City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is now stuck in the middle of the ongoing feud between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Johnson met with Cuomo in Albany this week, and then said there were no agreements on some of the big issues they discussed -- including helping the city's struggling Housing Authority and drawing up a subway action plan. But that's very different from Cuomo's account of their meeting. State House Reporter Zack Fink has the story.
On Tuesday, Members of the City Council met privately with Governor Cuomo in Albany. Ostensibly the meeting was about the city's housing authority, known as NYCHA — but a number of other issues ended getting discussed including funding for subways and a plan to close Rikers Island.
Shortly after the meeting, Cuomo's Counsel Alphonso David issued a public letter claiming the Council members and the Governor had agreed to a number of proposals including an emergency declaration on NYCHA, which would allow the State to play an active role in managing the city agency. The letter also said that Johnson agreed the city should fund half of Cuomo's subway action plan, which has a price tag of roughly $400 million.
David's letter used the words "you agreed" and "we all agreed" at least seven times.
That prompted Johnson to issue his own letter Wednesday night contradicting David. Johnson's letter insisted: "We did not come to any substantive agreement with you on any of the matters we discussed."
"I think it's really, really strange," de Blasio said. "I spoke to Speaker Johnson before he went into this meeting. I spoke to him after he went to this meeting. And I sat down with him yesterday. And everything he said was consistent in every conversation. That nothing was agreed to."
On Thursday, Johnson softened his language a bit.
"We wanted to be on the record in response to the Governor's letter to us," Johnson said. "Saying that we are open to solutions, that we are open to working together on the MTA, on NYCHA on Rikers on school funding but there are no final decisions."
We also asked if Johnson agreed with the Mayor's characterization of the letter as "strange."
"No, they've sent letters before," Johnson said. "We decided to respond and I am going to work in a really thoughtful manner with the Governor, with the Mayor."
A spokesperson for the Governor says the summary of the meeting clearly states that the fifteen Council members who met with the Governor would have to reach an agreement with the Mayor's office and the rest of the City Council.