Nephew of former Andrew Cuomo opponent accuses 2010 campaign of ‘catfishing’ him

Nephew of former Andrew Cuomo opponent accuses 2010 campaign of ‘catfishing’ him

As a 23-year-old gay Democrat, Jeff Hannon often had to explain why he worked for his Republican uncle’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010. His decision was based on the promise that his uncle, Carl Paladino, would focus on fixing New York’s plethora of problems instead of attacking gay marriage or other social issues. But when Paladino spoke poorly about the LGBTQ community at a campaign function, Hannon felt betrayed.

Unfortunately, the much greater betrayal came from the campaign of his uncle’s opponent, then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, which Hannon believes engaged in “catfishing” to gain an advantage over Paladino. He took to Twitter Thursday evening to tell his story just over a decade after the horrible events happened.

“My story doesn’t accuse Governor Andrew Cuomo of anything illegal or corrupt,” he began his 33-Tweet thread. “But I think it sheds some light on the kind of person he is. When I was a 23-year-old staffer for my uncle Carl Paladino’s gubernatorial campaign, his campaign catfished me on a gay website.”

Catfishing is “the process of luring someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.” It is a practice often used to gain enough trust for the sake of exploitation, blackmail, or theft. But in Jeff Hannon’s case, the apparent motivation was for Cuomo’s campaign to gain advantages over Paladino by getting information from Hannon and possibly turning him against his Republican uncle.

Cuomo went on to win the election and has been plaguing New York ever since. And judging by his recent scandals surrounding a coverup and poor choices pertaining to Covid-19, the immoral acts of lying and cheating for political expediency are part of his standard operating procedure. But Hannon isn’t sharing his story now for political reasons. It just adds context to what we’ve been seeing from Cuomo’s office in recent weeks.

“I still hold on to a lot of shame for having worked for my uncle’s campaign,” Hannon continued. “I was so ignorant and naïve. I thank God every day that my uncle lost the election, so please don’t think this is sour grapes. Perhaps it’s closure.”

According to Hannon, someone affiliated with Cuomo’s 2010 campaign engaged in a virtual and phone relationship with him. After spending an extended period of time courting him, his suitor “ghosted” him. Perhaps they felt they were not going to turn Hannon against his uncle or that they had collected enough information to act. Whatever the reason, “Daniel Wilhelm” stopped communicating with Hannon until a story broke about his uncle’s remarks pertaining to gay people.

That’s when “Daniel Wilhelm” suddenly reappeared, calling Hannon out of the blue the next day. But his focus was different now. Instead of romance, he was urging Hannon to come out against his uncle.

“He had interviews already lined up for me with his friends at People Magazine, Good Morning America, and CNN, and wanted to fly me down to NYC that night to tell my story,” Hannon Tweeted. “I immediately hung up after realizing what had happened.”

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Nephew of former Andrew Cuomo opponent accuses 2010 campaign of ‘catfishing’ him

Jeff Hannon’s sad tale portrays an Andrew Cuomo we’ve come to understand better in recent weeks. The Governor is a duplicitous, overly ambitious conniver who will stoop to any level for the sake of advancing his career.

Here is the full thread from Hannon:

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