A former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who is a focus of a federal public-corruption probe reported at least $70,000 in income from two companies that had business before the state and had contributed to the governor’s re-election campaign.
The federal investigation is looking at payments that Joseph Percoco, Mr. Cuomo’s former aide and re-election campaign manager, reported he received from COR Development Co. LLC, a developer, and CHA, a civil-engineering firm previously known as Clough, Harbour & Associates LLC, and whether the firms received beneficial treatment from the state, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Percoco’s annual financial disclosure statements show he received payments from both companies in 2014. He received between $50,000 and $75,000 from COR and between $20,000 and $50,000 from CHA, according to the reports.
During the time Mr. Percoco reported receiving the payments from these companies, he spent a large portion of the year working as campaign manager for Mr. Cuomo’s 2014 re-election bid, a period that coincided with a significant increase in donations to the governor’s campaign from CHA.
Between 2013 and 2014, Clough, Harbour & Associates donated $160,000 to Mr. Cuomo’s campaign, according to filings with the state Board of Elections. Before that, the one reported contribution from the firm to Mr. Cuomo was $1,000 in 2010. The company gave another $35,000 to the governor’s campaign in 2015.
In 2013, COR executives and LLCs affiliated with the company contributed $187,500 to Mr. Cuomo’s campaign, up from $60,000 in 2012 and $15,000 in 2011.
Before January 2011, the only contribution from those parties was a $5,000 donation from COR President Steven F. Aiello, in 2010.
Steven F. Aiello has a son, Steven L. Aiello, who currently works for the state's Division of Military and Naval Affairs as a project assistant but previously worked for Cuomo's re-election campaign.
COR reiterated yesterday that they never paid Percoco but Percoco's JCOPE disclosure form says otherwise.
Perhaps Preet never gets as high as Cuomo in this matter, perhaps Cuomo continues to have plausible deniability around the corruption allegations, the increased donations, the outside payments, the rigged bids and so forth.
Jim Heaney at Investigative Post writes that even if that is so, Cuomo's governing style invited this kind of corruption:
In short, the Cuomo crowd is obsessed with secrecy and operates with the mistaken notion that the rules don’t apply to them. The governor may or may not have knowledge of the supposed misdeeds of some of his associates, but he has most certainly created an environment that’s made state government susceptible to official misconduct.
The erased emails, the use of untraceable Blackberry PIN communication, the ignored FOIA requests - all show Cuomo running his administration not like a governing official but like an organized crime figure who doesn't want to end up on a wire or with his emails subpoenaed.
And if Cuomo or his minions get offended by the organized crime analogy, well, too bad.
That's exactly how they run things in the Cuomo administration, as we're seeing more and more in the Buffalo Billion and associated investigations.