Andrew Cuomo told staffer he wasn’t as good as felon Joe Percoco
Exiled ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo once taunted a former top aide by telling him he wasn’t doing his job as well as convicted felon Joe Percoco, new testimony in the sexual harassment probe that toppled the three-term Democrat reveals.
Percoco was a longtime pal and confidante of Cuomo, who served as a top deputy in the governor’s office and campaign manager before getting convicted in a pay to play corruption scandal in 2018 involving government contractors.
Andrew Ball assumed Percoco’s role as deputy secretary to the governor.
But Ball said he was offended when Cuomo needled him, saying he couldn’t equal Percoco’s production for him in the executive chamber.
“The governor started being rude to you, and saying things like, ‘Joe Percoco did your job better, Joe did your job better,’” Ball was asked by an investigator with state Attorney General Letitia James’ office.
“Yes, I was offended by that,” Ball said.
Ball said Cuomo’s digs got worse following the federal trial of Percoco, who the governor had once likened to a brother.
“It was just a constant — I could never do enough. I could never, you know — I could never — it was never enough. And, you know, it was just — it came across in every — in many different ways, and I didn’t enjoy that obviously,” he said.
Ball also resented the slights because he was forced to testify in Percoco’s corruption trial.
Percoco was convicted and sentenced to six years imprisonment for accepting more than $300,000 from companies that wanted to gain influence with the Cuomo administration.
“I had to go through that process in the Percoco trial, as we discussed, and that it was a very painful experience for me, and that — something that left, you know, a mark
and took a long time for me to get past,” Ball said during his 181-page transcribed interview with investigators.
During the trial, lobbyist Todd Howe testified that Percoco intervened and had Ball relocated to a different floor in the governor’s office after developer Steve Aiello complained that Ball was giving his son, Steve Aiello Jr. also a Cuomo staffer, a hard time.
Ball also said his bosses — Cuomo and Secretary Melissa DeRosa — blocked his request to work at the MTA. He now works in the private sector.
But during her own testimony, DeRosa said the MTA determined that Ball wasn’t a good fit for the chief of staff job.
She also said it was Ball, a protege of Percoco, who was the one who couldn’t get along with executive chamber staff and was a constant source of complaints. They weren’t on speaking terms before he left.
“I think he thought of himself as a mini Joe Percoco,” said DeRosa said.
“He would belittle, be mean to, make fun of, openly condescend to staff, both his contemporaries and his juniors,” she said.
He’s now working in a private sector job.
Despite the disputes, Ball admitted he wanted to stay in good graces with the then-governor and “Cuomo Land.”
After he left the executive chamber, he agreed to call two former female staffers he was friendly to ask them about the harassment accusations leveled against Cuomo by former top economic development aide Lindsey Boylan last December. Cuomo office director Stephanie Benton asked him to do so.
“If someone asks you to do something and you don’t do it, they’re not going to be happy with you, and I didn’t want that,” Ball said.
Documents also show that Ball sent a “like” to a tweet that Charlotte Bennett, a former executive staffer who accused Cuomo of harassment, sent regarding Lindsey Boylan — the first woman to publicly claim sexual misconduct by the governor.
He withdrew his “like” of the tweet at the request of Dani Lever, a former Cuomo press secretary who was helping defend the governor from harassment accusations while working for Facebook.
“You liked Charlotte’s tweet? Call me,” Lever said in a series of messages to the the ex-staffer, Andrew Ball, in February. “Was that on purpose?? Can you unlike it.”
Ball then replied “done” and Lever responded with a heart emoji.
He told investigators that he had un-liked the tweet because he wanted to preserve his relationship with the governor and his team.
Cuomo resigned in August under the threat of impeachment after AG James investigative report concluded he mistreated 11 women, and harassed several staffers — including a state trooper. Her office has been releasing transcripts and documents of the harassment probe on a rolling basis.
CNN “indefinitely” suspended host Chris Cuomo over his secret role in trying to defend his brother, from the sexual harassment allegations and for using his journalistic resources to aid that effort. The move on Tuesday came after AG James’ released damning documents revealing Chris Cuomo’s extensive involvement in his brother’s PR campaign to counter and even sully the accusers.