Why Cuomo is mad at Long Island Senate Dems


Todd Kaminsky in the Senate chambers in Albany.
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky in the Senate chambers. | Mike Groll

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is angry, and he has not been shy about letting people know.

Cuomo lashed out at state Senate Democrats this week following Amazon’s announcement that it would no longer build a new headquarters in New York City. He called out the body as a whole in a statement saying it “should be held accountable” for losing Amazon. But he singled out state Sen. Michael Gianaris – a staunch opponent of the deal whose nomination to the pivotal Public Authorities Control Board was seen as a turning point for the deal going sour, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins – who nominated Gianaris.

But Cuomo also, perhaps more perplexingly, targeted state Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Long Island Democrat, saying that Long Island lost an enormous economic opportunity and that Kaminsky “cowered when he should have shown courage.”

Kaminsky, as well as other long Island Democrats, supported the deal. And on the day the deal died, the lawmaker reportedly had concerns about the job loss. So, what was Cuomo thinking?

The governor’s broadside against Kaminsky, issued Thursday night by Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever, appeared to be in response to a press release from Kaminsky after the news broke that Amazon backed out of its deal in which he said Long Island would welcome Amazon coming there instead. And Kaminsky did not come out as loudly or publicly as the deal’s opponents before it fell apart. The sight of someone who Cuomo apparently felt did not work hard enough to keep the deal in place publicly posturing as pro-business was too much for the governor to bear.

Lever, in her statement about Kaminsky, said his invitation to Amazon was “disingenuous.” In a recent speech on Long Island, which members of the Long Island delegation attended, Cuomo defended the Amazon deal and said that he “wouldn’t want to be a senator running for re-election” if the deal fell through. Now that it has, he wanted to ensure that the Long Island Democrats are blamed for not doing more to support a deal that could have benefited their community. (Long Island Democratic freshman state Sen. Anna Kaplan issued a press release Friday bemoaning the celebrations of Amazon’s loss, calling it “devastating.” It was her first public statement on the matter aside from quotes in interviews.)

A source with knowledge of the governor’s thinking, who requested anonymity to speak freely, said that – despite rumors that the…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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