without power. According to the Times, Mr. Cuomo denied documents indicating his administration may have played a role in delaying the recovery to the panel he had investigate LIPA after the latter disaster, and tampered with its final report to indicate unanimous support for privatization.

Mr. Astorino argued that the new revelations are part of a pattern that continued with Mr. Cuomo’s unceremonious disbanding of the anti-corruption Moreland Commission–which prompted a federal criminal investigation by United States Attorney Preet Bharara.

“It’s been consistent not just this year, and not just through his four years in office, but throughout his whole career, Andrew Cuomo has a real problem with honesty. He is dishonest to the core. You see that in everything he does in his administration,” Mr. Astorino said, noting that Mr. Cuomo also reportedly altered reports on the controversial “hydrofracking” method of extracting natural gas and on legalized gambling. “Every report that has been written on major things like fracking, the casino industry, he’s meddled in.”

The Westchester County Executive blamed the governor for high power costs in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and LIPA’s slow response to disasters.

“It’s one of the reasons that energy costs, electricity rates continue to go up and up and up in Long Island, because this governor meddled in something he should never have stuck his nose in,” Mr. Astorino said. “He meddled into it to the point that it stopped progress in Long Island after Sandy.”

Mr. Astorino, who most polls show lagging behind Mr. Cuomo by at least 20 percentage points, predicted he would ultimately defeat the governor the same way an insurgent George Pataki beat Mario Cuomo two decades ago.

“He’s acting like a desperate politicians with his lies, who knows he’s going to have the same fate his father had in 1994, when it was thought he was unbeatable. He was well ahead in the polls, but ultimately on Election Day the people spoke,” he said. “Andrew Cuomo is dishonest to the core, and it’s going to end and it’s going to end when the voters say ‘enough is enough.'”

Mr. Cuomo’s camp did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Astorino Rips Cuomo Over Alleged Sandy Investigation Interference