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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (C) speaks with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (L) as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right looks on during the 15th Anniversary of September 11 at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, on September 11, 2016 in New York. Getty Images

Ahead of a potential 2020 presidential bid, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has generated headlines for his public criticism of President Donald Trump. However, Cuomo recently appointed one of the president’s infrastructure advisers after that Trump confidante gave the Democrat's election campaigns hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Weeks after pressing to bring in a private operator to run Penn Station, Cuomo appointed Vornado real estate mogul Steve Roth to a new task force charged with shaping the redevelopment of the New York City train station. At the same time, Roth is helping lead the White House’s infrastructure plan, which aims to sell off public assets to private firms — and which has drawn harsh criticism from Democrats.

Read: Trump Administration Conflicts Of Interest: How Gary Cohn Could Sell U.S. Infrastructure To Goldman Sachs

When asked about the campaign donations that preceded Roth’s appointment to the task force, the governor’s spokesperson, Rich Azzopardi, responded in an emailed statement: "There are 14 stakeholders on this advisory panel representing a spectrum of viewpoints and as Steve Roth and Vornado won a competitive bid to redevelop the Farley Post Office into Moynihan Train Hall, they are clearly stakeholders. It’s obvious to anyone that the status quo at Penn Station is broken and riders are suffering for it — nonsense conspiracy theories help no one here."

Vornado did not respond to International Business Times’ request for comment.

In recent years, Penn Station has been beset by a variety of service disruptions, delays and even derailments. The station is in need of extensive repairs that will necessitate shutdowns and could lead to what Cuomo called a "summer of hell" for commuters. Many of the problems are a result of growing ridership that has far outpaced what the station’s builders foresaw when they completed the facility in 1963. Penn Station now services double the number of riders it was originally designed to accommodate.

Earlier this month, Cuomo penned a joint letter with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to Amtrak’s CEO saying “a professional, qualified, private station operator must be brought in” to manage the public facility. Less than two weeks later, Cuomo asked Trump to provide federal money to help fund repairs, calling the state of affairs at the station an "emergency situation."

Cash To Cuomo From Vornado CEO As Firm Has Sought Redevelopment Plan

Vornado — which has invested with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s real estate empire —owns millions of square feet of office space around Penn Station and has for years pushed for a redevelopment plan for the beleaguered facility. Amid that push, Roth and his wife, Daryl, made large donations to Cuomo's 2018 reelection campaign.

According to state campaign finance records, the couple gave $95,000 to Cuomo’s campaign on Dec. 1, 2016. Those donations came a few months after Cuomo selected Vornado as one of the firms to develop a separate, new 255,000-square-foot train hall to house passenger facilities for the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak, according to a Cuomo press release.

The Roths’ $95,000 contribution to Cuomo was a fraction of the more than $344,000 the pair has given to Cuomo’s campaigns since 2007 — with three-quarters of that cash haul coming since Cuomo was sworn in as governor in 2011.

Roth is not the first Cuomo appointee with links to Vornado. In 2015, Cuomo appointed Michael Fascitelli as a commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He had previously been a partner at Goldman Sachs and a president and CEO of Vornado Realty Trust and remains a trustee of that entity.

“I’m Working With Steve Roth”

While Cuomo has tabbed Roth to craft a new Penn Station redevelopment plan for the same neighborhood Vornado invests in, Roth is also helping spearhead Trump’s infrastructure privatization plan.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal in January that he would be working with Roth on infrastructure policy and Roth attended a White House meeting in March about that policy. Trump most recently touted Roth’s infrastructure policy work for the administration in an April speech.

"I’m working with Steve Roth and with [real estate investor] Richard LeFrak — two friends of mine that are very good builders," Trump said. "They’re great builders. And they know to get things done. They know how to cut red tape. We’re going to give them the advantage of having what we have."