We’ve written here in the past about the number of aides and lobbyists associated with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who have wound up going to trial and, in some cases, prison. Many of these activities revolved around the so-called “Buffalo Billion.” It was a major infrastructure investment in the upstate region (or was at least advertised that way) which resulted in plenty of taxpayer money being spread around, with significant portions winding up in the coffers of the politically well connected. The Governor has always downplayed the influence of these people, but now, as National Review reports today, the New York Times has obtained some very illuminating emails from the Governor’s office.
One of the indicted lobbyists named Todd Howe seems to have had a particularly cozy relationship with the Governor’s mansion.
In one particularly revealing email sent to Jim Malatras, then the director of state operations, Howe urgently requests payment for his clients, two developers contracted by the state for a public-private infrastructure project.
“Both need some payment as a sign of good faith before the close of business tomorrow,” Howe wrote to Malatras and his deputy, Andrew Kennedy, in December 2014 .
“So they should have a check no later than tomorrow,” responded an official with Empire State Development, the state’s economic development agency, less than an hour later. “But could be before.”
The firms that Howe was getting favors for were COR Development and LPCiminelli. Their executives were later taken down for a bid-rigging scheme, but that was only after they donated generously to Cuomo’s election campaigns and, by mere coincidence, I’m sure, wound up landing contracts to build a $750 million solar-panel factory.
In a separate incident, Howe was able to line up a private audience with the Governor for two other business executives who subsequently wound up with some very lucrative deals from the Buffalo Billion. Howe wound up pleading guilty to eight different felony charges and yet somehow the Governor himself has remained above the fray, not being officially connected to anything, while those around him continue to be frogmarched off to prison. The bad luck this poor guy has had in picking friends and associates is just amazing, isn’t it?
Last month two other Cuomo associates were similarly found guilty of corruption in these schemes. One of them, Alain Kaloyeros, was described as a “rock star” in Cuomo World. (NY Post)
Four men accused of rigging bids in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” program to revitalize upstate New York were convicted of all charges against them, including the Albany scientist Cuomo tapped to help him build in Buffalo and Syracuse.
Alain Kaloyeros, a former “rock star” in the Cuomo administration, was convicted of all three counts against him, including conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud…
“We’re supposed to believe that Andrew Cuomo, a notorious micromanager, had no idea what his right-hand man was doing right under his nose?” Cuomo’s Democratic opponent and former “Sex and the City” star, Cynthia Nixon, said in a statement.
In March, the governor’s former aide Joe Percoco — who has been likened to a brother to the governor — was convicted of using his political clout to pocket more than $300,000 in bribes from executives with two companies.
It’s a rare day when I find myself agreeing with Cynthia Nixon as I’m sure most of our regular readers know. But she’s clearly got a point here. Cuomo is legendary for having his nose in every move that’s made inside of his administration. With this much money changing hands and that many major contracts being handed out, you mean to tell us that he was completely in the dark about it? Particularly when he has a lobbyist getting him to sit up and do tricks on a few hours notice just by sending an email related to those contracts?