SYRACUSE, N.Y. – COR Development Co. officials on Saturday denied ever paying a cent to a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. But today state officials released a disclosure form on which that aide, Joseph Percoco, declared between $50,000 and $75,000 in income from COR Development.
Today, COR officials stood by their assertion that the company never paid Percoco.
Percoco is reported to be one of the targets of a federal investigation into Cuomo's Upstate economic development efforts. He worked as a top aide to the governor for years, and took a leave of absence for much of 2014 to run Cuomo's re-election campaign.
On a state-mandated financial disclosure form filed with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and made public today, Percoco listed COR along with the Cuomo campaign as one of his sources of income. According to the form, COR paid Percoco "consulting fees.''
The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is looking into whether Percoco received undisclosed outside income from companies doing business with the state, including COR, among other lines of investigation.
Asked about that report Saturday, COR officials said they never paid Percoco.
"COR Development did not hire, retain or pay Joe Percoco in any capacity, and intends to fully cooperate with any investigation into this matter," said Maggie Truax, speaking for the company.
Asked today about Percoco's filing, Truax said only that COR stood by its original statement. She offered no further explanation.
"Our statement stands as is,'' she said.
So COR Development says they never paid Percoco.
Percoco's disclosure form says they did.
Casey Seiler succinctly explained what that means:
Either Joe Percoco or COR Development is lying about his 2014 receipt of consulting fees. h/t @syracusedotcom pic.twitter.com/BnNw63Ucoh— Casey Seiler (@CaseySeiler) May 2, 2016
I bet Preet Bharara might be able to get to the bottom of who is lying - and why.
Here might be another interesting thing for Preet to pursue:
They say bc Percoco went off state payroll in April 2014, a month before filings due to JCOPE, they didn't require he file for year prior.— erica orden (@eorden) May 2, 2016
The more these Percoco matters get looked into, the more questions that get raised.
When it's journalists raising the questions, the Cuomo administration has been able to evade answering.
But of course, a US attorney with subpoena power is a whole different thing.
COR, btw, gave Andrew Cuomo a lot of money too:
Steven F. Aiello, COR Development's president and management member, has given Cuomo $65,000 in his own name since the beginning of the governor's first term in 2011, and his wife, Lori, gave $25,000. Three limited liability companies sharing a Fayetteville address gave a collective of more than $92,000, records show, and at least $65,000 in other gifts can also be tied to the company.
And, to make matters even more curious:
A young policy aide in the Cuomo administration, Steven L. Aiello, is Steven F. Aiello's son, a Cuomo spokesman confirmed. He had previously worked at the state Division of Homes and Community Renewal, and also worked as director of operations for Cuomo's 2014 reelection bid, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Subpoena away, Preet.