NY Daily News
A Queens assemblyman is accusing Gov. Cuomo of turning a blind eye to the state’s growing homeless problem while deep-pocketed donors linked to shelters with state and city contracts fill his campaign coffers with cash.
Cuomo has raked in more than three-quarters of a million dollars in donations over the past decade from contributors with ties to the shelter system, according to Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens).
Board members associated with various homeless shelters have gifted the governor $322,972.50, while donors associated with Help USA, a shelter service provider founded by the governor and chaired by his sister, Maria Cuomo Cole, have ponied up $451,285 in donations.
“Andrew Cuomo is profiting from the growth in homelessness," Hevesi told the Daily News. "He has taken three-quarters of a million dollars from people who have a financial interest in having more people become homeless.”
Cuomo adviser Rich Azzopardi, pointing out that the sum is less than 1% of the $118 million raised by his boss in recent years, said Hevesi’s criticisms are nothing more than the smoldering remnants of a grudge against the governor for locking up his father, former state comptroller Alan Hevesi, over a pension fund scandal more than a decade ago.
“As the governor always says, anyone who can be influenced by a single dollar has no place in government and that is as true now as it was the day when Attorney General Cuomo busted Hevesi’s father for selling the pension fund to the highest bidder," Azzopardi said. “The assemblyman’s conspiracy theories are sad, his family vendetta is pathetic and he should be doing better by his constituents.”
Hevesi countered that his only concern is the steady increase in the number of people, especially children, struggling with homelessness under Cuomo’s watch.
Each year, about 250,000 New Yorkers find themselves faced with the prospect of spending a night in a shelter at some point. The majority, three out of five, are school-aged children, according to the Assembly Committee on Social Services, which Hevesi helms.Since 2011, the number of school-age kids experiencing homelessness in the Empire State has increased 69% to 152,839 students.