Close this search box.

Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date on the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Syracuse, Central New York and beyond.


Officials from around the state, region react to Schneiderman news

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Monday evening, The New Yorker broke the story that four women had accused New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of violence against them. Within hours, the 63-year-old Democrat announced he was resigning.

“While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time,” he said in a statement. “I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”

Barbara Underwood becomes acting attorney general when Schneiderman departs. She issued a statement Tuesday: “I am honored to serve the people of New York as acting attorney general. The work of this office is critically important. Our office has never been stronger, and this extraordinarily talented, dedicated, and tireless team of public servants will ensure that our work continues without interruption.”


In the period between the online publishing of the New Yorker article and his resignation, Schneiderman used Twitter to proclaim his innocence. “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross,” he said.

“They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent,” The New Yorker story, written by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow, reported.

On Monday night, Gov. Andrew Cuomo quickly called for Schneiderman to resign: “The New Yorker has published an article on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which reports multiple women making serious allegations of assault. No one is above the law, including New York’s top legal officer. I will be asking an appropriate New York district attorney to commence an immediate investigation, and proceed as the facts merit. My personal opinion is that, given the damning pattern of facts and corroboration laid out in the article, I do not believe it is possible for Eric Schneiderman to continue to serve as Attorney General, and for the good of the office, he should resign.”

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr., a Republican, issued a statement Tuesday morning calling Schneiderman a bully and a monster: “The allegations levied against Eric Schneiderman are reprehensible and abhorrent. Resigning was not only the right decision, it was the only decision. His demeanor and previous actions as attorney general are consistent with the behavior of a backyard bully with only the goal of self-preservation. However, after last night’s revelations, it is clear he is someone who abuses women physically and emotionally. He is not just a bully, he is a monster.”

 Picente continued: Women should never have to live in fear of any man. Women should never have to fear retribution from the state’s attorney general for coming forward to speak out against patterns of repulsive abuse. Women all over New York deserve better.”

 “New York is once again being ill-served by a top law enforcement official who must resign in disgrace. New Yorkers deserve better than this in our government.”

Dutchess County Executive and Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro issued a statement on Tuesday, calling on the state legislature to appoint an independent attorney general, saying the state needed someone who would pursue corruption cases: “Like Eric Schneiderman, for too long Andrew Cuomo has enjoyed a free ride from prosecutors and state leaders fearful of his power and political retribution. New Yorkers deserve an independent watchdog who will pursue corruption no matter the party, the perpetrator or the office holder,” said Molinaro.

“We need a pledge from the next attorney general that they will no longer look the other way and investigate the rampant corruption of the Cuomo administration starting in the Executive Chamber and Division of Criminal Justice Services,” he said in the statement.

“Time and time again, New Yorkers have been betrayed by statewide office holders who have abused their office in some of the most despicable ways, it’s up to the legislature to conduct a transparent bipartisan process, with public hearings that allow a full vetting of our next attorney general,” Molinaro said in the statement.

He added, “based on reports that Schneiderman’s abuse was carried out continuously over a period of years, it seems likely that it would not have escaped the attention of the attorney general’s staff, security detail, law enforcement or other office holders and must be thoroughly investigated.”

Assembly Member Al Stirpe, D–Cicero, called for zero tolerance for such behavior. “I am deeply disturbed by the alleged actions of the soon-to-be former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman,” Stirpe said in a statement. “We must maintain a zero tolerance policy for everyone, especially those in public service and leadership. No one is above the law and the brave women who came forward and told their stories deserve justice.”

State Sen. John DeFrancisco, R–DeWitt, spoke by phone from Senate chambers. “I’ve been in public service for 41 years and this is the most outrageous situation I’ve ever seen,” he says.

“This is an attorney general who has crafted a whole narrative of being a defender of women and who constantly criticizes those who have been accused.”

“It’s beyond imagination,” he says.

DeFrancisco says the state Legislature should not choose a replacement for Schneiderman. Instead, he says Underwood should continue to fill in until after this fall’s election. “She is certainly competent enough to lead the office for six months,” he says.

The entire attorney general’s office “needs to be cleaned out,” DeFrancisco says, and voters ought to choose who will take on the task.

DeFrancisco — who recently suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor — demurs when asked if he is interested in running for the position. “Never say never,” he says, adding that he is certain the GOP will come up with a good candidate.

Contact McChesney at



Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date on the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Syracuse, Central New York and beyond.