Looking back over the past two years, seeing a headline involving some associate of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo either being charged, convicted or incarcerated on various corruption charges has become essentially just another day ending in a “y.” And yet, here we go again. A Buffalo-area man named Steve Pigeon, long known as a “fixer” with close ties to Cuomo and the state Democratic Party, has accepted a plea deal which will have him cooling his heels behind bars for a while.
Mr. Pigeon was both an advisor and donor to Cuomo, with a reputation for “getting things done” even if his methods were less than ethical. In this particular case, he’s preparing to enter a guilty plea on charges of bribing a judge with expensive tickets to events, jobs for family members and other goodies in exchange for favorable treatment for his associates in court cases. The judge has already pleaded guilty. (NY Post)
Another onetime Gov. Cuomo crony is likely headed to prison after Steve Pigeon, the Buffalo fixer and former Erie County Democratic chairman, took plea deals on state and federal bribery charges.
Pigeon doesn’t enter his federal-court plea until next week, but he copped last Friday in state court to bribing a state judge with free tickets, jobs and political appointments for family members over a three-year period.
In exchange, Pigeon got insider information and other favors involving cases pending before the court. (The judge, John Michalek, pleaded guilty long ago.)
The real story here isn’t so much about Steve Pigeon. The crimes in question aren’t particularly clever or even complicated. We’re talking about straight-up bribery. You do something for me and I pay you off. The fact that it was so blatant suggests that Pigeon was confident that they had the system rigged in their favor and there was little danger they would be exposed.
The deeper story and the question hanging over all of these recent convictions is how in the world Andrew Cuomo keeps floating along without ever winding up in court himself. He’s a notorious micromanager who doesn’t let details get swept under the rug or be left in the hands of his underlings. Cuomo’s circle of aides, donors and lobbyists have been falling like dominos, and yet every time the Governor simply shrugs his shoulders and feigns surprise at the idea that such things could be going on.
The last pair of convictions we covered here involved individuals who admitted to scraping us sizable donations which went directly into Cuomo’s campaign coffers and then receiving millions of dollars in grants and state business. And yet somehow we’re expected to believe that Governor Cuomo had no idea that all of this was going on. Even if we’re to accept the premise that he’s been completely ignorant of all these shenanigans, what does that say about the man in charge of the entire operation? If he’s not corrupt, then he’s completely clueless and probably shouldn’t be in charge of running anything more complicated than a lemonade stand. (And even then you should count the money in the cigar box every hour just to be on the safe side.)
Still, with all of this information out there on the record, Cuomo is expected to win yet another term as Governor, likely with at least 60% of the vote, and is still discussed as a possible presidential candidate. It’s disheartening to observe, to say the least.