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Cuomo-aligned PR firm must face audit over ‘ludicrous’ state contracts, lawmaker says

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo packs up and strikes out of the Executive Mansion, a New York lawmaker is looking for an investigation into “ludicrous” state contracts given to a public relations firm with shut ties to the disgraced governor. 

In a letter launched late Thursday, Assemblyman Ron Kim urged New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to “audit and release all information” on $88 million price of contracts between the state and Kivvit — a high public relations firm that additionally works with corporations like Google, Citigroup, Tesla and Lyft and which employs former Gov. David Paterson.

The information comes two weeks after The Post reported that Kivvit has been raking in tens of millions from state offers that weren’t topic to pre-audits — and the legal professional basic’s investigation discovered that two managing administrators on the firm helped Cuomo “discredit and disparage” sexual harassment accuser Lindsey Boylan.

“For the firm to be awarded such a lucrative sweetheart deal worth millions of dollars is beyond questionable,” Kim advised The Post of Kivvit. “If you were part of a shady deal to serve the governor and participated in illegal acts your company should immediately be terminated and we should be clawing back any contracts.” 

Even as Andrew Cuomo prepares to go away office, his allies within the business world are nonetheless dealing with fallout from his sexual misconduct scandal.
Matthew McDermott

The two Kivvit managing administrators named within the legal professional basic’s investigation as having helped leak Boylan’s confidential personnel information, Josh Vlasto and Rich Bamberger, had been former Cuomo communications staffers. 

The duo left Kivvit earlier this week, and the web bio of Kivvit managing associate Maggie Moran — who labored as Cuomo’s 2018 marketing campaign director however was not named within the legal professional basic’s report — was quietly up to date to take away all references to the disgraced governor.

Kivvit’s contracts with the state of New York embody $85 million price of ongoing media shopping for offers, which the company says usher in commissions of 4 to 10 %. 

The firm additionally has an ongoing $2 million consulting contract with the New York Department of Health — an company that Kim and different lawmakers have stated Cuomo arm-twisted into hiding hundreds of nursing house coronavirus deaths.

Rich Bamberger (left) and Josh Vlasto (proper) left their jobs as Kivvit managing administrators earlier this week after the legal professional basic’s investigation stated they helped smear Cuomo accuser Lindsey Boylan.
AP

Kivvit has stated that Vlasto and Bamberger had been performing in a “personal capacity” once they helped smear Boylan, and claimed that the state contracts had been awarded after a aggressive bidding course of — however Kim, a Democrat from Queens, doesn’t purchase it. 

“It couldn’t pass the smell test,” Kim stated. “What’s clear to anyone who’s looking in form the outside is that this is the governor’s inner circle of people who landed ludicrous contracts.” 

Kivvit managing associate Maggie Moran labored as Cuomo’s 2018 marketing campaign supervisor.
Kivvit

“If there is even an inkling of corruption we need to immediately terminate the contract and possibly explore clawback clauses,” added Kim, who confronted a barrage of racist hate earlier this year after he known as out Cuomo over the governor’s dealing with of nursing properties throughout the pandemic.

Kim stated he would haven’t known as for the audit if The Post hadn’t uncovered Kivvit’s state offers — and added the comptroller must launch all particulars concerning the bidding course of for the contracts the company received, together with what different corporations submitted bids for the contracts and why Kivvit was chosen. 

“The contracts referenced were competitively bid in a public, transparent process, and awarded in compliance with New York State Finance Law,” a Kivvit spokesperson stated Friday.

The Comptroller’s office didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.  

Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi beforehand dismissed the concept personal relationships helped Kivvit land contracts as “the dumbest thing I ever heard.” 

Vlasto and Bamberger had been a part of the governor’s “inner circle” that helped coordinate the governor’s response to sexual misconduct claims, in response to the legal professional basic’s investigation. The group additionally included CNN host Chris Cuomo, former Pete Buttigieg communications director Lis Smith, Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David and Facebook communications supervisor Dani Lever, amongst others. 

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli would deal with the potential audit of Kivvit’s offers with the state.
David McGlynn

Kim advised The Post that Facebook and the Human Rights Campaign had been failing to carry their workers accountable for serving to the scandal-plagued governor — and known as on Lever and David to be fired.

“If these entities like Facebook and the Human Rights Campaign are smart about putting their mission and their goals ahead of protecting people like Cuomo employees, they should cut their ties,” Kim stated. 

He stated that “at a minimum” Facebook ought to hire an out of doors regulation firm to analyze Lever’s function advising the governor — a step that was just lately taken by the Human Rights Campaign. 

Facebook and the Human Rights Campaign didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.