BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Senior Advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Rich Azzopardi, says there is “no truth to it” when it comes to an article on Artvoice, a WNY-based online publication, claiming the governor was in Western New York on Thanksgiving.
Azzopardi took to Twitter this morning to dispel the rumors, saying Cuomo was in Albany like his schedule said. He also says that Artvoice never reached out to the governor’s office for comment.
In the now updated article written by Terese Reile, Artvoice added an “Editor’s Note” saying:
“We are investigating whether it was a deliberate hoax perpetrated to embarrass Governor Andrew Cuomo, or a “jump to a hasty conclusion” moment, or if it is possibly true that Gov. Cuomo was in the Buffalo area on Thanksgiving evening, visiting a private residence in apparent contravention of his own edict to stay home on the holiday to stem the spread of Covid 19. We originally published a post by Terese Reile, who wrote that, according to a group of protesters at the scene, on Thanksgiving, just after dark, Cuomo arrived with a police escort and was seen entering a home in Williamsville. The story quickly went viral. We have been told by an independent source that the street in question was indeed closed by state troopers. In addition a photographer that our sister publication the Niagara Falls Reporter has published, said on Facebook that she also witnessed the street closed by state troopers. The author of the post, Terese, went to the scene herself on Thanksgiving evening. By the time she got there, she says, Cuomo was gone [if he was ever there]. But the protestors were still there.”
The note goes on to say Terese did not see Cuomo and they plan to further investigate.
“If we find this story to be untrue we will attempt to analyze how and why such hoaxes gain ground. It is out there to be sure. If it is true, it is news. Not earth shattering news, but curious, since most of us I think will agree that we don’t want leaders who tell us to do what they say, not what they do,” Artvoice wrote.
Azzopardi responded to Artvoice this afternoon, saying they are now “backtracking and deflecting.”
“Let me be clear: the Governor was in Albany and this publication was at best irresponsible, at worst shamefully and willfully negligent,” Azzopardi wrote. “Either way the whole thing is libelous and if @artvoice had any credibility they’d take this trash down pending their ‘investigation.’”