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New York’s Cuomo Taps Home Depot Co-Founder Langone as Adviser

New York Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo has chosen Kenneth Langone, co-founder of Home Depot Inc. and one of former Governor Eliot Spitzer’s adversaries, as an economic adviser, his transition team said today.

Langone, 75, a Republican who is now chairman of investment bank Invemed Associates, joins a 19-member economic council that includes American Express Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Chenault, investment banker Felix Rohatyn, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and state AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes.

“The Council of Economic and Fiscal Advisors will work with the Cuomo administration to implement the core principles laid out by Cuomo during the campaign to get New York’s fiscal house in order, reduce taxes and get people back to work,” said Josh Vlasto, transition team press secretary, in a news release.

The council is part of a transition team headed by Lieutenant Governor-elect Robert Duffy. U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez, Onondaga County Executive Joanne Mahoney, former New York State Comptroller Carl McCall and Rohatyn will be transition co-chairs, Cuomo said in a news release.

Langone was traveling and unavailable for comment, said James McCarthy, his spokesman.

Furious at Spitzer

Langone won a 2004 lawsuit Spitzer brought as state attorney general. Spitzer accused Langone of violating his duty as a New York Stock Exchange director to provide Richard Grasso, the former exchange chairman and CEO, with a $190 million retirement package.

In March 2008, days before Spitzer resigned as governor amid allegations that he patronized prostitutes, Langone said he “destroyed reputations.”

“I hope his private hell is hotter than anybody else’s,” Langone said.

Cuomo must confront a $9 billion deficit in the state’s projected $144 billion budget for next year. Cuomo must propose a spending plan within weeks to meet the April 1 start of the fiscal year for the third most-populous U.S. state.

“Fiscal reform will be a top priority of my administration,” Cuomo said in the news release. “We must overhaul our government, clean it up and pare it down.”

-- Editors: Stephen Merelman, Mark Schoifet

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