Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, August 1, 2014

Cuomo Has His Own Bridge Scandal

Hey, what do you know - another link between Christie and Cuomo.

They both have a bridge scandal:

ALBANY—State investigators are looking into the controversial Tappan Zee Bridge loan and whether a board controlled by Governor Andrew Cuomo violated state laws when it approved the money.

The state Authorities Budget Office, an independent body, is examining allegations the Environmental Facilities Corporation board, largely made up of Cuomo appointees, rushed through a $256 million loan that raided the state's clean water funds to pay for a new bridge. A.B.O. director David Kidera said he expects to meet with E.F.C. officials soon and will then decide whether to begin a full-scale investigation.

Kidera could not say how long such an investigation might take, if his office decides to launch one.
“They take as long as they need to take,” he said.


In June, Cuomo announced the approval of the loan before the E.F.C. board even voted on it and without enough time for public comment, the environmental groups contend. The loan application skipped the required public notice and comment period and was made months after the legally required deadline. To quickly approve the loan was a failure of the board's public trust, the complaint alleged.

The $4 billion bridge project is frequently touted by Cuomo as one of his signature achievements after it was stalled for decades. State officials have said the clean water funds would help environmental projects associated with the bridge, like river dredging and oyster bed restoration, but would also keep tolls low.

Money for the bridge loan comes from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which is usually designated for sewer upgrades. State and local lawmakers, newspaper editorial boards and environmental groups have across the state criticized the loan since it would strip money from much needed sewer upgrades. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has also questioned the loan, and may not approve it, which could claw back the money.

As with Christie, so with Cuomo = the weaker they are perceived to be as a result of their respective scandals, the more the other things they do will come under scrutiny.

Truth is, the Tappan Zee Bridge loan was under scrutiny well before the NY Times and Preet Bharara caused Cuomo public headaches the past two weeks.

But with Bharara warning Cuomo about witness tampering and obstruction of justice charges over Moreland and with Cuomo and his aides under investigation for alleged tampering into the Moreland Commission work, the other funky stuff he's done is going to come under increased scrutiny as well.

Cuomo is at the weakest point of his governorship, so I wouldn't be surprised to see this TZB investigation given more legs than might have happened without the Moreland mess.

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