‘Prolonging this situation could only cause governmental paralysis’: Cuomo makes final address to NYers

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday addressed New Yorkers for the final time before he officially resigns Monday night.

Cuomo is set to step down at 11:59 p.m., just under two weeks after the announcement.

In a 15 minute speech, Cuomo pushed back on the sexual harassment allegations which spawned a likely impeachment battle that eventually led to his resignation. An investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James found that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women in and out of state government and worked to retaliate against one of his accusers.

Cuomo said accusations must be "verified" and "scrutinized."

"In this moment, I believe the right thing that my service comes first," Cuomo said. "Prolonging the situation would only cause governmental paralysis."

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will take over, becoming the first woman to hold the office in New York’s history. Cuomo briefly mentioned the incoming governor.

"Kathy Hochul will step up to the challenge, and we all wish her success," Cuomo said.

In addition to addressing the allegations and his successor, Cuomo reflected on his term as governor and touted investments in new businesses and in western New York as well as his efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus across the state. Additionally, Cuomo offered up some "advice", saying teachers must get vaccinated, masks must be worn in high-risk areas, and that private business should introduce a vaccine requirement.

In the end, Cuomo thanked his staff, family, and lastly, New Yorkers.

"We didn’t get everything done that we wanted or even everything we should have done and we didn’t always get it quite right," Cuomo said. "But I want you to know..that every day I worked my hardest."

According to a report done by the Empire Center, based on his salary and years in office, Cuomo could be eligible for just over $50,000 annually in pension funds.

Law requires a service retirement application to be filed for at least 15 days before it goes into effect, so Sept. 1 is the earliest it could take effect.

Check out a timeline of the investigation and the following resignation of Cuomo here.

This is a developing story.