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Cuomo urges Astorino to release tax returns

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, left, on

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, left, on Jan. 8, 2014 in Albany, and his Republican opponent Rob Astorino on March 7, 2014 in Albany. Credit: AP / Mike Groll

ALBANY -- Democrat Andrew M. Cuomo Monday pressured Republican Rob Astorino to make his tax returns public and Astorino said he would, but not without criticizing the governor and raising the issue of a lack of transparency in Albany.

Cuomo senior adviser Peter Kauffmann urged the Republican candidate for governor to release his tax returns as part of a tradition for candidates for statewide office. "This basic measure of transparency has been standard for decades," he said.

Cuomo's campaign wanted Astorino to release five years of income tax returns to detail how he has earned more than $30,000 in outside income from media companies. Astorino, the Westchester County executive, has been a paid consultant to a media company, Town Square Media of Connecticut. Cuomo's campaign said Astorino, a former broadcaster, also has earned a few thousand dollars from Clear Channel Communications, a nationwide broadcast firm.

In a tweet, Kauffmann said if Astorino didn't release five years of tax returns, "then he's obviously hiding something."

Astorino said he will provide his most recent tax return. Astorino said he also will make public five years of financial disclosures he had to file with Westchester. Most candidates for statewide office provide one year.

"We are happy to make the county executive's tax return available," Astorino spokeswoman Jessica Proud said. "But since the governor seems to have suddenly discovered an interest in transparency, we're calling on him to release the building permits obtained for renovations to his home and allow the tax assessor inside to conduct a proper revaluation."

She referred to a local issue this year in which a town inspector was denied access to the home Cuomo shares with Food Network star and author Sandra Lee in Westchester County. The tax bill was later increased, based on an exterior view.

Cuomo's top aides said only decorative changes were made.

Astorino was on Long Island Monday, addressing about 20 Babylon, Brookhaven and Huntington town Republican leaders at an Italian restaurant in Babylon Village.

He said he is "in a position to win," describing Cuomo's 62-34 percent victory over Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout in the Democratic primary as a "rebuke" to the governor.

At the end of the campaign, Astorinio said, "I'll be able to claim Nassau and Suffolk residency" because of the amount of time he plans to spend campaigning here.

With David Schwartz

State & Region