Report: Fairground asked to delay tornado cleanup until after Gov. Cuomo photo op

Gov. Cuomo's news conference at the fairgrounds Photo: YouTube. Gov. Cuomo's news conference at the fairgrounds

July 22, 2017 09:01 AM

Hours after a tornado ripped through western New York Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo was in the area for a news conference.

However, a reported request from an aide for the governor frustrated the CEO of the Erie County Fairgrounds -- which had significant damage.

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Fair CEO Dennis Lang told the Buffalo News: "I just turned around and walked away."

Lang claims that the governor's aide asked him if they could delay clean-up at the fairgrounds until after the governor's appearance.

Lang told the aide, "I said, 'You're kidding, right?"

The Governor’s Office is calling these statements false. A representative said, “The Governor’s number one priority is helping the people of Western New York immediately recover from this latest extreme weather event and any suggestion otherwise is categorically false. The Governor has deployed more than 100 National Guard to the region, worked with impacted utilities to restore power to more than 20,000 homes and businesses, and aggressive recovery efforts – which have never once paused – will continue full stop until cleanup is completed.” 

The paper points out, if true, this wouldn't be the first time something like this has happened. In 2011, work halted in the small town of Prattsville after Tropical Storm Irene. According to the Buffalo News, during that incident, work stopped while Gov. Cuomo and a federal official toured the damage in the community.

The damage at the Erie County Fair should be cleaned by the fair's open in August, Lang says.

A spokeswoman with Governor Cuomo’s Office tells us the National Guard arrived and helped clean up the fairgrounds before, during, and after the press conference. She adds that the press conference was delayed due to the extreme weather, which resulted in the Governor being unable to travel to western New York until later that evening.


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