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Records: Cuomo’s restoration of FDR limo costs NY $10G

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo looks inside the Packard

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo looks inside the Packard Phaeton, once used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, at the New York State Museum in Albany on March 28, 2017. Photo Credit: AP / Anna Gronewold

ALBANY — Governor and car buff Andrew M. Cuomo has spent $10,439 in state funds to restore the 1932 limousine of former Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt so Cuomo can drive the Packard Phaeton to events including the ribbon-cutting for the new Tappan Zee Bridge named after his father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo.

The black limousine purchased by Roosevelt when he was governor required overhauls of the carburetor, brakes and other repairs and replacements, including $2,343 for new tires and rims by a Connecticut auto restorer, according to the invoice obtained under the state Freedom of Information Law.

In March, Cuomo told reporters that the 12-cylinder piece of history will be restored to invoke the spirit of FDR as a man of action at parades and public events. In April, Cuomo drove the car across the rebuilt Kosciuszko Bridge in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Cuomo has said he hopes to be behind the wheel when the car is the first to cross the new Tappan Zee. In June, Cuomo persuaded the legislature to name the span after his father.

In March, Cuomo and a spokesman said they had no estimate of the cost of the repairs except for “thousands.” Cuomo’s executive chamber responded to an April 28 written request on May 25 that the governor’s office had no record of the costs.

Newsday made a records request on May 2 through the Empire State Development agency, which handles most of Cuomo’s economic development projects.

The agency on July 14 said it required more time to produce the five-page invoice because of the “complexity of the request.”

The car is expected to continue to be part of the full-time display at the state museum in Albany and occasionally show up at events as it has in recent years.

“Something like the Packard was touched by history,” said Mark Schaming, director of the state museum. “A great American drove it . . . these objects resonate with history,” and expose visitors to a taste of life decades ago and the world as Roosevelt helped shape it, he said.

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