- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2001

"Girl Crazy" was the smash movie musical of 1930 and in it, Ginger Rodgers sang Gershwins hit, "But Not For Me." Andrew Cuomo could warble it today but, while Ginger sang of love and romance, Mr. Cuomos subject could be affirmative action.
For the first time an African-American had a shot at being governor of New York State. Since Carl McCall is the highest ranking elected Democrat in the state, ordinarily he would be the natural choice for the states top spot. Theoretically, he should have had the additional clout that affirmative action brings to the choice of governor, making him a shoe-in, except for one person Andrew Cuomo.
Andrew Cuomo, and we say this with the highest possible respect, is an individual who represents the worst of American politics opportunism and the willingness to use high public office to further personal ambition. Mr. Cuomo had no qualms about yanking $60 million dollars in federal aid to the city of New York. Coincidentally, on the same trip to New York, he immediately, after announcing his slap-in- the-face to the twice-elected mayor of New York, endorsed the mayors then-adversary for the U.S. Senate, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Cuomo, who was at the time Bill Clintons secretary of housing and urban development, gave as a reason for withholding the funds that the Giuliani administration had given a short-shrift to the activist group, Housing Works. However, he nicely omitted the fact that $500,000 was missing ("stolen" might be a more appropriate word) from an earlier city grant to this group. Housing Works was never able to account for the missing $500,000. Bringing them into the picture when there is money involved is a little like asking Willie Sutton to hold your wallet while you go to the mens room.
Mr. Cuomo, like Zellig in the Woody Allen movie, popped up whenever he could get his name in the paper, and was able to jump on any bandwagon that was passing by. Because HUD spent an enormous amount yearly on crime-fighting in public housing projects, Mr. Cuomo decided that he should join in the 30 lawsuits brought against the gun manufacturers. The theory of his lawsuit was that the gun manufacturers were responsible for crime because the guns they make end up in the hands of criminals. A similar argument could be made against the manufacturers of knives, baseball bats, and other blunt instruments. Or maybe gun dealers are supposed to be more careful and determine in advance who are the potential criminals before they sell them guns. Perhaps they should not sell guns to people with tattoos, members of motorcycle gangs, or stockbrokers who dont get a hair cut.
The American Spectator ( in October 1994) pointed out that Mr. Cuomo, as a private citizen, was an attorney and co-investor in a takeover of a North Miami Beach bank, Ocean Mark Savings and Loan. The owners of Ocean Mark claimed that the Cuomo group was seeking an illegal change of control at the bank and additionally, was looting its assets. In fact, there was a claim that one member of the Cuomo group threatened to take out a razor for purposes other than giving a close shave to the owners family.
In October of 2000, Mr. Cuomo turned up as a defendant in a harassment case brought against him and HUD by Susan Gaffney, the departments own inspector general. In her complaint, she detailed more than 30 times that she was harassed and intimidated by the HUD bosses simply because she tried to do her job and get rid of fraud at the agency. Mr. Cuomo was personally implicated, and as stated in her complaint, called her at home frequently, even on weekends, to intimidate her and leaked damaging information to the media about her.
Carl McCall sadly learned that a keystone of the Democratic Partys policies affirmative action was somehow not operative when it interfered with a leading Democrats personal ambition.
It is somehow fitting that Mr. Cuomo announced his intention to run for governor on the second floor of the Kenneth Cole (his brother-in-laws) shoe store at Rockefeller Center. After all, what better place for a heel than in a shoe store. Just ask Mr. McCall.

Jackie Mason is a comedian and Raoul Felder is an attorney.

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