Actor Robert De Niro got a free ride to the Catskills on a state police helicopter when he appeared with Gov. Cuomo over the summer to promote tourism, records show.
Cuomo dispatched the helicopter to Manhattan on June 30 to pick up the “Raging Bull” star, two state officials and a member of De Niro’s production team and take them to Sullivan County to launch the governor’s Catskills Summer Challenge.
De Niro was the featured speaker at the event that used lighthearted contests to focus attention on the region’s recreational activities.
Afterward, De Niro and the production team member were flown to Mahwah, N.J. The chopper continued to Manhattan to drop off a state economic development official.
“It’s probably permissible, but it certainly raises questions about the use of state aircraft,” Citizens Union executive director Dick Dadey said of Cuomo providing transportation to the film star.
Details about the flights were contained in Cuomo’s daily schedule for June, which was made public this week.
News of De Niro’s helicopter ride was first reported by Politico NY.
Administration officials defended the move.
“All flights are for official travel in support of state initiatives and are in accordance with the appropriate use of state resources,” said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.