ALBANY _ Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino hit a sensitive nerve with the Cuomo family Monday by saying Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo acted like a “mafia boss” by meddling with a corruption commission.
Cuomo on Monday said he was simply advising the Moreland Commission on public corruption that he created.
Astorino didn’t buy it.
“To suggest that he was suggesting to the commission members where they should go with an investigation is like a mafia boss coming forward and saying that he wants to make a suggestion, an offer you can't refuse," Astorino said in Syracuse. "That clearly is intimidation."
Astorino’s campaign tweeted the line, but said Italians shouldn’t take offense and none was intended by the Republican, who is Italian.
“He was reciting a line from “The Godfather,” one of the most quoted movies on the planet,” said Astorino spokeswoman Jessica Proud. “Governor Cuomo is ensnared in a major corruption scandal -- let's have a little perspective please. “
“Only in New York could the anti-corruption commission become corrupted by a governor steering investigations away from himself and his political funders," Astorino said earlier.
The Sons of Italy in America based in Washington said it was appalled and outraged.
“Mr. Astorino's political aspirations and differences with the governor are no excuse for resorting to inappropriate, untrue and insinuating aspersions, which are harmful and undeserving not only to the governor, but to America's 26 million Italian Americans,” stated national Executive Director Philip Piccigallo.
The governor’s father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, in the 1980s once denied the Mafia existed in a perspective much criticized at the time. Mario Cuomo had also refused to see “The Godfather” movies for years because he felt it portrayed Italian-Americans negatively.