News Coverage on Public Information
Some questioning Governor Cuomo’s archivesZack Fink
NEW YORK STATE -- In May, the Albany Times Union began looking through documents from Andrew Cuomo's term as state Attorney General. Reporters found a memo revealing interviews that were done by Cuomo's investigators in the Attorney General's office during the so-called "Choppergate scandal."
The scandal involved accusations that then Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno used a state helicopter for non-state business. In a report, Cuomo's office concluded that he did not.
"At the time Andrew's report ginned up some overwrought response. It got things wrong. And this memo makes that clear," said Eliot Spitzer.
The gubernatorial administration of Cuomo says the memo in question should not have been made available to the public. They claim it shows confidential witnesses who were interviewed when the scandal was investigated.
Bruce Gyory is mentioned in the memo as one of the witnesses Cuomo's investigators interviewed. He says he's fine with its release.
Gyory said, "It basically is a recitation of what was in the report. I saw nothing new from my read of the executive summary."
According to the Governor, the state archives made a mistake when it released the memo. But a spokesman for the archives shot back, saying "The memo in question was in a box received from the Cuomo Administration that was mislabeled as being open to the public."
Spitzer, who also served as Attorney General says the Governor has no authority to determine which papers are made public.
"It is no longer his purview to go back in and review papers that are the AG's papers after he has left that office. I was Attorney General for eight years. We turned over a thousand boxes of documents. I could no longer go into those archives and start pulling things out than he should," Spitzer said.
Critics say this is another attempt by Coumo to shroud what should be public.
"The latest brouhaha over the archive change is really part of a culture that this governor, who vowed to transform Albany culture from one of secretiveness to one of transparency, has not done," said John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany.
Reached by telephone, John McArdle, a spokesman for Senator Bruno, says the memo vindicates Bruno and he agrees with the Cuomo administration that its release violates confidentiality.