The acting head of New York’s top banking regulator and the agency’s chief spokesman are resigning from the office amid the agency’s battle with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration over the regulator’s independence, according to people familiar with the matter.
Anthony Albanese, the acting superintendent of the Department of Financial Services, and spokesman Matthew Anderson informed the governor’s office in recent weeks that they would resign, these people said.
There have been growing tensions between DFS and the office of Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, since Mr. Albanese’s predecessor, Benjamin Lawsky, left the agency in June to start his own legal and consulting firm, the people said.
Mr. Cuomo’s staff has sought in recent months to exert more control over the regulator, which has established itself as a powerful financial watchdog and brought billions of dollars in penalties to New York state’s general fund. The regulator was also unpopular on Wall Street, where some executives felt the department at times overreached on Mr. Lawsky’s watch.
Since Mr. Lawsky’s departure, Mr. Cuomo’s assistant secretary for financial services, Brendan Fitzgerald, has instructed the department that any subpoenas it intends to issue must first be approved by himself or by the governor’s office, these people said.
That practice wasn’t standard during Mr. Lawsky’s tenure, according to these people, and it provoked a backlash among department officials who felt the governor’s office was exerting too much control over the agency’s investigations. In recent months, Mr. Albanese resisted the order from the governor’s office, these people said.
Cuomo claims his Buffalo Billion Project contracts that are under scrutiny by the US attorney were handled without his office taking part in the decisions.
Yet he meddles in everything else he can - including forcing DFS to have subpoenas approved by his office first.
Sure the Buffalo Billion contracts were handled without your office approval, Andy.