Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that he’s just too busy with city business to pay attention to controvery over whether Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo meddled in the work of his anti-corruption panel.
“I’m not following it because I have a lot of other things to do. I try to keep up a bit with the world, but when I look at the media, I am focused on the things that affect the City of New York directly, and that’s where my time and energy has to go,” de Blasio said.
Cuomo disbanded his Moreland Commission on Public Corruption in March, before it had issued a final report or completed its investigation. A lengthy story in The New York Times last week said Cuomo’s office “deeply compromised the panel’s work, objecting whenever the commission focused on groups with ties,” to Cuomo.
Cuomo has denied interfering with the panel and called it a “phenomenal success.”
When asked Wednesday by a reporter at a housing event about the Moreland Commission fiasco, de Blasio said, “I have been pretty consistent that I haven’t focused on the Moreland Commission. It’s not something I know a lot about. But I can tell you something about Andrew Cuomo: I’ve known him for almost 20 years. I think he’s a person of high integrity.”
He added: “I think he has a long and impressive history of being an agent of reform.”
De Blasio also joined a chorus of Cuomo surrogates in slamming Cuomo's GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, for comparing Cuomo to a “Mafia boss.”
“I was personally very offended by the comments of Mr. Astorino when he described the governor as a quote-unquote Mafia boss. I thought that was inappropriate in every way. I found it particularly inappropriate as an Italian-American. I thought it was, you know, a horrible invocation of a very horrible stereotype and didn’t help at all to help shed any light on the issues of New York State.”
Cuomo, de Blasio and Astorino are all of Italian ancestry.