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Cuomo Banked On Real Estate's Support. After Scathing Misconduct Report, He No Longer Has It

Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his daily coronavirus briefing March 26, where he said he was considering tightening restrictions for construction work.

The real estate industry’s top lobby group and powerful unions are distancing themselves from Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a chorus of political leaders calls on him to resign.

“The state Attorney General’s findings warrant a fair, thorough and expeditious impeachment process,” Real Estate Board of New York President James Whelan said in a statement to Commercial Observer.  

New York State Attorney General Letitia James released the results of her investigation Tuesday, finding Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women and broken state and federal laws. He immediately denied the allegations, accused James' office of bias and refused to resign, saying he never “touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”

Controversy has been swirling around Cuomo for months, as multiple women have come forward to speak publicly about his alleged misconduct. But the governor has, in the past six months, still raked in more than a half-million dollars in campaign contributions from real estate players for his planned run for a fourth term, the New York Post reported Monday.

Whelan told the Post in a statement before James' report that “as New York continues on the path to economic recovery, competent and experienced government leadership will play a pivotal role in guiding the state forward at this critical time.”

In total, 40 donors with real estate links donated to Cuomo’s campaign, including RXR Realty executives, Two Trees employees, Related’s Stephen Ross, Extell’s Gary Barnett and Douglas Durst’s wife, Susanne. The industry has been increasingly anxious about a leftward political swing against business that would result in what they describe as harmful policies.

In the wake of the report, the Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ is saying Cuomo should resign, CO reports. The Hotel and Gaming Workers Union, similarly, is pushing for Cuomo’s resignation or impeachment after having previously supported him. The New York State United Teachers union described the governor to the publication as “unfit” to serve. The Retail Wholesale & Department Store Union is also calling for his resignation.

The Building and Construction Trades Council said it would “let the process play out."

Yesterday, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both called on Cuomo to resign. New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Tuesday that Cuomo must not remain in office, and the likely next mayor of New York City, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, said the Assembly should impeach if Cuomo does not resign on his own.