NY lawmaker wants to cancel Andrew Cuomo’s capitol portrait

NY lawmaker wants to cancel Andrew Cuomo's capitol portrait

Disgraced Gov. Cuomo is really out of the picture in Albany.

A Long Island Republican introduced a bill this week in the Assembly that he hopes will prevent Cuomo from having his official portrait hung in Albany’s storied “Hall of Governors.”

The corridor on the second floor of the state capitol building features gilded paintings of Empire State governors dating back two centuries to the state’s first, George Clinton.

Assemblyman Doug Smith’s “Predator Portrait Prevention Act” would “prevent any governor who does not complete any term for which they are elected to be displayed in the state capitol building without the approval of the legislature.” There’s an exception for any gov who kicks the bucket in office.

“Andrew Cuomo’s picture could very well be hanging on the wall in the Hall Of Governors despite the fact that he resigned in disgrace and his predatory behavior toward women,” said Smith, adding he hoped the measure would be bipartisan.

“I am imagining my daughter in three to four years. I don’t want her seeing Andrew Cuomo’s portrait there. Kids come by with field trips.”

The state has curated the portrait gallery since 1813, and it has moved and expanded over the years, according to the state’s Office of General Services.

The "Predator Portrait Prevention Act" would prevent former Gov. Andrew Cuomo from having his portrait displayed in the "Hall of Governors."
The “Predator Portrait Prevention Act” would prevent former Gov. Andrew Cuomo from having his portrait displayed in the “Hall of Governors.”
Peter LaVigna/NY Post Illustration

The last redesign happened under Andrew Cuomo in 2011, when he rearranged the portraits chronologically — and conveniently moved the Cuomo family nemesis, Gov. George Pataki, toward the restroom — a rude relocation Pataki associates are still annoyed about.

“Jealousy is an ugly emotion,” said Rob Cole, the former head of Pataki’s fundraising committee.

The regal likenesses are privately funded — usually by friends and family of the ex-gov — and in recent times have run $50,000 per portrait. There is currently no law on the books governing the long tradition or mandating that former govs must take their place in the gallery.

New portraits are added through informal consensus between the current and former governors. John McEneny, a former Albany assemblyman and local historian, said the decision on whether to include Cuomo will almost certainly up to his successor and former deputy, Gov. Hochul.

“Essentially the governor has a right to decorate her offices,” McEneny said.

Only two governors are absent from the gallery: Nathaniel Pitcher, the eighth chief executive and for whom no suitable likeness exists in state archives; and Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in disgrace after he was caught sleeping with hookers in 2008.

The hallway on the second floor of the state capitol building features portraits of two centuries of New York governors.
The hallway on the second floor of the state capitol building features portraits of two centuries of New York governors.
Hans Pennink

David Paterson, who replaced Spitzer as governor, might have faced an awkward quandary had Spitzer wanted a portrait — but the issue never came up.

“The Spitzer people had no interest in a Spitzer portrait going up at all,” Paterson told The Post. “Had they asked I would have posted it next to the other governors.”

Any chance of a Spitzer portrait died when Paterson was replaced by Gov. Cuomo in 2011; the two men famously hated each other.

“I said to one of my friends that the only way Eliot Spitzer’s likeness could get on that wall while Andrew Cuomo is governor would be if I had drawn him into my picture. And my friend said, ‘You should have drawn his face into the window,’ ” Paterson said, recalling his own portrait ceremony in 2014.

A portrait of Andrew Cuomo's father, Mario Cuomo, features prominently in the corridor.
A portrait of Andrew Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo hangs prominently in the corridor.
Hans Pennink

Cuomo deserves a portrait, Paterson said.

“He is very interested in history and he grew up in the mansion. So he has a real personal attachment to the capitol,” Paterson said, adding that Cuomo was an enthusiastic admirer of the gallery and almost certainly wanted his image memorialized there.

“I think that he certainly is planning on it and he did serve for 11 years as governor,” Paterson said. “He accomplished a lot and I would think given his history with Albany he would like to see his portrait hung, and I think it should be.”

If Cuomo — who was accused of sexually harassing 11 women in a bombshell report by Attorney General Letitia James — joined the hall, he would be far from the only controversial governor remembered there. The state’s 39th governor, William Sulzer, hangs despite his being impeached and removed from office in 1913 after a break with Tammany Hall.

Five criminal cases against Cuomo were opened and later dropped by prosecutors, who cited lack of evidence.

Reps for Cuomo declined to comment.

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