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Cuomo cancels World Series fundraiser

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the Kauffman Stadium

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City for Game 1 of the Mets-Royals World Series on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

ALBANY - Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has canceled plans to sell Mets World Series tickets for $5,500 as part of a campaign fundraiser, following sharp criticism that he was exploiting the game to raise cash from deep-pocketed donors.

A Cuomo campaign spokesman said fundraisers, slated to start 90 minutes before Games 3 (Friday) and 4 (Saturday) at Citi Field, were scratched to make more tickets available to the public, citing "overwhelming demand." Cuomo's campaign returned all the tickets it held, about 20 tickets for each game, to the Mets.

"Given the overwhelming demand for tickets for Friday and Saturday night's games, we have decided to reschedule this weekend's events to a future date so that more tickets are available," a campaign spokesman said.

But Cuomo also was rebuked by watchdog groups for accessing World Series tickets that weren't available to the average fan -- a Common Cause official called it a potential abuse of office. In addition, newspaper editorial pages had accused the governor of effectively scalping tickets and Cuomo "was ripped all day on WFAN," the all-sports radio station in New York, according to statements Assemb. Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) made on Twitter.

Cuomo and two aides flew to Game 1 of the series in Kansas City on a private jet with Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon. Using money from his campaign account, Cuomo was to pay "face value" for the game ticket, an aide said previously, although the amount wasn't specified. The governor also will reimburse the Wilpons for airfare at "fair market value," the spokesman said.

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