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State to split use of $163M from JPMorgan

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right, and New

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman talk during a news conference at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. (July 2, 2013) Credit: AP

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman Monday agreed on how to divide $163 million recovered so far from a JPMorgan Chase settlement stemming from a Schneiderman investigation.

But the fate of the balance of the $631 million bank settlement wasn't clear.

"The attorney general looks forward to using his discretion to allocate funds from this and future bank settlements," Schneiderman spokesman Matt Mittenthal said in a statement.

Cuomo addressed only the money in hand, which he wants to place in the general fund.

"This agreement on the first year of funding for the JPMorgan settlement will provide help for those who have been hurt most by the housing crisis," said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi. "It further ensures that the transparent disbursement process that has been followed by past attorneys general remains in place."

Cuomo had sought a bigger share of the settlement in an effort to pay for tax cuts and an increase in school aid. Schneiderman negotiated the settlement, directing most of the cash to programs for victims of the mortgage crisis dating to 2008.

Political experts were divided about the significance of the election-year disagreement.

"I think the public squabbling is more about turf and responsibility than about electoral politics," said Steven Greenberg of the Siena College poll.

"There ain't no kumbaya there," said political science professor Doug Muzzio of Baruch College. "It seems to be institutional conflict-plus."

Hank Sheinkopf, a national political adviser who worked in the Clinton White House, said that ultimately a governor and an attorney general, who by law acts at times as the governor's lawyer, work together. "The governor had staked out a territory and he asserted himself . . . but they have to do business," he said.

Schneiderman and Cuomo have operated in different spheres in Albany for years.

In 2010, Cuomo led the Democratic ticket running for governor and favored Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice in the Democratic primary to succeed him as attorney general. Cuomo didn't endorse Schneiderman, the primary's winner, until days before the general election in a tight race.

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