Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo insisted again Thursday the federal probe of his administration is limited to just “several” individuals, though he acknowledged his information about the extent of the investigation is not based on information received from the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Cuomo officials have sought to portray the investigation as centered chiefly on Joseph Percoco and Todd Howe, two individuals who worked for years under Cuomo and whom he relied upon for everything from political assistance to advance work for events.
At an event Thursday morning in Springville, the governor was asked why he continues to insist that Percoco and Howe are the investigation’s subjects when prosecutors issued so many subpoenas and requests for information to various state agencies, state officials and at least a couple of dozen individuals and companies in various private sectors.
Has Bharara signaled that the investigation of the Buffalo Billion program is not a sweeping one but is looking chiefly at Percoco and Howe?
“No, but I was the former AG (attorney general), I’m a former prosecutor. Just because someone is … asked questions doesn’t mean they are the subject of an investigation, right? So you talk to hundreds of people when you are looking into something because you want to find out the facts. That doesn’t mean hundreds of people are involved. As far as I know, the actions of several individuals are the basis of the inquiry.”
Here's Yancey Roy's report on just what Bharara is looking at in the federal investigation into the Cuomo administration:
ALBANY — The federal probe of New York development initiatives is broader than the Buffalo Billion projects, the highest-profile piece of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s upstate economic strategy.
Investigators have subpoenaed the governor’s office for records of communications with about 20 companies, a source confirmed, that were involved in projects in Buffalo as well as in Syracuse, Albany and the Hudson Valley. They’ve sought communications from high-ranking Cuomo officials, including Bill Mulrow, the governor’s secretary and top adviser; Jim Malatras, the director of state operations; and Gil Quinones, head of the New York Power Authority, the source said.
Beyond the governor’s office, investigators have subpoenaed agencies that regulate solar power and implement solar initiatives, the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, which has been the guiding force in a number of state-backed high-tech ventures, and Empire State Development Corp., the state’s economic-development arm.
The named companies have been engaged in ventures ranging from a major solar-panel factory in Buffalo to a film hub in Syracuse to a dormitory in Albany to a power plant in Orange County. They also touch on a proposed “inland port” and redeveloping an old NYNEX building in Syracuse and loft apartments in Albany.
The companies, according to a source and to companies that have acknowledged separate subpoenas, include: six full-service development and real estate companies, three real estate firms, three engineering/architecture firms, two manufacturers, two lobbying firms, a power-plant company, a construction firm and a cellphone tower/communications company.
And the companies:
Cuomo's current top aides, Cuomo's former top aides, Cuomo associates, Cuomo donors - all subpoenaed in this investigation.
In addition, the feds appear to be looking at the way contract proposals were getting written up so that only Cuomo donors could win them
But Cuomo says it's just limited to Percoco and Howe.
You keep telling yourself that, Governor.
Maybe you'll come to believe it.
Doubtful the feds will, however.