Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Let's List The Quid Pro Cuomo Deals (UPDATED - 12:05 PM)

Let's see, how many examples of Quid Pro Cuomo deals do we have in the public record?

The IBTimes reported Cuomo took $132,000 in campaign donations from JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup and gave them $3 billion in bond business in return.

The IBTimes reported Cuomo received at least $700,000 in compensation from News Corporation for his memoir, All Things Possible, "after Cuomo’s administration backed a series of state initiatives that benefited the media giant."

All Things Possible has sold slightly more than 3,000 copies.

Hacked Sony emails showed "Cuomo’s campaign pressing Sony to deliver $50,000 worth of donations before a July 15, 2014 campaign filing deadline as he ramped up his re-election campaign last summer."

Film industry executives have donated $900,000 to Cuomo since 2011 while the film industry receives $421 million a year in tax breaks from New York State.

Cuomo's quid pro quo relationship with the real estate industry was revealed last summer in the NY Times' Moreland Commission expose:

The Real Estate Board of New York’s power and influence over state government is, as a well-known Democratic operative put it, “about as new as hieroglyphics.” Albany politicians often transition into lucrative real estate careers, and Governor Andrew Cuomo is a tuxedo-clad fixture at REBNY’s annual gala. But an investigative story in the New York Times yesterday laid out the extent of the industry’s influence with Cuomo in the most explicit manner yet. The industry’s initial response to the story, however, suggests that it is unlikely to impact how REBNY does business.

The Times’ three-month investigation chronicles the tempestuous saga of the short-lived Moreland Commission, which was formed by Cuomo last July to crack down on public corruption. It details how Cuomo sought to block a subpoena that the commission intended to send to REBNY in order to investigate, among other things, the organization’s political donations, its materials related to the controversial 421-a abatement used by New York developers including Extell Development and Silverstein Properties, and its communications with public officials.

In the newspaper’s story, REBNY president Steven Spinola seems to make a direct connection between the financial support and the industry-favorable policy to which it gives rise.

In a memo to REBNY members seen by the newspaper, Spinola said that based on private meetings with Cuomo, the Senate majority leader [Dean Skelos or Jeffrey Klein] and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, he had come to a clear conclusion: REBNY’s “past efforts to maintain a personal and supportive relationship was critical in shaping the outcome” of legislation. “Our future ability to adopt favorable legislation, stop terrible legislation or modify legislation to limit the pain to our industry is directly tied to our continued positive relationship,” Spinola continued in the memo.

Cuomo's largest donor, Glenwood Management, is at the center of both the Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos corruption cases.

Cuomo received $1.5 million from Glenwood during the last campaign cycle.

Cuomo said he would continue to take money from Glenwood because they have done nothing wrong and besides, he's never met with anybody from Glenwood to discuss anything related to real estate.

Except that he has - at least three times.

Here's Gothamist:

It's been two days since Governor Cuomo told reporters that he has "never" talked about rent regulations with real estate company Glenwood Management—one of the state's largest political donors, best known these days for allegedly passing favors under the table to both Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Today, however, Capital reports that Cuomo appears to be suffering from selective memory loss: According to the Governor's public schedule, he actually met with Glenwood three times back in 2011 to discuss, you guessed it, "rent regulations."

In one of those meetings, the only people in the room were the governor, Glenwood President Leonard Litwin, and Senior VP Charles Dorego, the guy who just signed a non-prosecution agreement with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and consequently has Albany lawmakers shaking in their loafers.

New York City's rent regulation law is set to expire June 15th, along with 421-a, a '70s-era tax subsidy that favors large developers like Glenwood. For the past few months, housing advocates have been pushing for stronger rent regulation laws, and the abolishment of 421-a. Cuomo has spoken out in favor of renewing both.

It's worth noting that Cuomo received a combined $1.5 million in donations from Glenwood and Litwin, in his last election cycle. Just this week, an indictment against Skelos accused the Senate majority leader of supporting developer-friendly rent control legislation, in exchange for Glenwood paying his son, Adam, for doing very little.

And in January, Silver was accused of sending Glenwood business to law firm Goldberg & Iryami, P.C. in exchange for referral fees. Of Albany's notorious three men in a room, Cuomo is the last one standing.

As if all this doesn't look bad enough, Capital notes that Cuomo's Glenwood meetings took place in the leadup to June 2011, the last time rent control laws and 421-a were up for renewal. 

David Sirota from IBTimes with a little more on Cuomo and Glenwood:

Neither Cuomo's office nor Glenwood Management responded to International Business Times' request for comment about the governor's relationship with Litwin. But documents reviewed by IBTimes illustrate Cuomo’s role in the developer's state business.
The Cuomo-run New York State Housing Finance Agency, for instance, approved a $260 million state-supported low-interest loan in 2014 to finance Glenwood’s new luxury apartment building in midtown Manhattan. At the time the loan to Glenwood was approved, the NYHFA was headed by Cuomo appointee Bill Mulrow, an executive and registered lobbyist at Blackstone, a private equity and real estate firm. Mulrow was just appointed to be the governor’s chief of staff. According to NYHFA documents, Glenwood also has had other business with the agency.

And then there was the "ethics" deal Cuomo got out of former Assembly Speaker Silver and soon-to-be-former Senate Majority Leader Skelos in return for shutting down the Moreland Commission that was investigating Albany corruption and had uncovered some dirt on both Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos.

That ethics deal was so lukewarm that the NY Times reported not much had really changed afterward. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that prosecutors were investigating "whether New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo or his staff directed an anticorruption commission to not refer cases to district attorneys for prosecution, according to people familiar with the matter."

In addition, the WSJ reported that prosecutors

are investigating whether the Cuomo administration interfered in the commission's work, and why the commission was disbanded.

Finally, prosecutors have indicated they want to know whether the governor's office pressured several commissioners to issue statements in recent weeks disputing the notion the administration had interfered in its investigations, these people said.

This is the stuff that's in the public record.

I'm sure there's a lot more that we don't know about, but given the Cuomo's administration's official policy to delete emails after 90 days, a lot of that may never be revealed.

Unless US Attorney Preet Bharara has wiretaps on people in Albany.

Oh, wait - he does.

And maybe if US Attorney Preet Bharara has some bad players cooperating with the feds against Albany politicians.

Oh, wait - he does.

I dunno if the feds are actually going after Cuomo for all this corruption, but there sure is a lot of smoke around Cuomo and his merry minions.

Seems to me if the feds look at Cuomo as closely as they looked at Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, they'll find plenty to take him for an early morning police car ride downtown.


  1. Michael FiorilloMay 9, 2015 at 12:17 PM

    I'll be quite surprised if our Reptilian Governor is indicted by Bharara, but one potential side-benefit of the investigation is that, given the scrutiny he's under, Cuomo will be less likely to give the RSA what it wants concerning the soon-to-expire rent regulations here in the city.

    Democracy Now has reported that De Blasio is proposing to strengthen the rent regulation laws, and eliminate the de-regulation of apartments once they reach a monthly rent of $2,500 per month. Perhaps this investigation will weaken Cuomo enough that he no longer has the juice to derail what the Mayor is trying to do.

  2. I agree that Cuomo is not likely to be indicted. There just won't be a flagrant quid pro quo attached to him....wiretap recording, email, etc directly from him with his name on it. That's the thing we tend to forget. Because of the recent Supreme Court decisions, quid pro quo stuff has a really high bar. You need him saying on tape or something "I Andrew Cuomo will do this for X amount of money." That won't happen. Maybe an aide or something.

    Anyhow, in regards to him being politically weakened: well sure, to every satient, pulse-bearing homosapian, he is definitely weakened politically. BUT, he has shown time and again that as long as he exists as the governor, he doesn't see himself as weakened and refuses to act like it. Going into the budget talks all of us paying attention to the Ed stuff thought he was a little weakened....poll numbers, huge voices calling his ideas out, etc etc. Nope, he got everything he wanted and more.

    As long as he is governor he will not see himself as weakened. Period. He is as dangerous as a rabid wolf.

    The only position we should take with him as citizens, especially teachers etc, is that he needs to be removed from politics. Period. No lame duckery. No attempts to weaken. That should be the only acceptable vision.....though we have basically no voice in that!

  3. Do not overlook Quid Pro Quomo never mentioning Charters in his Jan. 2014 State of the State address--or his budget presentation. Then after an $800K donation Charters suddenly became his top priority for the session. Less than a week after the donation was received Quid Pro Quomo was hosting Evil Moscowitz on the steps of the Capitol and hosing Bill DeBlasio.