Gov. Cuomo’s scandal-wracked office is in “lockdown’’ with tight-lipped aides fearful that US Attorney Preet Bharara’s ongoing investigation of former top Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco and lobbyist Todd Howe may snare other officials, administration sources have told The Post.
Some senior Cuomo aides, waiting for the next shoe to drop, have stopped taking calls from other high-level state officials and many, including longtime loyalists to the governor, are talking privately about lasting damage to their reputations from what they believe is Bharara’s widening probe, the sources said.
“Cuomoland is in lockdown,’’ said a source close to Cuomo’s office.
“There’s a palpable sense that no one knows who to trust, that they don’t know who was involved with what, and who is saying what to whom.
“The investigation has wreaked havoc on the internal relationships and the function on the second floor, which I assume is what the investigators want in order to get people to turn on each other,’’ the source said, referring to the location of Cuomo’s office at the Capitol.
Given the information Bharara has subpoenaed on the Cuomo administration, it is with good reason that fear permeates Cuomo's office.
Dicker writes that Cuomo has stopped communicating as directly with staff and others, as he has in the past, perhaps worried that Bharara's listening in on communications or will subpoena them after the fact.
That's probably a realistic fear on Cuomo's part, since Tom Precious reported Sunday that:
Bharara wants to see what the administration has been saying internally about the now expanding Buffalo Billion probe. The subpoena seeks “all documents or communications related to the investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office” that are in possession of Cuomo’s office.
Also, Thursday's comments by Bharara after the Dean Skelos sentencing apparently struck fear throughout the office.
The comments were seen as a hit at Cuomo over his Moreland Commission shutdown:
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara sought to bookend the Silver and Skelos sentences. “While Silver and Skelos deserve their prison sentences, the people of New York deserve better,” Bharara said in a statement.
His next comment captured even more attention.
“These cases show – and history teaches – that the most effective corruption investigations are those that are truly independent and not in danger of either interference or premature shutdown. That will continue to be our guiding principle in exposing and punishing corruption throughout New York,” Bharara said.
That was a not-so-subtle jab at Gov. Andrew Cuomo on two fronts. Bharara has been sharply critical of Cuomo’s decision in 2014 to shut down an anti-corruption commission at the time it had several open investigations.
The comment also comes after Cuomo two weeks ago said he was hiring a private lawyer to run an internal investigation of the Buffalo Billion economic-development program. That announcement came hours after Bharara issued a subpoena to Cuomo’s office – which left his administration reeling – for a range of information about the Buffalo Billion and other matters, including questions about possible wrongdoing by two longtime and trusted advisers to the governor.
Good to see these people in fear, wondering who's wired, who's dropped a dime, who's ready to drop a dime and who might be next for arrest.
It couldn't happen to a nicer, more deserving bunch of people.