Expert says Cuomo still eligible for $50K a year pension for life – even after his resignation

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NEW YORK – According to reports, a pension expert says that even after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation earlier in August due to the mounting controversies around sexual harassment allegations, he’s still eligible for a $50,000 a year pension for life.

As we previously reported here at Law Enforcement Today, Governor Cuomo announced his resignation on August 10th, which will be effective come 14 days after his announcement.

With the numerous sexual harassment claims, with also one criminal complaint having been filed with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office earlier in August, Governor Cuomo said in his August 10th address that his motivation to resign was to avoid government “wasting energy on distraction.”

Recently, the New York Post spoke with pension expert Tim Hoefer, president and CEO of the Empire Center for Public Policy, where Hoefer explained that between Cuomo’s 15 years of state service due to his 11 years as governor and four years as attorney general, he’s eligible for roughly a $50,000 a year pension for the remainder of his life:

“So if you’re wondering, without a felony conviction and several other steps, Cuomo would be eligible for his full pension, at taxpayer expense, for the rest of his life.”

If Governor Cuomo were convicted of a felony, then his pension could be at stake. According to a 2011 law signed by Governor Cuomo himself dubbed the “Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011”, public officials that are convicted of a federal offense “may have their pensions reduced or forfeited in a new civil forfeiture proceeding.”

However, that of course requires a felony conviction and a subsequent proceeding – Governor Cuomo’s mere resigning amid a scandal wouldn’t come close to meeting that bar.

The news of Governor Cuomo’s pension is not resonating well with some of his staunchest critics. Tracey Alvino, whose father was infected with COVID-19 in a Long Island nursing home and later passed away, said she’d only support Cuomo having his pension if he donated it to those harmed during his time in office:

“The only reason I would support Cuomo getting a pension is if he donated it to the harassment victims or the nursing home families whose loved ones died from COVID because of his policies.”

Even if Governor Cuomo didn’t resign and was instead successfully impeached and removed from office, even that scenario wouldn’t create a situation where his pension would be at stake. Erica Vladimer of the Sexual Harassment Working Group believes that is something that needs to be addressed via legislation:

“We need to re-evaluate laws that don’t hold elected officials accountable when they abuse their power.”

“I would support a law denying a pension to a public official who is impeached. I still think Cuomo absolutely should be impeached. Resigning is not accountability.”

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As mentioned earlier, we at Law Enforcement Today shared the news of Governor Cuomo’s resignation as it was first breaking. Here’s that previous report containing his address to the press and reactions from members of his own party. 

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ALBANY, NY – On August 10th, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he will resign from office, following the damaging report from the state’s attorney general that was released earlier in August that alleged multiple instances of sexual harassment committed by Cuomo.

During an address delivered by Cuomo on August 10th, Governor Cuomo said that his resignation “will be effective in 14 days”, saying that Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will take over as Governor of New York following his exit from office:

“Government operations and wasting energy on distraction is the last thing government should be. I cannot be the cause. New York tough means New York loving. And I love New York and I love you. Everything I have ever done has been motivated by that love and I would never want to be unhelpful in any way.”

“And I think, given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing, and therefore that is what I’ll do, because I work for you, and doing the right thing, is doing the right thing for you. Because, as we say, ‘It’s not about me, it’s about we’.”

During Cuomo’s televised address, where he took no questions, he claimed that his resignation was not meant to provide fodder that he crossed any sort of boundary that would warrant a forcible removal from office – but framed his resignation as being one to avoid distractions from government obligations and excessive spending of taxpayer money on the matter.

Attorney General Letitia James took to Twitter to comment on Cuomo’s resignation, writing the following:

“Today, closes a sad chapter for all of New York, but it’s an important step towards justice.”

“I thank Governor Cuomo for his contributions to our state. The ascension of our Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, will help New York enter a new day. We must continue to build on the progress already made and improve the lives of New Yorkers in every corner of the state.”

The reactions to Cuomo’s announced resignation have been met largely with support, even by members of his own political party.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio noted the following about the news:

“Make no mistake, this is the result of survivors bravely telling their stories. It was past time for Andrew Cuomo to resign and it’s for the good of all New York.”

New York City Mayoral candidate Eric Adams also chimed in on the matter, saying:

“The governor’s resignation was necessary for New York State to move forward and continue the critical work of our recovery. I look forward to working in partnership with Lieutenant Governor Hochul on the key issues affecting our city and region at this pivotal moment.”

Cuomo’s upcoming replacement, Lieutenant Governor Hochul, said she agrees with Cuomo stepping down:

“I agree with Governor Cuomo’s decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers. As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor.”

Democratic New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie called Cuomo’s resignation a “tragic chapter” in New York’s history, but called it the “right decision”:

“This has been a tragic chapter in our state’s history. Governor Cuomo’s resignation is the right decision. The brave women who stepped forward were heard. Everyone deserves to work in a harassment free environment. I have spoken with Lieutenant Governor Hochul and I look forward to working with her.”

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Awkward timing: Cuomo signed sexual harassment law one month before incident with state trooper

 

ALBANY, NY – In a rather interesting update regarding a previous report we shared here at Law Enforcement Today pertaining to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s alleged sexual harassment exploits that victimized a state trooper, it turns out he’d signed “sweeping” workplace sexual harassment legislation one month prior to the incident allegedly involving the state trooper.

As we previously reported here at Law Enforcement today, among the victims of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s alleged sexual misconduct is a state trooper that was reportedly assigned to his protective detail.

Officials from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office claim that the state trooper was inappropriately touched twice by the New York governor.

The allegations surrounding Governor Cuomo’s alleged sexual misconduct are becoming all the more fleshed out, with now a state trooper having claimed that the governor inappropriately touched her on two different occasions while she was assigned to his protective detail.

A spokesperson for AG James’ office stated the following at a news conference regarding the investigation into Governor Cuomo and this unnamed state trooper:

“In an elevator, while standing behind the trooper, he ran his finger from her neck down her spine and said, ‘Hey you’. Another time, she was standing holding the door open for the governor, as he passed, he took his open hand and ran it across her stomach from her belly button to the hip where she keeps her gun.

She told us that she felt completely violated to have the governor touch her, as she put it, ‘between her chest and her privates’.”

Apparently, this incident involving the trooper holding the door open for Governor Cuomo occurred in September of 2019 – which happens to have been roughly one month after Governor Cuomo signed into law a bill that eliminated restrictions which noted that harassment in the workplace had to be “severe and pervasive” in order for it to be legally actionable.

On August 12th of 2019, Governor Cuomo signed Senate Bill S6577, which was reportedly part of his broader agenda coined as the “Governor’s 2019 Women’s Justice Agenda” – which SB S6577 strengthened New York’s anti-discrimination laws and also allowed employees to file sexual harassment claims up to three years after a workplace incident.

Also, one of the key benefits of the law he signed in 2019 was that there was no longer any requirement that sexual harassment needed to be “severe and pervasive” in order for victims to seek justice in their matters.

When Governor Cuomo signed the law, he delivered the following statement on the matter:

“There has been an ongoing, persistent culture of sexual harassment, assault and discrimination in the workplace, and now it is time to act.”

“By ending the absurd legal standard that sexual harassment in the workplace needs to be ‘severe or pervasive’ and making it easier for workplace sexual harassment claims to be brought forward, we are sending a strong message that time is up on sexual harassment in the workplace and setting the standard of equality for women.”

Needless to say, the timing between Governor Cuomo signing the law and delivering this statement, only to allegedly inappropriately touch a state trooper on his protective detail one month later, is ironic.

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