Gov. Andrew Cuomo raises $2.5 million as sex-harassment probe progresses

Gov. Andrew Cuomo raises $2.5 million as sex-harassment probe progresses

But his approval ratings dropped significantly following a report by state Attorney General Letitia James accusing his administration of undercounting nursing home deaths during the pandemic. That was followed by harassment claims by current and former female aides and calls for his resignation by dozens of lawmakers. James’ office subsequently began an investigation into the sex-harassment claims.

Investigators working for the attorney general’s office are expected to interview Cuomo in the sex-harassment probe Saturday, according to a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t able to speak publicly about the investigation. Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi declined to comment on the scheduled interview, which was reported earlier by The New York Times. Azzopardi accused James of a politically motivated leak. James’ office declined to comment.

Additional state and federal inquiries are looking into accusations that Cuomo misused state funds for personal gain and that he provided relatives with coronavirus testing before it was widely available. He has denied all the claims.

Cuomo hasn’t publicly affirmed his pre-scandal declaration that he would run for a fourth term as governor, a feat that eluded his father, Mario Cuomo. But he has begun raising money and reaching out to supporters.

His top donors last year included former Alphabet Chief Executive Eric Schmidt and hedge fund manager Larry Robbins. Both donated $69,700 last July. Other five-figure donations came from real estate executives Aby Rosen, Todd Rechler, Robert Speyer, Scott Malkin, Larry Silverstein and Jeff Blau, as well as hedge fund managers Paul Tudor Jones and Steve Cohen.

As allegations of misconduct against Cuomo have mounted, many of his donors have stuck with him. Rosen donated $20,000 late last month. Rechler gave $9,600 last month. Lisa Blau, wife of Jeff Blau, gave $25,000. Cuomo also got big donations from real estate mogul Richard LeFrak, who gave $33,300, and Red Apple founder John Catsimatidis, who chipped in $25,000.

The disclosure, one of two required annually in an off-cycle year, reflects what supporters have said privately for months: Despite the allegations against Cuomo, donors will stick by the governor as long as the inquiries don’t reveal any incriminating information.

Some of his biggest donors have yet to contribute this year.

Donors have stuck by Cuomo for the same reason people continue to support him in the polls, said Jay Jacobs, chairman of the state Democratic Party.

“Allegations are just that: allegations,” Jacobs said last month. “They need to be taken seriously and respected, but they are not necessarily the end of the story. The governor has every right to have his view heard.”

Cuomo last month held a $10,000-per-head event at Rockefeller Center that netted him more than $1 million. Days later he held a smaller, $25-per-person virtual event.

A Siena College poll this month found most New York voters would prefer someone besides Cuomo be elected governor next year. About 35% of registered voters said they would re-elect him, but 56% said they would like to see a different candidate.

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