Andrew Cuomo’s disappearance and what it means for real estate

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Getty, iStock)

Governor Andrew Cuomo has already been praised for his ability to see several steps forward. These news clips are hard to find now, buried under the search results of her sexual harassment scandal. How, then, did he calculate so badly?

The governor has finished. The final nail in the coffin was the interview with victim Brittany Commisso on “CBS This Morning” Monday. Impeachment requires only 76 of the 150 votes in the assembly, but a tally today would likely be unanimous, or nearly so. Conviction by state senators and court of appeals judges requires 46 out of 69 votes – also a given. Still, Cuomo didn’t see it coming.

Cuomo’s foresight was initially overstated, judging by the fact that he had to shut down his own Moreland Commission when she began investigating his donors. But this time his vision was clouded not only by pride, but by what he saw as a lack of satisfactory alternatives to fight.

All he ever wanted to be was governor of New York, and longer than his father. Resignation was not an acceptable option. As a result, Cuomo put his constituents, party, staff, family and victims through five months of hell, though it’s not clear how much other than him means to him. .

For key associates who have defiled themselves in an unsuccessful attempt to protect it, the damage to their careers is permanent. And Cuomo himself is much worse than he would have been if he had quit and apologized profusely from the start. His reputation is in tatters and he now faces potential criminal charges.

It was clear to me by the end of February that Cuomo would not survive (see “Five Reasons Cuomo Is Doomed”). He held up longer than I expected because I underestimated his selfishness.

Cuomo was skillful but overrated as a governor. He looked brilliant for a few years after his election in 2010, in part because the bar was so low: his predecessor, David Paterson, had run a dysfunctional office, and the governor before that, Eliot Spitzer, had fallen into a prostitution scandal. after alienating most of New York’s political establishment. But Cuomo passed same-sex marriage, a gun safety law, a property tax cap, Medicaid reform, and other measures that previously seemed impossible.

The business community, and real estate in particular, have responded by contributing heavily to Cuomo’s campaign and independent fundraising efforts to advance his agenda. Employers like a governor who can get things done. But her relationship with real estate deteriorated long before the governor’s serial sexual harassment came to light.

In 2015, Cuomo sabotaged an agreement between the New York Real Estate Board and Mayor Bill de Blasio to reform 421a, the massive property tax rebate for multi-family developments. Cuomo demanded that the current salary be part of the program for the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York City. Then he left it to REBNY and the task force to sort things out, which resulted in the program expiring. Filings for new residential projects have been practically frozen for over a year.

In 2019, Cuomo once again left the playing field, for reasons no one has ever quite understood, and let left-wing lawmakers pass a rent bill that ensures housing stock at stabilized rent will deteriorate steadily if it is not vacant. Some longtime family owners have had no choice but to sell their buildings.

This year, Cuomo half-heartedly tried to solve a big problem with New York City’s carbon emissions cap. Once again he failed in the real estate business.

I once asked the governor why he never tried to abolish the inept “scaffolding law”, which increases insurance costs for construction and infrastructure projects statewide without make them more secure. He had a good record of meeting his priorities in each legislative session; why not make the law of scaffolding just one? He said he only ranks about eighth on the to-do list, and furthermore, trial lawyers (who love the status) are Albany’s most powerful lobby.

The governor was such a control freak that matters important to real estate and other industries were often stuck on the second floor (that’s Albany-speaking for the governor’s office). Cuomo’s priority elements were done, but everything else took forever or just didn’t happen. Agency heads were afraid to act alone. And the staff were less inspired by Cuomo than they were afraid of him.

His infamous feuds with de Blasio and others also set New Yorkers back. Who doesn’t think we’d be better off if a jealous Cuomo hadn’t chased Andy Byford aka “Train Daddy” back to England?

In addition to leaving a litany of female victims, Cuomo also covered Covid deaths in nursing homes so that he could raise a $ 5 million advance on a book he had members of the co-write. government personnel during their “free time”. The editorial board, formerly pro-Cuomo Albany Times Union, was so outraged that it called on Cuomo to step down, while supporting his call to wait for investigators’ report on the harassment.

Despite all of these scandals, in addition to bad government and its inability to support real estate, REBNY never called for Cuomo’s ouster. Even after an independent investigative report forced the political establishment to admit the man was no longer fit to rule, the trade group simply called for a “quick impeachment process.” He was not really calling for impeachment, let alone resignation.

Neither does the Building and Construction Trades Council, headed by Gary LaBarbera. He just said the process should “unfold”. One wonders what it would take in the #MeToo era for construction workers to stand up for victims of sexual harassment.

One real estate figure who did well was casino developer Jeff Gural, who said he regretted giving in to Cuomo’s pressure to donate money. “I can’t wait for him to step down,” Gural said The real deal Last week. “I think he’s a tyrant.” The construction services workers union 32BJ SEIU, followed by the Hotel Trades Council, also demanded Cuomo resign, as did the Community Housing Improvement Program, a group of homeowners.

But overall, the real estate industry has remained silent in the face of overwhelming evidence that the governor was unfit to serve. Many executives even wrote checks as Cuomo raised $ 2.5 million in six months for a 2022 re-election campaign that will never happen.

The industry missed an opportunity to gain a moral reputation that it surely could use, given its bad reputation with many New Yorkers. Still, he will take advantage of Cuomo’s end. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who will need to raise funds immediately to run in 2022, will give real estate companies a huge opening to win favor.

And she might also be better at ruling than Cuomo. Looking back, in fact, it shouldn’t be too difficult. Not too hard at all.

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