ALBANY - Governor Andrew Cuomo faces some serious pay-to-play accusations.
The International Business Times reports that the governor took campaign contributions from three financial firms which then got contracts to manage state bond work.
That's against federal law.
The banks say the people who donated weren't the people who did the bond work, but experts say that defense wouldn't hold up under the law.
The pay-to-play accusations come on top of earlier revelations that Cuomo did indeed have face-to-face meetings with the Glenwood Management bagman who is at the center of the Dean Seklos corruption case after Cuomo claimed he had no contact with the firm or its lobbyists:
The Governor says that Glenwood is great. He says that Glenwood (biggest bundler in state history) has done nothing wrong. He says he going to continue to accept Glenwood contributions, now in excess of $1.2 million. And he says that neither he nor anyone from his staff has had anything to do with Charlie Dorego, the Glenwood executive who is now a cooperating witness for Preet.
We did this thing: We googled Andrew Cuomo and Charlie Dorego. It turns out that Charlie had several meetings with Andrew, including: “April 18, 2011: Meeting With Charlie Dorego and Richard Runes of Glenwood Management Re Rent Regulation.” This is from the Governor’s public schedule.We did this other thing: We talked to a friend of ours who was wired to the whole Committee to Save New York effort. It turns out that Charlie was a big part of that.We did yet another thing: We asked a person who used to be involved in Andrew’s fundraising operation whether Charlie was “a player” in Cuomo-land and the response was: “Big time.”But the Governor insists he and his people barely know ole’ Charlie D.
Cuomo was quite definitive yesterday that he had "nothing to do" with the Glenwood lobbyist:
Yesterday in Syracuse, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told Jimmy Vielkind of Capital New York he had “nothing to do” with Glenwood Management, the real estate firm whose money plays a supporting part in the federal corruption cases brought against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and current Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
“I’ve had nothing to do (with Glenwood),” Cuomo said, “except they’ve been political supporters of mine.”
Indeed: Through his network of LLCs, Glenwood’s founder Leonard Litwin has been the governor’s biggest donor, as well as the most generous supporter of a host of other politicians, including Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
“Have they ever talked about 421-a (tax abatements) or rent control?,” Vielkind asked, mentioning the two biggest agenda items for what remains of the legislative session. Both are up for renewal in June.
“No, never,” the governor said.
“They never mentioned that to you or your administration?,” Vielkind doggedly continued.
“No,” the governor said.
That "No, never" from yesterday became this after the revelation that he had at least three public meetings with Bagman Doregeo (as reported by Capitol Confidential):
Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said the governor’s memory failed him.
“The Governor did not remember off the top of his head three meetings from five years ago, two of which also included many other industry advocates,” Azzopardi said. “What is clear to everyone is that we emerged that year with the strongest rent regulation laws in decades, which included the creation of a tenant protection unit that has returned more than 37,000 unlawfully deregulated apartments to rent regulation.”
Ah, yes - his memory failed him.
NT2 blog, which initially broke the story that Cuomo had indeed met with Bagman Dorego in the recent past, wrote this:
“Think about it, Gov: If this stupid little blog could discover three sets of connections you have to Charlie D. in less than 20 minutes, what can Preet do with subpoenas and wiretaps?”
Couple the Bagman Dorego revelation with the pay-to-play accusations reported on by the IBTimes and Governor Cuomo had quite a day today.
Were Preet and the feds were watching (and perhaps listening) to all of this?
I bet they were.