Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cuomo Took $400,000 From Real Estate Developer In Return For $35 Million In Tax Breaks

The Daily News first reported on Thursday that Governor Andrew Cuomo took $200,000 from a real estate developer in return for providing that developer with tax breaks totaling $35 million - $100,000 to his campaign account, $100,000 to a Democratic Party account that the governor used to run ads to tout his agenda.

The DN reported Cuomo officials vigorously denied on Thursday any quid pro quo between the donations and the tax breaks Cuomo provided for the company 

Today the Daily News reports Andy actually took $400,000 from the developer and companies associated with the developer at the same time he was providing $35 million in tax breaks for the company and now Cuomo's office has no comment about the story:

The city developer who donated $100,000 to Gov. Cuomo days before he signed a bill that would be a windfall for the company was a longtime Cuomo donor who became increasingly generous when it stood to make millions.

Ayala Barnett, the wife of Extell Development President Gary Barnett, and three corporations affiliated with Extell — Soho Love LLC, 53 West 46 LLC and Extell 26 LLC — made 11 donations to Cuomo totaling $147,100 between 2006, when he was running for state attorney general, and 2008, when he held the post.

But then Barnett pocketed his checkbook for four years. Come 2012, however, that changed — and so did the values of the checks, campaign finance records reveal.

By May 2012, Cuomo was governor and lawmakers were weighing a housing bill that would directly benefit Extell with tax breaks that would save the company $35 million over a decade on a Manhattan luxury tower.

In May and June 2012, Barnett and his wife made three donations to Cuomo, totaling $100,000.
This year, four companies tied to Extell gave Cuomo a combined $200,000. As the Daily News reported exclusively on Thursday, two of those donations were made shortly before Cuomo signed the bill in late January.

Cuomo aides declined comment Friday but previously said the bill was supported by the city and Legislature and insist donations do not influence the governor’s decisions.

The money didn’t end there. Just last month, two other corporations with Extell ties — West 33rd Street LLC and 112-118 West 25th Street LLC — gave Cuomo a combined $100,000, records show.

The $300,000 in Extell cash given to Cuomo since 2012 does not include $100,000 that The News reported Barnett gave to a state Democratic Party campaign account the governor was tapping to push his agenda. That contribution came on Feb. 19, less than three weeks after he signed the bill.

Extell and four other development companies that benefited from the legislation have been subpoenaed by a special commission created by Cuomo to investigate public corruption. He tasked the panel with looking into improper connections between donations and legislation.

An Extell rep said donations were made to Cuomo because he “has been a terrific governor” and insisted there’s “never been any quid pro quo with our political donations.”

A source close to Extell blamed the economic downturn for the smaller donations when Cuomo was attorney general, and said Extel didn’t contribute in 2009 and 2010 because the firm was in litigation with the AG’s office.

It is very interesting that Cuomo's people denied the initial DN story about a quid pro quo between the $200,000 in campaign donations they received from Extell in return for providing the company $35 million in tax breaks, but issued a "no comment" as the DN reports in a second story that donations from Extell are actually $400,000.

Perhaps the Cuomo people are hoping the story will go away or no one will notice the report.

It is, after all, a Saturday in August.

But Sheriff Andy just rounded up his Moreland Commission to look into the connection between campaign donations and legislation and you can bet the press will come back to ths story the next time Cuomo gives some press conference where he touts his record "cleaning up" Albany.

If there's anything Cuomo seems to be "cleaning up," it's campaign donations - he's cleaning them up right to his campaign coffers.

As I noted yesterday, Cuomo took $2 million from overseas gambling interests at the same time he was signing expanded casino operations into law.

And his PAC, the Committee To Save New York, took millions from corporate interests to run ads touting Cuomo's "pro-growth" (some would say anti-union) agenda on TV and in print.

Both the Committee To Save New York and Cuomo refuse to reveal who donated those millions to Cuomo's PAC fund.

The more the press digs into Sheriff Andy, the more dirt they seem to find on him.

And yet, Governor Andy isn't under investigation for campaign finance fraud, not for taking $2 million from gambling interests while signing legislation they wanted into law, not for taking $400,000 from a real estate developer in return for $35 million in tax breaks.

Meanwhile John Liu was destroyed over individual $700 campaign donations.

Interesting how that goes.

The corporate-crony Cuomo gets to gobble up millions in corporate money quid pro quo with impunity but the liberal John Liu gets extra scrutiny over chump change donations.

I maintain that Andy will get away with this stuff so long as he remains governor, but if he runs for president in 2016, he will get scrutiny that will bring this stuff to light.

Run, Andy run.
It would be good for the public to get a glimpse of what is under Sheriff Andy's hat.


  1. Under his hat? We know that already: a nest of snakes.

  2. Emperor Andy is closing hospitals in Brooklyn & causing a healthcare crisis all across the borough - all because certain real estate developers want the property that the hospitals sit upon. Wonder how much they paid him off to do that for them. I thought that Emperor Andy was against buying politicians with bribes --- and I thought it was illegal

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