Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday insisted that he had neither been issued a subpoena or questioned by federal investigators in the ongoing investigation into the Buffalo Billion economic development program.
The Buffalo Billion economic development program was formed by the Cuomo administration as a way to boost the economy of western New York, long considered a laggard compared to the rest of the state.
But the spending — which has included large-scale construction projects in Buffalo and the western New York region in order to entice high-tech companies to settle there — has come under scrutiny from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office, which is reviewing the contracting process by SUNY Nanotech, as well as the request for proposal process performed for construction firm LP Ciminelli.
Cuomo also denied he had been issued a subpoena in the case, though he seemingly left the door open to his staff having been questioned in the case.
“He asked me if I have received a subpoena, I said no,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi later clarified in a statement, saying neither the governor nor his staff have been questioned or issued subpoenas in the investigation.
“To be clear, neither the Governor, nor his staff has been questioned or subpoenaed on the Buffalo Billion project,” he said. “Going forward any questions should be referred to the U.S. Attorney.”
Back in late January, three months or so before Dean Skelos was charged with corruption by the US attorney, here was a Skelos spokesman responding to reports that the US attorney was looking into him:
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.
Then in May, this:
Senate Majority Leader Deanrepeatedly used his official position as part of an expansive scheme to personally enrich his 32-year-old son, federal prosecutors alleged Monday in a six-count criminal complaint.
Using information gleaned from wiretaps, emails and search warrants, U.S. Attorneyaccused , 67, of backing certain bills and infrastructure projects supported by a real estate developer and a connected environmental company. In exchange, prosecutors say the companies provided his son, Adam, with jobs and payments exceeding $200,000 since 2010.The 43-page complaint from U.S. Attorney office marked the latest in a string of scandals that have shaken the state Capitol and threatened to throw the remaining two months of the legislative session into disarray., R-Nassau County, turned himself in Monday morning and appeared in federal court later in the day. He said he is innocent of the six felony counts he faces, including extortion, bribery and conspiracy charges.
So Cuomo saying he hasn't been subpoenaed in the Buffalo Billion probe and his flak saying no one else on his staff has either, well, that doesn't mean much.
If either Cuomo or people close to him are the targets of an investigation, they'll be the last guys to get contacted by the feds - kinda the way Skelos was.
There were 150 subpoenas and 80 witnesses interviewed in the Skelos case, but Dean and son Adam were, you know, last on the contact list.
But thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject, Sheriff Andy.