Sen. Tedisco reflects on Spitzer resignation and parallels to Gov. Cuomo scandal

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Lawmakers continue their calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign amid sexual harassment allegations, but he has said he will not step down. The last time a New York governor announced resignation was March 12, 2008.

In 2008, during an interview outside the State Capitol, then-Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco (R) told NEWS10, “It’s a bad dream. In fact, it’s a nightmare that became a reality.”

Tedisco, now a state Senator, was reacting to the news that then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer was arrested on charges related to prostitution. In recent weeks, Tedisco has had conversations with reporters about Gov. Cuomo that feel eerily similar.

“It’s not a time that I really like to go back to and think about,” Tedisco told NEWS10 in a present-day interview. “It doesn’t bring back any really enjoyable memories. You’ve heard that saying, it’s kind of like deja vu all over again.”

 Tedisco is able to recall in great detail hearing the disturbing news about Spitzer in the middle of a conference with the legislature.

“We were discussing what we were going to do on the floor that day, and all of a sudden, everybody grabs their hip. All our Blackberries went off,” he said, making reference to the state-issued cellphones they once had. “I’m looking around, and everybody’s looking at their phones. One of my staff members comes up to me and says, ‘Minority Leader, I don’t know if this is a joke or not, but Eliot Spitzer just got arrested in relation to prostitution.'”

Tedisco told reporters at the time that if Spitzer didn’t resign, he would have to be impeached.

“We’re giving him 24-48 hours because we don’t have much time to get this budget in place, and we can’t have…everything at a standstill like we have right now,” Tedisco said in 2008.

“A couple days went by, and we could see that it was just total disarray, like it is in total disarray right now,” Tedisco said, recalling a stressful period that is similar to the state of the legislature as allegations against Governor Cuomo surface.

Tedisco’s conference put together impeachment papers for Spitzer that they planned on bringing to the floor. But the next day, Spitzer held a press conference where he announced that the following Monday, his Lieutenant Governor, David Patterson, would take his place.

“If anything, what Eliot Spitzer did, and why we had to have him leave, rose above politics,” Tedisco told NEWS10, “and [the situation with Cuomo] is one of those things that rises above politics.”

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