Democrats question Astorino radio work; GOP gubernatorial candidate gets $30K for consulting

Democrats criticized Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino on Friday over work he does for a national media company, saying it may violate ethics rules in Westchester County, where Astorino is county executive.

Astorino makes about $30,000 a year advising Townsquare Media on radio station programming. He is a former radio producer who was elected county executive in 2009.

Mike Morey, spokesman for an anti-Astorino group organized by Westchester Democrats, said the county charter requires the executive to be a full-time staffer.

Astorino said he cleared the contract with the county attorney three years ago and has always reported the job on his annual financial disclosure forms. He said he does the work in his spare time and that it doesn't interfere with his county job.

Townsquare Media owns more than 300 radio stations, including more than 35 in New York.

"I basically look at the AM or talk-radio stations — the formats, the programming — which is what I've done my whole life," he said of the work he does for Townsquare. "And so I'll give them advice when they're looking at buying a station in a market."

A spokeswoman for Astorino says the candidate is not involved in the news departments or editorial decisions at any of Townsquare's stations.

An early copy of Astorino's disclosure listed Townsquare Media but not the amount he earned from the side job. Copies released subsequently listed the range of the amount. Astorino said he's not sure why the original version was redacted.

The most current disclosure shows that Astorino made between $1,000 and $5,000 for guest hosting on WOR Radio.

Two Democrats on the Westchester County Legislature, Peter Harckham and Ken Jenkins, said they plan to hold hearings on Astorino's outside earnings and his "neglect of his County Executive responsibilities."

Astorino faces Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the fall election.


Fitzgerald reported from White Plains, New York.