Heaney discusses Cuomo stonewalling

Andrew Cuomo is out as governor. What was it like to deal with his administration?

Jim Heaney, interviewed by WGRZ’s Kate Welshofer and Michael Wooten, described Cuomo’s administration as hostile to the press and the public’s right to know.

Heaney in 2014 broke the first of the Cuomo scandals, involving bid rigging for the rights to develop the Tesla plant in South Buffalo. His story triggered a federal investigation that resulted in felony corruption convictions involving the governor’s top economic development official and one of Cuomo’s largest campaign donors from Western New York.

Kathy Hochul was sworn in as governor Tuesday and Heaney said one of her major challenges is changing the culture in state government to promote  transparency. State agencies should start responding to press inquiries and interview requests in a timely fashion, he said, and make a good-faith effort to provide records requested under the state Freedom of Information Law.

The Cuomo administration, Heaney said, attempted to stonewall reporters at every turn. Hochul, he said, needs to do much better.