Republican state Senate candidate Christopher McGrath is accusing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of running “the most corrupt administration since Tammany Hall.”
The criticism by McGrath, a Hewlett attorney, came a day after Cuomo headlined a rally in Albertson where he endorsed McGrath’s Democratic opponent, Sen. Todd Kaminsky of Long Beach.
In a statement Tuesday, McGrath referred to bribery and bid-rigging allegations against former Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco and others close to his administration. Cuomo has said he was not aware of the alleged wrongdoing. Percoco has pleaded not guilty.
McGrath also cited allegations, raised during the ongoing Bridgegate trial in New Jersey, that Cuomo had been informed by Gov. Chris Christie about the closing of traffic lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge.
Two former Christie appointees are on trial for orchestrating the September 2013 lane closures as political retribution against a New Jersey mayor who hadn’t endorsed Christie’s re-election efforts. The Cuomo administration released a statement that said “no such conversation” took place between the two governors.
McGrath said Cuomo “is right in the middle of the most serious and far-reaching corruption scandal in state history, which involves billions of dollars in taxpayer money being steered to his campaign contributors ... The governor, who once bragged about reforming Albany, is now running the most corrupt administration since Tammany Hall. And, Todd Kaminsky is his partner in crime.”
Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi called McGrath’s allegations “pathetic lies that hinge on the hearsay testimony of a convicted felon” — a reference to former Port Authority executive David Wildstein, the alleged architect of the lane-closing scheme.
Azzopardi called McGrath’s statement “a feeble attempt by Dean Skelos’ heir apparent to distract from the fact that he, unlike Senator Kaminsky, doesn’t support comprehensive ethics reform.”
Kaminsky defeated McGrath in an April special election in the 9th Senate District after Skelos’ conviction on federal corruption charges. They will face again in a rematch on Nov. 8.
“Chris McGrath’s failing campaign has reached new lows,” said Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy. “McGrath is nothing more than a hand-picked puppet of the corrupt Skelos/[Nassau County Executive Edward] Mangano machine. Nassau voters saw through his deception this past April and will do so again on Election Day.”