Cuomo Defends Handling of Corruption Probe

FREEPORT, N.Y. (AP) -

Gov. Andrew Cuomo traveled to Long Island on Wednesday to promise help for homeowners after Superstorm Sandy and ended up dealing with a tempest of a different kind: allegations that his office meddled with an anti-corruption commission.

The Democrat again defended his handling of the commission, pointing to a statement from one of the leaders that there was no interference. A top Cuomo aide pressured the commission not to investigate groups linked to Cuomo. The request was ultimately denied — which Cuomo says proves the commission was independent.

“He (the commission’s co-chair) said he made all the decisions and they made them independently,” Cuomo said. “Period. So that’s that.”

Cuomo and his staff appear eager to change the subject after a week of questions about the commission, which he created in 2013 and abruptly disbanded this spring. On Wednesday, the governor announced help for residents looking to elevate their homes after Sandy, said the state would fast-track its new medical marijuana program to help children with epilepsy, and continued to dangle the possibility of a trip to Israel to show support.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who told reporters Wednesday that he was too busy to follow the story, criticized Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, for saying the allegations showed Cuomo was behaving like a mafia boss.