Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, August 8, 2016

Cuomo Associate Has Cooperation Deal With Preet Bharara

Have been waiting post-conventions for some Preet news.

Here is an interesting bit of it:

The corruption probe of Gov. Cuomo’s two longtime associates has taken a critical turn with Todd Howe, onetime lobbyist and longtime Cuomo family confidant, signing a “cooperation agreement’’ with US Attorney Preet Bharara, a source close to the investigation told The Post.

The agreement promises Howe, whose ties to Cuomo go back three decades, “favorable treatment’’ and “leniency’’ in the event that he’s criminally charged, in exchange for full details of his lobbying activities on behalf of several major state contractors with senior Cuomo administration officials.
Those officials include Joseph Percoco, Cuomo’s closest friend and top aide who is currently senior vice president at Madison Square Garden, the source said.

Howe has been interviewed by federal prosecutors “about six times,’’ most recently about two weeks ago, when he “traded something that has to do with Percoco’’ and provided information on the influential, Albany-based, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna law firm, with which he had been affiliated, the source said. 
Howe, who worked for Cuomo when the current governor was federal housing secretary under President Bill Clinton, was described by the source as isolated from friends and family and disconsolate as Bharara’s investigation continues to unfold.
“He doesn’t have a job and no one from Andrew Cuomo’s entourage will even deal with him,’’ said the source.

Cuomo claimed that he didn't have much to do with Howe in the recent past, but Tim Knauss discovered that he was showing up at Cuomo functions like this one:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A smiling Todd Howe was photographed, standing in the background, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo enthusiastically shook hands with the president of COR Development Co. during an October 2012 visit to Syracuse.

Four years later, Howe is no longer in the background. The Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist is front and center in a federal investigation of Cuomo's Upstate economic development projects, according to published reports.

Another person named in the federal probe is Joseph Percoco, Cuomo's former executive deputy secretary, who appears with Howe in the background of the 2012 photo from Syracuse.

The photo was taken during sunnier times for Cuomo's Upstate economic initiatives, years before U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's investigation raised a cloud of suspicion.

The picture captures the role that Howe has apparently been playing for years in Syracuse economic development projects. Since the federal probe became publicly known, Howe's image has emerged as an affable guy to see for help in getting state funding or access to Albany power.

In the foreground of the 2012 photo, Cuomo shakes hands with Steven Aiello, president of COR, a Fayetteville company. COR is one of more than 20 companies about which Bharara has subpoenaed information from the Cuomo administration, according to reports.

Howe was also used as the "hand model" for Mario Cuomo's portrait in Albany:

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo claims he barely knows a fired lobbyist under federal investigation — yet he was close enough to the family to be the secret hand model behind Mario Cuomo’s official portrait, The Post has learned.

The liberal legend Mario had scoffed for years at having his likeness hung among the Empire State’s other leaders, so Andrew went behind his back to have the work secretly created from a 1989 photograph.

But the artist demanded it include Mario’s hands clasped on his knee, even though the photo didn’t clearly show his mitts.

“The artist insisted that he needed to see the Governors [sic] hands to paint them,” Howard Glaser, Andrew’s former director of state operations and Mario’s senior advisor, wrote in a private Facebook post obtained by The Post.

Enter Todd Howe, who is being probed by the feds for lobbying work he did for three firms that are part of the Cuomo administration’s economic-development program, the Buffalo Billion.
He raced down to the painter’s Maryland studio and literally lent a hand.

“The artist painted Todd’s hands into the painting to complete the work. So, yeah, it’s actually Todd Howes hands you see painted in the final portrait!!!!! Classic!” Glaser wrote.

Peter Cutler, a former Cuomo spokesman who is also named in a federal subpoena, replied, “Todd told me, saying it was pretty nerve-wracking — as I’m sure we can all understand,” he wrote.

“Thank God GAMC [Governor Andrew Mark Cuomo] pushed to get the portrait done & installed.”

The artist, Simmie Knox — who also did official portraits for then-President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary — recalled Howe giving guidance on how they wanted the painting done, but clammed up when he found out that the lobbyist was under a federal probe.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented the painting to his dad as a birthday gift at a 2012 ceremony.

Cuomo distanced himself from Howe in May and in June, claiming he and Howe were not "close."

The record appears to contradict that Cuomo assertion.

Whether Howe is telling tales on Cuomo or just providing evidence against Percoco and the entities involved in state contracting, well, that's hard to say.

Fred Dicker's piece says Howe is promised "'favorable treatment' and 'leniency' in the event that he’s criminally charged, in exchange for full details of his lobbying activities on behalf of several major state contractors with senior Cuomo administration officials."

The phrase leaves "senior Cuomo administration officials" is the interesting thing there.

That may mean people around Cuomo, or previously around Cuomo (like Percoco.)

But, since Cuomo has been known to leak anonymously to the press under the moniker "a senior Cuomo administration official," it also could mean Cuomo himself.

Time will tell whether Cuomo is actually the target of all of this or if Bharara gets to his inner circle without touching Cuomo himself.

So far, we have no direct indication that Cuomo is in any legal jeopardy.

But you can bet that if the Cuomo people didn't already know that Bharara has Howe wrapped up with a cooperation agreement, they're not happy now that the news is in Dicker's column in the NY Post.

Because who knows what Howe is telling Bharara now that he's cooperating.


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  3. Do you think Bharara feels any pressure to push the investigation so he can issue whatever indictments he can before Hillary's inauguration? What do you think the likelihood is she will let him stay on?

    1. The systems is rigged by party bosses. Bharara's future depends on party bosses. Bharara is a party slug. We do not have a system of justice. We have a system of racketeering. Cuomo and his thugs have been granted impugnity by the Obama Clinton crime syndicate. Everyone thinks Trump is a lunartic, but the alternative criminal racketeering is as disturbing as Trump triumphalism.

    2. I'm not going to contradict you, but I'd still like an answer to the question.

    3. I do not think Cuomo will be indicted by Bharara. This is my realistic assessment of our very corrupt legal system that is a design for injustice.

      Here is an interesting article about the political legal history behind Citizens United:

      SUNDAY, AUG 14, 2016 03:30 PM EDT
      From corporate lawyer to corporate critic: Ciara Torres-Spelliscy dissects Citizens United

  4. Vote third party!

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