New York, NY — Rob Astorino has ratcheted up his attacks on Governor Cuomo in recent weeks as Astorino faces a judge’s order to submit to seven hours of depositions as part of a federal inquiry into violations of federal anti-discrimination laws. A federal monitor pushed for Astorino to give the deposition under oath because Astorino has been lying about the racial discrimination case. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has agreed that Astorino has made “numerous and misleading statements.”

“If Rob Astorino still has that jug of bleach, he might want to use it on himself. He’s been slinging mud and now New Yorkers see that he’s just plain dirty. Rob Astorino’s petty battles with the federal government have cost Westchester taxpayers millions of dollars already, and he is still the only county executive in violation of federal anti-discrimination laws. It’s time for Rob Astorino to come clean and stop lying about his racist housing policies.” — Peter Kauffmann, NYSDC spokesman



The Associated Press reports that:

A judge has ordered Astorino, over his objections, to submit to seven hours of depositions by a federal monitor who says Astorino, the Westchester County executive, has been lying to the public about a housing desegregation settlement.

“The office of the county executive and some of those reporting to him have for years publicly disparaged the settlement, cast doubt on the existence of certain of its provisions, spread misinformation about its objectives and undermined public confidence in its implementation,” monitor James E. Johnson told the judge.

In papers supporting the motion, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara agreed that Astorino had made “numerous false and misleading statements” about the case.

In the 2009 settlement, Westchester agreed to build 750 affordable-housing units in mostly white areas and market them to nonwhites. Those units are being built and 173 are occupied.

The monitor cited Astorino’s contentions that the government’s real target for affordable housing units is more than 10,000, not the 750 mentioned in the settlement. Astorino has repeatedly said that the Westchester case could lead to a federal takeover of local zoning.

The county’s lawyer said Astorino’s statements are true and at any rate are protected by the First Amendment. He accused Johnson of “a direct attempt to silence debate.”

But federal Judge Denise Cote ruled last month that Astorino, his principal spokesman and the county’s planning commissioner and deputy commissioner must sit for depositions — Astorino for up to seven hours, the others for up to three hours.

[Associated Press, 8/9/14]