TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - Vowing to stop "a criminal enterprise defrauding taxpayers," Republican candidate for New York governor Marc Molinaro launched a whistle-blower website Sunday aimed at collecting tips about corruption in state government.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's chief opponent in the November election said CuomoLeaks.com was needed due to intimidation tactics used against people who have tried to expose issues in the current administration.
"We have been approached many times by state employees, individuals who have close ties to the administration, and as you know individuals associated with (the Tappan Zee Bridge) project and others who continue to reach out with specific information that show, quite frankly, unfettered political influence and corruption within the administration," said Molinaro.
"Many of whom are afraid, if you will, or have stated as such, of their own well-being because the administration has been seen to use the levers of government to keep people quiet," he said.
Molinaro's news conference Sunday morning in Tarrytown, N.Y., was held with the the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo / Tappan Zee Bridge in the background, an issue the candidate included in list of embarrassing issues to Cuomo.
"The governor rushed the opening of the Tappan Zee Bridge to meet a political deadline, and then claimed to have no involvement, no ownership and no responsibility," Molinaro said. "The administration has but the safety of New Yorkers behind political expediency."
In addition to bridge safety concerns, Molinaro highlighted former Cuomo top aide Joseph Percoco's sentencing to six years in prison on charges of fraud and accepting bribes and a controversial campaign flyer targeting Democratic primary rival Cynthia Nixon about anti-Semetic issues.
Cuomo's camp shot back without hours of Molinaro's news conference on Sunday.
"This is the latest desperate gimmick from Trump mini-me Marc Molinaro and his flailing campaign," said Cuomo campaign spokesperson said regarding the website.
"While Governor Cuomo works day and night on behalf of the people of New York, Marc Molinaro Works to financially enrich himself and his wealthy campaign donors," the spokesperson continued. "He can shed as many crocodile tears as he wants over transparency, but they mean nothing until he answers critical questions about his own troubling history of quid pro quo—answers he has willfully hid from the public by refusing to release his tax returns or properly file ethics disclosures."
Additionally, New York State Democratic Committee Vice Chair Chris Quinn called for an investigation into Molinaro's so-called "quid pro quo politics."
"Molinaro's blatant attempts to hide his spouse's job from the public and his failure to report this conflict represents a clear violation of the public trust," Quinn said in a statement sent to CBS2. Molinaro's IDA, whose members serve at his pleasure, awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax breaks to Tinkelman. Shortly thereafter, Tinkelman interviewed and considered Molarino's spouse for a job. She was hired and then Tinkelman was awarded a lucrative county contract where they substantially benefited from their relationship with the County Executive. So, did Molinaro mislead the public on his JCOPE disclosure or lie on his Dutchess County disclosures in 2015, 2016 and 2017? JCOPE must investigate and publicly report."
The new website consists of a black-and-white photo of Andrew Cuomo and form to submit tips and documentation.
"We're standing here today to launch CuomoLeaks.com for the purpose of allowing those who fear for their well-being to come forward and speak out and finally put an end to what is a criminal enterprise defrauding taxpayers, rigging the system and stacking the deck against New Yorkers.
Molinaro did not specify how information collected through the website would be used.
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