Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, January 30, 2015

What Exactly Is The Dean Skelos Denial Worth?

Last night WNBC 4 reported the following:

Federal investigators are looking into state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' sources of income, according to people familiar with the investigation.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is taking a hard look at Skelos’ ties to the real estate industry, among other areas of inquiry, the sources told NBC 4 New York.
Skelos, the highest ranking Republican in state government, has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
The revelation that Skelos is under investigation comes a week after Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested and charged for allegedly taking $4 million in bribes. Silver denies the charges.
A spokesman for Skelos did not return numerous calls for comment Thursday.

The Skelos spokesman didn't return "numerous calls for comment" yesterday but the Skelos flack  went strong with a denial today:

Skelos’ office issued a statement Friday calling the TV report “irresponsible” — and refusing further comment.

“Last night’s thinly sourced report by WNBC is irresponsible and does not meet the standards of serious journalism. Senator Skelos has not been contacted by anyone from the U.S. Attorney’s office. As such, we won’t be commenting further,” said Skelos spokeswoman Kelly Cummings.

I agree that the WNBC 4 report is thinly sourced and after the mess WNBC 4 and Jonathan Dienst made with a September Bridgegate report (see here for that), we probably shouldn't rely completely on this story for evidence that Preet Bharara is looking into Skelos.

That's why it was interesting seeing this is the NY Post today:

The feds have launched a corruption probe into state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ outside income – the same focus that led to the stunning arrest of longtime Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver last week, ­The Post confirmed Friday.

US Attorney Preet Bharara is looking at the powerful Nassau County pol’s connections to various real estate deals, sources said.

Skelos, the highest-ranking Republican in state government and one of the infamous “three men in a room” castigated by Bharara after Silver’s arrest, has not been charged with a crime.

He serves as a counsel for the law firm Ruskin, Moscou Faltischek in Uniondale, which specializes in ­real estate litigation among other areas.

The law firm is not a part of the investigation, according to WNBC/Channel 4, which first reported the story late Thursday.

In 2013, Skelos was paid between $150,000 and $250,000 for his employment as a lawyer with the firm, according to his financial disclosure documents.

Sources told The Post that Bharara launched the probe based on information provided by a tipster.
And other sources said Senate Republicans were nervous because Mike Avella, a lobbyist who is close to Skelos and other GOP senators, is partners with Brian Meara, a veteran lobbyist who helped the feds bust Silver.

The Post article is confirming that "the feds have launched a corruption probe into state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ outside income" and "Bharara launched the probe based on information provided by a tipster."

The Post story, independent of the WNBC 4 story, confirms that Bharara is indeed looking into Skelos and his outside income.

The Skelos spokesperson said:

“Last night’s thinly sourced report by WNBC is irresponsible and does not meet the standards of serious journalism. Senator Skelos has not been contacted by anyone from the U.S. Attorney’s office. As such, we won’t be commenting further."

Does this mean they won't be commenting on the Post story that "confirms" Bharra is looking into Skelos and his outside income and the probe was launched based on information provided by a tipster.

Because while I agree the WNBC 4 story was a little vague, the Post article is much less so - it even indicates who the tipster who snitched on Skelos might be:

And other sources said Senate Republicans were nervous because Mike Avella, a lobbyist who is close to Skelos and other GOP senators, is partners with Brian Meara, a veteran lobbyist who helped the feds bust Silver.

The Post article dispenses with the first part of the Skelos spokesperson denial - the accusation that the NBC 4 report is "thinly sourced" and "irresponsible."

As to the second, that Skelos can't be under investigation because "Senator Skelos has not been contacted by anyone from the U.S. Attorney’s office," well, that one's laughable on the face of it.

Maybe somebody from the U.S. Attorney’s office would contact Skelos if they were looking into him - or maybe they wouldn't.

It's neither here nor there that Skelos says he hasn't been contacted by anybody from Bharara'a office.

It certainly doesn't prove that Skelos isn't under investigation by the US Attorney office, which is what the Skelos flack wants you to hear.

So the reality is, the Skelos denial is really worthless - it tries to undercut the WNBC 4 report but conveniently ignores the Post report that "confirms" Skelos is under investigation and it attempts to pull the wool over people's eyes by equating lack of contact from Bharara's office to Skelos as proof of Skelos' innocence.

Both pieces of the denial are jive, as is the sanctimonious finish they had:

"We won’t be commenting further."

Well, not until the morning of the arrest, at any rate.

But after that, I bet they'll be some comments.

11 comments:

  1. RBE, crime reporter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope - I'm not a reporter.

      Just a person with a blog commenting on some things that have been reported, pointing some things out, clarifying a few things.

      Delete
  2. On another note, Cuomo realizes he needs independent evaluators because the truth is ......... plenty if principals actually have relationships with their faculty. Principals do not generally enjoy giving negative ratings, evaluations. We are all human. They also know that they risk physical harm by a teacher who could retaliate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or, teachers generally do a competent job and their evaluations would reflect that.

      Delete
    2. Issue is, Cuomo and his deformer buddies are using CCSS test scores, which were rigged to have 70% failure rates, as if they are the Ten Commandments Moses brought down from the Mount.

      They want public to believe since test scores are so poor, teachers must suck too.

      Many parents know this isn't true - the parent pushback against CCSS and the tests that King and Tisch experienced shows that.

      Delete
    3. It would depend on the principal and whether or not the teacher has been selected as a target.

      Delete
    4. Yes, that's true. But Cuomo and his deformer buddies seem to want EVERY teacher targeted - thus the outside observers.

      What I want to know is, what would the price tag of this be? Where are these outside observers coming from? And how many teachers will film the lessons that the observers come for, just in case it's used as a gotcha?

      Delete
  3. Outside income from large law firms who may have clients benefitting from new state laws and new state contracts is an obvious source of corruption for NYS legislators. Especially the longer serving legislators with power to bring about state laws and the awarding of contracts. If it brought down Silver, why can't it bring down Skelos?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cuomo says his only outside income was the $700K from Murdoch for his book that sold very few copies.

      I think for Cuomo, the bigger problem is the subpoenas to his own donors that Larry Schwartz, his secretary, had "pulled back" by the Moreland Commission, which suggests Cuomo was worried his own corruption commission would find his own corruption AND the overnight shutdown of Moreland in return for a budget deal, which suggests a quid pro quo if Cuomo knew about the info Moreland found about Silver.

      Since Regina Calcaterra was feeding Cuomo everything that happened on the commission, it's likely he knew that they had some unsavory stuff on Silver.

      I'd say, if Bharara wants to bag him a governor, he probably can.

      Remains to be seen if he wants to go that far or will be happy with just taking out Silver (and maybe Skelos.)

      Delete
  4. Shivaganga Infra is the name of luxury and happiness.The name for commitment to customer satisfaction was established in the year 2006 at Bangalore. It isconsistently been making a name in the field of construction. The company is let by a team of experience and visionary professionals with sound knowledge of construction, Team SHIVAGANGA INFRA is professionally managed with high experienced of proven capabilities.Behind some of the most prestigious ventures of Bangalore stands one trusted name-SHIVAGANGA INFRA.3Bhk flats for sale At Kanakapura Road, 2Bhk flats for sale At Kanakapura Road, 3Bhk flats for sale At JP Nagar7th Phase, 2Bhk flats for sale At JP Nagar7th Phase,3Bhk flats for sale At JP Nagar, 2Bhk flats for sale At JP Nagar,3Bhk flats for sale At Bannerghatta Road,2Bhk flats for sale At Bannerghatta Road,3Bhk flats for sale At Rajarajeshwari Nagar,2Bhk flats for sale At Rajarajeshwari Nagar,3Bhk flats for sale At Banashankari 2nd stage,3Bhk flats for sale At Bangalore,2Bhk flats for sale At Bangalore.

    For More Info Visit Us : http://shivagangainfra.in/

    ReplyDelete