ALBANY—In the final days of this year's legislative session, Governor Andrew Cuomo left the Capitol, boarded a state helicopter and flew to Manhattan, where he spent an hour talking about education policy with a room full of billionaires, schedule records show.
It's not clear what Cuomo said during a panel discussion at the Forbes 400 Philanthropy Summit.
An administration spokesman declined to offer details on the governor's remarks and a Forbes spokeswoman demurred, saying the summit was closed to the press.
Cuomo's schedules show he had three preparatory meetings with top staffers—including press aides Melissa DeRosa and Matt Wing as well as Ian Rosenblum, a deputy secretary for education policy—in the run-up to the June 17 discussion. Rosenblum, who left the administration over the summer, accompanied the governor.
Cuomo's office did not announce that he was attending the Forbes event on the day it happened, but it was included on a schedule posted online this week.
The Forbes press release touted the presence of Blackstone co-founders Stephen Schwarzman and Peter G. Peterson, Warren Buffett, junk bond king Michael Milken, Leon Black, Jim Breyer and Paul Tudor Jones, who as head of the Robin Hood Foundation has been a major advocate of charter schools. (He gave Cuomo a $25,000 campaign contribution in 2013.)
Cuomo discussed his support of charters, according to a person present for the Forbes conversation. An administration official said the governor discussed his record.
Forbes, the magazine, is expected to detail the summit in its November issue, which is devoted to philanthropy.
Couple the secret meeting with the billionaires to talk about education policy and charter schools along with his comments this week that he plans to "break" the public school "monopoly" by adding many more charter schools around the state and the obvious face that he has not fulfilled his promise to the Working Families Party to work for a Democratic taleover of the State Senate and what you see for the next four years is:
1. A governor who plans a full-on assault against the public school system
2. A governor who plans to either increase or completely lift the charter cap
3. A governor who plans to redo his teacher evaluation system to add "real sanctions" so that more teachers will be declared "ineffective" and fired.
4. A State Senate that will likely be run by the GOP/IDC and give Cuomo whatever he wants on education policy
That's what's coming, folks.
If the State Senate had swung to Democratic control, there's no guarantee that stuff wouldn't have happened anyway.
But you can be sure with a GOP/IDC-led State Senate, it certainly will.
That's why Cuomo hasn't lifted a finger to fulfill his promise to the WFP to push for a Democratic-controlled State Senate.
He wants it that way - as do his billionaire buddies at the Forbes meetings.