ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — They were Albany's most powerful men: the governor, the Senate leader and the Assembly speaker. Together, they negotiated billion-dollar budgets and decided which bills passed and which ones didn't.
Now two face federal corruption charges, and the third — Gov. Andrew Cuomo — appears eager to focus on other issues even as he faces questions about his ties to a major real estate firm at the center of the newest scandal to rock the state Capitol....In the political language of Albany, the governor, the speaker and the Senate leader are known collectively as the "three men in a room," a nod to the longstanding practice of negotiating the budget and other key pieces of legislation behind closed doors. Silver's arrest came the day after Cuomo referred to Skelos, Silver and himself as the "three amigos" during his budget presentation, which contained a depiction of the three men wearing sombreros.Millions of dollars in contributions by New York City real estate interests, mainly funneled through LLCs, have been cited in the cases against Silver and Skelos, who received large contributions from Glenwood Management, a New York City real estate firm headed by Leonard Litwin, Cuomo's top donor.Glenwood has been identified as the New York City company that gave large campaign donations to Skelos using LLCs, allegedly in return for helping continue tax breaks now worth about $1 billion annually to the city's residential developers. Those tax breaks, along with New York City's rent regulations, are up for renewal this year. The complaint against Skelos alleges that he used his influence to pressure a Glenwood executive to arrange payments for his son.Cuomo received $1 million from limited liability companies tied to Glenwood. Cuomo said recently that he never discussed rent laws with the company. Administration records show he met with Glenwood executives three times to discuss rent regulations in 2011, the last year they were up for renewal.Cuomo's spokesman said later that the governor simply forgot the meetings."I don't believe anyone said Glenwood has done anything wrong," Cuomo said about his connections to the company.The developer's generous contributions were scrutinized by the anti-corruption commission appointed by Cuomo in 2013 and disbanded a year later. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of Manhattan, who is prosecuting Skelos and Silver, took them over.Glenwood did not return a message seeking comment.
Perhaps one of Cuomo's attack monkeys can nail the AP for running a "dopey thinkpiece"?