About a month ago we talked about New York real estate firm Glenwood Management, who had donated heavily to both Republican and Democrat legislators in the Empire State while having plenty of business involving Albany. They appeared to have snagged both Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, and at the time I wondered if the trail was going to lead up to Andrew Cuomo’s office since they had donated more than a million dollars to his gubernatorial war chest. Well, the local political beat reporters have kept after the case and now we’re seeing what may turn out to be a smoking gun of sorts. The Governor’s office has refused a Freedom of Information request for documents related to the investigation, citing a rule which allows such a refusal for documents currently involved in a law enforcement investigation. (From the International Business Times.)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is blocking the release of details about transactions between the state and the governor’s top campaign donor. The state’s housing agency says it cannot release the documents because it is “cooperating” with a federal prosecutor’s probe of financial relationships between New York lawmakers and campaign donors in the real estate industry who have business before the state.
In rejecting an open-records request, New York officials disclosed the Cuomo administration’s connection to the probe: The letter denying the request specifically cited an exemption for documents involved in a law enforcement investigation. That is apparently the first time New York state officials have acknowledged Cuomo’s housing agency — as opposed to just state legislators — is involved in the investigation.
It’s not a direct admission from anyone in law enforcement, nor is it a flat acknowledgement from Cuomo’s office. But they clearly don’t want to give up the goods and the only loophole they could summon up to keep the press away was to admit that the feds were looking over the material already. But you almost have to give Cuomo some credit for sticking to his potentially tainted guns. When the local media asked him if he planned to stop taking money from the group, he had a complete Alfred E. Neuman response ready.
On the same day as the rejection letter, Cuomo defended Glenwood Management and said he would continue to ask them to donate to his campaigns, according to Capital New York.
“I don’t believe anyone said Glenwood has done anything wrong,” Cuomo said at a press conference. “If somebody did something wrong, then obviously I wouldn’t associate with them politically. But, if no one did anything wrong, then you can’t just say, ‘You have no right to participate in the political process.’”
A spokesperson for Bharara declined to answer IBTimes’ questions about his office’s Albany investigation.
Keep in mind that this is the same New York governor who at one time was being seriously looked at as a presidential contender, or at least a strong Veep choice. (Why couldn’t he have been the frontrunner instead of Hillary before all this news broke?) But the creeping tide of this investigation is sucking in more and more New York politicians. It’s beginning to look like that flood may eventually reach the governor’s mansion after all.