ALBANY - Some members of Gov. Cuomo's short-lived anti-corruption commission are angry and bitter.
The Daily News spoke to close to 10 sources tied to the soon-to-be-defunct panel, and a number of them denounced what they said was interference from Cuomo's office.
Others expressed frustration that Cuomo pulled the plug before the panel could finish its work.
All asked for anonymity for fear of blowback from the governor.
One commission member was so angry that he wouldn't take a call from The News, signaling through a secretary that he was afraid of what he might say.
Another source called it the worst time in her professional career.
"It was an exercise in frustration," said a third source.
The commission formed to root out corruption in state government was often divided, with the investigators on one side and Cuomo's $175,000-a-year executive director Regina Calcaterra on the other.
"There was no trust there," said the first commission source. "It was pretty widely understood that anything Regina Calcaterra knew, it would immediately be on the desks of" top Cuomo aides Larry Schwartz and Mylan Denerstein.
Denerstein was described as "measured" but Schwartz as aggressive. "I heard the word 'bully' mentioned more than once," said the source.
The panel's zeal to investigate was repeatedly curbed by the governor's office, the source said.
The commission wanted to subpoena prior ethics complaints from its ineffectual predecessor, the Legislative Ethics Commission, but was ordered not to, sources said.
And as they probed how lawmakers spend their campaign money, commissioners wanted to send subpoenas to vendors like hotels or florists to see what was purchased.
The subpoenas never went out, the sources said.
The frustration mounted when subpoenas were held back from entities with ties to Cuomo, including the powerful Real Estate Board of New York.
Another subpoena earmarked for the state Democratic Party was initially killed. And one that had actually been served on the ad firm the party used to promote Cuomo's agenda was rescinded after Cuomo aides erupted in fury, the sources said.
The Lovett News article goes on to say that Cuomo's people really tried to derail the commission after it released an "explosive preliminary report" in December - for example, the Cuomo administration deliberately let a contract with a company that provided advanced data analytics to expire just as commissioners were getting a handle on how to use it for investigations.
Then the chief investigator for the commission, Danya Perry, resigned in protest over the Cuomo administration's interference in the commission's work.
By the end of the year, Cuomo was looking for any old excuse to shut the commission down because it had become a "liability" for him - both with the work it was doing on legislators and the headaches it was giving him over his own donor connections.