Ortt says governor ‘must resign’ for repeatedly breaking public’s trust

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2021 at 1:46 pm

State Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo “must resign” for repeatedly breaking the public’s trust, demonstrating “toxic leadership qualities,” and for irreparably compromising his dealings with his co-equal partners in the Legislature.

Rob Ortt

Ortt, who is the leader of the Republican conference in the State Senate, issued a statement today after the governor faces a second accusation of sexual harassment from a former aide, who is 25.

Ortt issued this statement:

“For months, our conference has been calling for an independent, top to bottom investigation of Governor Cuomo and his administration because of their disturbing disinformation efforts regarding Covid-19 in our nursing homes.

“This past week, when additional disturbing information came to light regarding allegations of sexual harassment made against the Governor, members of our conference called on Attorney General Letitia James to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate. With more women coming forward to share their experience, we are reiterating that call and demanding an independent, through investigation that must commence immediately.

“This is the story of a failing administration. Week by week, Governor Cuomo’s credibility has fallen apart as additional chapters of this saga unfold. We learned recently about the criminal investigation into this administration being conducted by the Department of Justice related to a cover-up of nursing home deaths.

“This news was followed by damning revelations from current and former members of the Legislature revealing a pattern of bullying, arm twisting and threats by the Governor and his team. Now, this administration faces calls for independent investigations into multiple harassment allegations by former members of the Governor’s staff.

“This past week’s disturbing details on sexual harassment allegedly committed by the Governor against two brave women further expose the toxic leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“This is an exceedingly difficult time in state government. Leaders in Albany must not only lead our state through  historic global pandemic, but negotiate a state budget in the midst of a fiscal and economic crisis. These tasks require leaders who have the trust of the public and level of focus to tackle the difficult tasks ahead. At this time, Governor Cuomo provides neither.

“I have been vocal in calling for end to the Governor’s emergency powers, something I still strongly support. But in light of the news of the past few weeks, it has become increasingly clear that does not go far enough.

“The Governor has repeatedly broken the public’s trust, he has demonstrated toxic leadership qualities, and he is irreparably compromised in his dealings with his co-equal partners in the Legislature. For these reasons, I believe Governor Cuomo must resign.”

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a Democrat, said the allegations of sexual harassment by Cuomo “are very serious.” On Twitter this afternoon, he urged Attorney General Letitia James to use subpoena power to do “a thorough and independent investigation.”

Beth Garvey, special counsel and senior advisor to the governor, said the Governor’s Office wants a review of the sexual harassment claims made against the Governor “to be done in a manner beyond reproach.”

The Governor’s Office is asking the Attorney General of New York State and the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals to jointly select an independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation to conduct a thorough review of the matter and issue a public report, Garvey said in a statement.

“The work product will be solely controlled by that independent lawyer personally selected by the Attorney General and Chief Judge,” Garvey said. “All members of the Governor’s Office will cooperate fully. We will have no further comment until the report is issued.”