Disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo had lunch with an influential labor union honcho as he mulls making a comeback bid for his previous workplace, sources instructed The Publish.
Cuomo met with Peter Ward, former president of the Resort Trades Council, at his favored enterprise assembly spot, Fresco By Scotto restaurant, earlier this week.
However Ward’s previous union, representing 1000’s of resort staff, has already endorsed Cuomo’s successor, Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, to stay the state’s chief government.
The assembly with Ward got here a day earlier than he spoke to controversial former lawmaker the Rev. Reuben Diaz Sr. and the Hispanic Clergy Affiliation in The Bronx. Diaz is vilified within the LGBT neighborhood for making homophobic feedback and voting in opposition to the homosexual marriage legislation, which Cuomo championed in 2011.
The previous three-term Democratic governor appointed Ward as one in every of his representatives to the MTA board from 2015 to 2019.
“If Andrew is assembly with Rev. Reuben Diaz and Peter Ward in the identical week, he’s kicking the tires about making a comeback — or least desires folks to assume he’s kicking the tires,” mentioned Allen Cappelli, who labored for his father, the late three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo for 12 years.
Fresco by Scotto proprietor Anthony Scotto confirmed the 2 dined at his Italian eatery.
“Former Gov. Cuomo had lunch with Peter,” mentioned Scotto, who is aware of each effectively. He mentioned Cuomo used to host huge dinners with union leaders on the restaurant when he was governor.
Scotto — whose diners have included former Republican President Donald Trump — mentioned the restaurant is impartial political territory. Cuomo additionally lately dined with former NJ GOP Gov. Chris Christie on the midtown eatery.
“We’re Switzerland over right here,” he quipped.
However Cappelli desires no a part of an Andrew Cuomo reemergence. He had relationship with Mario however had a falling out with Andrew in 2002 when Cappelli was marketing campaign supervisor for Democratic Carl McCall’s bid for governor in opposition to Andrew. McCall, then the state comptroller, defeated Cuomo within the main — and he mentioned Andrew by no means forgave him for working for McCall.
“Andrew ought to get off the stage. I instructed him in 2002 he shouldn’t run in opposition to Carl McCall, who was the higher candidate. I might inform him right this moment that Kathy Hochul is the higher candidate and he shouldn’t run,” Cappelli mentioned.
Sources mentioned Cuomo, who resigned below the specter of impeachment following a slew of sexual harassment accusations, is giving extra critical consideration to creating a comeback later this 12 months — probably operating as an unbiased below his personal occasion banner, if not as a Democrat, sources mentioned.
He was buoyed by an Emerson School ballot that confirmed him trailing Kathy Hochul, his former lieutenant governor, by simply 4 factors in a hypothetical Democratic main.
Cuomo mentioned, “I’m open to all choices” after assembly with Diaz and the Hispanic ministers on Thursday.
Cuomo additionally mentioned he was open to creating his personal political occasion to run, somewhat than trying to safe the Democratic Celebration’s spot on the November poll.
“I’ve finished it earlier than,” the lifelong Democrat claimed, in reference to his 2014 invention of the “Girls’s Equality Celebration.
“My father’s finished it earlier than,” he added, apparently referencing Mario Cuomo’s unsuccessful 1977 mayoral bid whereas operating within the normal election on the Liberal Celebration’s line after shedding the Democratic main earlier that 12 months.
Some longtime Cuomo associates stay skeptical that the scandal-scarred former governor might make a comeback so quickly and expressed concern that he might solely play spoiler and assist elect a Republican by operating a 3rd occasion candidacy.
However one supply briefed on Cuomo’s considering mentioned, “Cuomo is de facto taking a deep dive and this. He’s been inspired by some donors.”
Sources mentioned he’s additionally making calls to political consultants who run area operations to conduct petitioning to get on the poll.
Cuomo nonetheless has $16.4 million in his marketing campaign coffers, cash he’s now utilizing to run campaign-style TV advertisements as a part of an effort to rehab, within the very least, his tarnished reputations. The advertisements defend his file as governor and claims he’s harmless of the sexual harassment accusations as a result of DAs have declined to prosecute him.
His marketing campaign committee — Pals of Andrew Cuomo — spent about $2.1 million over the last half of 2021 however raised solely $224,270.55.
Hochul raised a file $21.9 million over the last half of 2021. Institutional gamers — labor unions, reel property builders and others depending on Albany help — have switched their allegiance from Cuomo to Hochul, making it tougher for the previous governor to boost huge donations going ahead.
“I’m so targeted proper now on the following two weeks to get by way of a price range…I’ll give attention to the politics afterward down the highway,” mentioned Hochul, when requested if she’s nervous a few attainable main in opposition to the ex-pol throughout an unrelated Buffalo-based information convention Friday.
And Cuomo has different baggage apart from sexual misconduct.
A damning state audit launched by state Comptroller Tom Di Napoli on Tuesday discovered the state Well being Division below Cuomo deliberately “misled the general public” in regards to the variety of nursing house deaths from COVID-19 to assist enhance Cuomo’s status as he negotiated with a writer to write down a e-book about his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Particularly, auditors found that DOH officers undercounted the loss of life toll by no less than 4,100 residents and at instances by greater than 50 %. The audit mirrored the findings of a the same report launched by state Lawyer Normal Letitia James final 12 months.