Hochul seeks to pay $5 million in legal fees for ex-Cuomo staffers

Gov. Kathy Hochul is looking for to spend as much as $5 million in taxpayer cash to pay the authorized payments of dozens of present and former state staff who acquired caught up within the sexual harassment scandal that pressured ex-Gov Andrew Cuomo from workplace, The Put up has discovered.

The transfer may gain advantage Cuomo cronies who stayed loyal to the disgraced ex-governor to the very finish of his scandal-scarred tenure — together with former aide Melissa DeRosa.

However DeRosa, when reached by telephone Wednesday night time, mentioned, “I’m not looking for reimbursement for both the nursing-homes investigation or the legal professional common’s sexual-harassment investigation.”

However, she added, it was “acceptable” for the opposite public staff to get reimbursement for out of doors counsel on the recommendation of the state.

Hochul has been discussing the matter with Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Legal professional Basic Letitia James, sources accustomed to the matter mentioned.

Sources mentioned Hochul has been working to find out what, if any, authorized avenues exist that may enable the state to cowl the payments.
 The governor’s workplace expects legislation corporations representing about 30 present and former chamber staff to use for any such reimbursement estimated to be as much as $5 million, a supply mentioned.

New York Attorney General Letitia James
New York Legal professional Basic Letitia James speaks at a information convention at union 1199 SEIU headquarters on March 21, 2022 in New York Metropolis.
Getty Photographs

The spending would both be included within the 2023 state funds that’s due on April 1 or come from a particular fund that covers the price of lawsuits in opposition to the state, sources mentioned.

One supply scoffed on the concept of utilizing tax cash, and advised Cuomo faucet into his marketing campaign coffers to foot the invoice.

“After the whole lot he put his workers by way of, why received’t he spend a couple of of his hundreds of thousands to assist out?” the supply mentioned.

Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks throughout a New York Hispanic Clergy Group assembly, Thursday, March 17, 2022, in New York.

In June 2021 — lower than two months earlier than he resigned — Cuomo signed a invoice authorizing lawmakers to faucet the $156 million fund to pay for an Meeting impeachment investigation in opposition to him.

The state staff employed non-public attorneys on the recommendation of Cuomo’s former particular counsel and senior adviser Beth Garvey after James launched a probe that led to a blockbuster report through which she accused the thrice-elected governor of sexually harassing 11 present or former state staff, the supply mentioned.

Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing however admitted in his resignation speech, “There are generational and cultural shifts that I simply didn’t totally admire.”

Not one of the authorized retainer agreements signed by the employees had been pre-approved by the Comptroller’s Workplace and several other of them have been unable to acquire reimbursement for his or her payments, the supply mentioned.

Melissa DeRosa, secretary to former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo,
Melissa DeRosa served as a high aide to former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

It’s unclear if Hochul will attempt to forestall DeRosa or others accused by James of taking “retaliatory” actions in opposition to Cuomo’s accusers from getting their payments paid, with the supply saying “it’s untimely” however including that Hochul was reviewing all “authorized choices.”

A Hochul spokeswoman confirmed the hassle, saying “We consider that well-meaning public servants who cooperated with an investigation associated to their official duties mustn’t face monetary legal responsibility.”

“Upon taking workplace, we carried out an intensive and intensive authorized evaluation and decided there was no authorized foundation to authorize these contracts and make these funds,” spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays mentioned.

“That being mentioned, we have now been working to search out an equitable decision, and we count on to resolve this within the close to future.”

The AG’s Workplace and Comptroller’s Workplace didn’t instantly return requests for remark.

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