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.