“We take any allegation very seriously, we’re not getting defensive,” Mr. Cuomo said today, recalling his own experience as New York attorney general. “What’s vitally important to me, not just as governor but as a person, is I want people to have full confidence and trust in the integrity of this government. Any relationship is only as good as the level of trust.”
The governor told the Observer that he had a “purely personal” conversation with Mr. Percoco just a few weeks ago. He also maintained that the state had treated every dollar it expended through the Buffalo Billion as “sacred” since the project’s inception, and argued the probe did not prove any kind of misconduct.
“The U.S. Attorney started an investigation for whatever reason, right? As attorney general, I started all sorts of investigations,” Mr. Cuomo said. “You get a tip, you get information, your job is to follow it up and conduct an investigation. It does not mean something bad happened. It means you have gotten a tip or some information that merits looking into. And that is a good thing.”
“All sorts of questions, all sorts of rumors. So, you get a tip, God bless you, follow it up. That’s just what I did as attorney general, that’s what the U.S. attorney should be doing,” he continued.
But his long, meandering answer also seemed to allow some malfeasance may have transpired.
“I’m realistic enough to know, in an operation this size, with this much money and this many players, it’s unrealistic to say ‘nothing bad is ever going to happen.’ People are venal. Some people have bad intent. Some people, frankly, are stupid. And things will happen,” he said. “What I can say is, ‘if and when something bad happens, we will have zero tolerance for any abuse. We will throw the book at anybody who does anything wrong.'”
Cuomo and his minions did everything they could to make the Buffalo Billion Project as opaque and secretive as possible.
Just ask Jim Heaney at Investigative Post, who was stonewalled at every turn by the Cuomo administration as he tried to report on Cuomo's economic development program for Buffalo (see here, here, here, and here.)
As for having "zero tolerance for any abuse," given the number of subpoenas that have gone out in the investigation, the project seems to have been rife with abuse, much of it coming from people very close to Andrew Cuomo himself (former aide Joe Percoco, former aide/lobbyist Todd Howe, SUNY Polytechnic's Alain Kaloyeros.)
So this whole performance by Cuomo was one big joke with laugh line after line.
The investigation appears to be very big and very wide.
Cuomo can try and bullshit the press and the public all he wants.
He's got an ambitious U.S. attorney who just watched the former state senate majority leader and the former assembly speaker get sentenced to prison time over corruption charges.
Somehow I doubt that U.S. attorney will be swayed by Cuomo's faux-earnest words.