NEW YORK – Former Gov. Mario Cuomo helped funnel $26,500 in donations to his son’s gubernatorial campaign from a taxi-medallion company where he serves on the board, The Post has learned.
An examination of Andrew Cuomo’s contributions shows the former housing secretary has benefited from his father’s position as a partner and director of Medallion Financial Corp. in Manhattan.
The publicly traded company, which finances loans for small medallion fleets and places advertising on cab tops, has pumped $15,000 in corporate contributions into the younger Cuomo’s war chest since Dec. 4, and company president Andrew Murstein personally donated an additional $10,000 since last July.
Another Medallion executive, James Jack, gave him $1,500 last September.
The company had previously donated $1,000 to Gov. Pataki’s re-election campaign on July 7, 2000.
Mario Cuomo emphasized that he didn’t ask Murstein to help his son’s campaign.
"I never told him and I certainly never asked him to do anything special for Andrew. I didn’t have to," Mario Cuomo said.
The former governor said he’s been on Medallion’s board, which includes former Police Commissioner Ben Ward, since he left office in 1995.
"It’s a good company that’s helping a lot of immigrants buy their medallions," the elder Cuomo said.
"It’s the only company that I’m involved with."
Murstein said that, prior to 1996, his company only loaned money to firms that were owned by women or minorities.
A taxi medallion can cost over $200,000.
The former governor said Medallion has no business with the state.
"It’s an industry that’s basically entirely regulated by the city," said the elder Cuomo who, along with wife Matilda, has donated an additional $90,800 to his son’s campaign.
Medallion, which has 150 employees, had a loan portfolio of $750 million last year. Its revenues exceeded $55 million, according to its 2000 annual report.
A share of Medallion stock, which had been as high as $13.90 within the last year, closed at $8.73 a share yesterday afternoon.
Murstein and his father, Medallion Chairman Alvin Murstein, donated close to the legal maximum $4,500 to all four Democratic mayoral contenders last year.