Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Andrew Cuomo's Gonna Love This Unauthorized Biography Coming Out Next Week

Michael Shnayerson's biography of Andrew Cuomo (The Contender) is coming out later this month and it promises to be a fun read.

So far we've learned from excerpts of the book that Cuomo may hate Attorney General Eric Schneiderman because Cuomo may have been schtupping Schneiderman's ex-wife and saw Schneiderman (who was still friendly with the ex-wife) as a rival.

And we've learned that Cuomo so much despised the family of his ex-wife Kerry Kennedy that he may have purposely played "Sympathy for the Devil" at his informal launch for governor in 2002 in order to embarrass them:

The “Cuomolot” union was on the skids by the time the ambitious son of Queens geared up for his abortive 2002 run for governor. Still, Kennedy agreed to stick by him during the campaign.

There was no shortage of tense and painful moments: At the Manhattan party considered the informal launch of Cuomo’s campaign, the Kennedy clan was aghast to hear “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones played at “rousing volume,” Shnayerson writes.

The Kennedys, who had lost two of their loved ones to assassins’ bullets, listened, “disbelieving,” Shnayerson details, as the sound system spewed Mick Jagger’s famous lines: “I shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys?’ / When after all, it was you and me.” They wondered if Cuomo had chosen to play it, the bio says.

The book also puts forth the idea that Cuomo may have pushed to have his ex-wife prosecuted after she was arrested for "drugged driving":

“The Contender” suggests the bad blood between Cuomo and his ex continued to manifest itself long after the divorce, including when Kennedy got pulled over for drugged driving in 2012 and was prosecuted by Westchester County DA Janet DiFiore, described as a Cuomo ally.

Although Kennedy was acquitted in the incident, in which she said she’d gotten behind the wheel after accidentally taking Ambien instead of her thyroid meds, Shnayerson quotes Kennedy’s brother, Douglas, as opining that Cuomo would spend the rest of his days “trying to take her down.”

No wonder Cuomo allegedly tried to get Shanyerson to write with him instead of writing on his own.

The book is coming out on March 31 (the release was delayed a bit) and that's unfortunate, because it's coming right at the budget deadline.

The portrait that is going to emerge from this unauthorized Cuomo biography is that he's even a bigger sociopath than has been so far publicized and he's going to be on the defensive for awhile after the release.

This book is certainly not going to help him politically.

For example, in the battle over ethics reform, Senate Republicans are trying to include disclosure of partners of both legislators and statewide politicians as part of the reform package.

This is aimed at Cuomo's paramour, Sandra Lee, who has some business deals with companies that lobby the state government on issues but doesn't have to disclose her income or business dealings publicly.

In pushing back against that proposed Senate reform, Cuomo flacks have twice suggested that if the Senate wants to add girlfriends to the ethics reform package, Cuomo will happily add the girlfriends of married legislators to the mix.

The Shnayerson book looks like it's going to detail multiple instances of Cuomo's own extra-martial dalliances so the next time Cuomo's flacks attempt to pushback on the Senate's Sandra Lee proposal, they're going to have to find a different insult - it's not going to work to insult Senate pols as adulterers when Andy Cuomo himself is concurrently being revealed as an adulterer.

In any case, this unauthorized biography is just one more gift coming if you're a Cuomo-hater in a year of gifts for Cuomo-haters.

First, Preet Bharara has seemingly thrown Cuomo off his game and has Sheriff Andy rocking on his heels over the Moreland mess and ethics reform.

Next, Cuomo's been slammed by teachers over his education proposals and his poll numbers are dropping.

Finally, there's the battle between some pols in Albany (particularly Senate Republicans) and Cuomo that has seen Cuomo have to fight for what he wants rather than just have everybody cave to him.

Now we have the Cuomo biography coming out that looks like it's going to expose Cuomo as the sociopath he is and put him further on the defensive even more than he already is.

Good times these days every time you google the name "Andrew Cuomo" and the word "news".


  1. RBE,

    I have agreed with almost all your recent analysis about the poisonous web of policy, political and personal deceit and betrayal that Andrew Cuomo has spun during his governorship.

    However, I must take exception to your reporting which links to Richard Johnson's Page 6 claim, based on an excerpt from the Shnayerson biography which no one has seen yet besides a lucky few reviewers and helpful PR shills like Johnson, that the heart of the Cuomo/Schneiderman hate-fest results from some "affair" that Jennifer Cunningham, Schneiderman's ex-wife, may have had with Cuomo.

    I worked closely with Jennifer Cunningham in the mid/late 1990s and have kept periodically in touch with her since. I have no idea what Jennifer does or does not do in her private life. But in her public life, Jennifer Cunningham is one of the most powerful and intelligent women in New York State politics and government, with all the possibility for conflicts of interest and divided loyalties that may come with that. We never would rely on the Post for useful or accurate information about education policy. Fred Dicker occasionally stumbles onto something interesting or important about NYS politics and politicians but I know for a fact that Dicker has no problem about "making s...t up" when it serves his purposes. I would hope that we might keep the same skeptical posture about anything that pops up on Page 6, spewed by Richard Johnson.

    Perhaps Shnayerson makes a compelling case for his claim but I'd like to read it first, myself, for context and evaluation.

    Until then, I urge everyone and anyone to reserve judgment about Jennifer Cunningham. After all, Tom DiNapoli, poor Shelly Silver, Carl Heastie, most of the Assembly, maybe even Randi Weingarten now that the scales have fallen from her eyes (and probably even Dean Skelos when he's inside his cone-of-silence)--and certainly Eric Schneiderman--have plenty of reasons to hate Andrew Cuomo without recourse to speculations about their personal lives.

    1. Harris,

      Three points to make:

      First, I don't report anything. I'm not a reporter, I'm a teacher with a blog.

      Second, there have been two detailed leaks about the Shnayerson book, one from Johnson at the Post, one from Katz at the DN. I mentioned both in my post.

      I don't say whether these things are true or not.

      Frankly, I don't care whether they are or aren't true.

      What I do care about is that they're in this book and they will put Cuomo further on the defensive at the exact time he's trying to put other Albany pols on the defensive.

      Cuomo plays a dangerous game, having his flying monkey minions threaten to expose lawmakers who dally outside their marriages while having his own skeletons.

      Finally, as for Cunningham, she's a professional political handler - she can take care of herself, as she did in the Johnson Post piece by dismissing the Cuomo rumor.

      Believe me, she's not losing any sleep because some little ed blog linked to a Page Six piece about Cuomo's rumored relationship with her.

    2. Quite right. You're a blogger, not a reporter, and there are entirely different expectations for what each do. Quite right. She's not losing any sleep over what any blogger anywhere links to. I just wanted to put a word of caution out there and wish I'd written my comment differently in retrospect.

    3. No worries, Harris. I understand why you wrote the comment the way you did.

      I have a feeling Jennifer Cunningham isn't going to be the only bystander who gets dragged into the Cuomo mud when all the details from the book are finally known.

      But Shnayerson has a good reputation as a journalist, so he's probably not throwing spaghetti at the walls to see what sticks just to sell a few extra books.

  2. Anyone who has had a relationship with Cuomo needs to get screened for rabies.

  3. Word on the street is that as soon as the budget process is complete, Preet will be making arrests along with Schneiderman/DiNapoli. Similar to the US Justice Department's typical policy of not arresting/indicting politicians prior to an election, Preet supposedly doesn't want to interfere with the budget process and create a void among the 3 men in a room. It's entirely possible that two of the three are arrested, along with several other members of the state legislature.

    1. Yes, have read something similar. Skelos in particular is worried. Supposed to be related to Skelos' son. That is supposedly why Skelos and GOP Senators are so pissed off at Cuomo over the one way ethics deal. They're on edge over what Bharara's going to do. Was planning on blogging this next.

    2. Not just Skelos, but his heir apparent, Senator John Flanagan, too. Read in the local paper that Flanagan amended several years worth of financial disclosure forms (as did Skelos) in the past two months. Lots of other rumors swirling about Flanagan, too.

    3. Yes, the amending of financial disclosure forms is usually a good sign that something is amiss. Would be great to see Flanagan go down too. We'll see.

  4. The op-ed by Cuomo that has been running on the NY Post website on Sunday night and that will be in Monday's paper is pathetic. Once again he distorts the issues, but at least this time he is writing about the Dream Act and the ETC. Interesting that he never mentions the attack on teachers that he has been prosecuting. Is he finally in retreat? Does he see that as a lost cause and the Dream Act and ETC as winnable; at least politically if not in actuality?

    1. Might have been part of the ethics deal w/ Assembly. There is a rumor that was the deal. They cave on ethics, he caves on ed. I dunno, it's just a rumor. And even if it was true, not sure he would hold up his end of the bargain.