Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Former Moreland Commissions Erupt In Fury Over Cuomo's Interference In Panel Work

I don't know how deeply US Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara intends to probe Cuomo and his aides over their interference into the Moreland Commission work, but from accounts of former Moreland Commissioners given to Ken Lovett in the Daily News, it seems there's a lot there:

ALBANY - Some members of Gov. Cuomo's short-lived anti-corruption commission are angry and bitter.

The Daily News spoke to close to 10 sources tied to the soon-to-be-defunct panel, and a number of them denounced what they said was interference from Cuomo's office.

Others expressed frustration that Cuomo pulled the plug before the panel could finish its work.
All asked for anonymity for fear of blowback from the governor.

One commission member was so angry that he wouldn't take a call from The News, signaling through a secretary that he was afraid of what he might say.

Another source called it the worst time in her professional career.

"It was an exercise in frustration," said a third source.


The commission formed to root out corruption in state government was often divided, with the investigators on one side and Cuomo's $175,000-a-year executive director Regina Calcaterra on the other.

"There was no trust there," said the first commission source. "It was pretty widely understood that anything Regina Calcaterra knew, it would immediately be on the desks of" top Cuomo aides Larry Schwartz and Mylan Denerstein.

Denerstein was described as "measured" but Schwartz as aggressive. "I heard the word 'bully' mentioned more than once," said the source.

The panel's zeal to investigate was repeatedly curbed by the governor's office, the source said.
The commission wanted to subpoena prior ethics complaints from its ineffectual predecessor, the Legislative Ethics Commission, but was ordered not to, sources said.
And as they probed how lawmakers spend their campaign money, commissioners wanted to send subpoenas to vendors like hotels or florists to see what was purchased.
The subpoenas never went out, the sources said.
The frustration mounted when subpoenas were held back from entities with ties to Cuomo, including the powerful Real Estate Board of New York.
Another subpoena earmarked for the state Democratic Party was initially killed. And one that had actually been served on the ad firm the party used to promote Cuomo's agenda was rescinded after Cuomo aides erupted in fury, the sources said.

The Lovett News article goes on to say that Cuomo's people really tried to derail the commission after it released an "explosive preliminary report" in December - for example, the Cuomo administration deliberately let a contract with a company that provided advanced data analytics to expire just as commissioners were getting a handle on how to use it for investigations.

Then the chief investigator for the commission, Danya Perry, resigned in protest over the Cuomo administration's interference in the commission's work.

By the end of the year, Cuomo was looking for any old excuse to shut the commission down because it had become a "liability" for him - both with the work it was doing on legislators and the headaches it was giving him over his own donor connections.

It seems pretty clear that Cuomo was hiding something from the commission by refusing subpoenas go out to his own donors like the REBNY and that he didn't really want the commission finding anything too "explosive" on the legislature either.

In short, the Moreland Commission was supposed to be a "rubber stamp" committee for him, the way his "Common Core panel" was, but Moreland Commissioners were taking the work seriously, something Cuomo didn't want or like.

That's why he shut it down after declaring victory on ethics reform with the lame ethics reform package he got passed into the state budget last month.

As I said earlier, I don't know how intent Bharara is on investigating Cuomo and his interference in the commission's work, but if he's willing to go there, I would bet a couple of Danielson artifacts that there's dirt to be found on Cuomo.

There's a reason why Sheriff Andy wanted to shield his own donors from subpoenas, there's a reason why they steered the commission to subpoena some individuals and entities and ignore others, there's a reason Cuomo wanted the commission shut down in December after the "explosive preliminary report."

Cuomo likes to play as if he's the Sheriff of Albany, out to clean up the rot and corruption in the capital, but the truth is, he's as dirty or dirtier than anybody else there.

It would be nice if we finally got some independent investigator to take on the investigative work and scrutinize the governor the way he deserves to be scrutinized.

Is Preet Bharara going to be that independent investigator?


  1. The abrupt shutdown of the Commission was surprising, immediately suggesting that it was not the the PR and negotiating weapon that our Reptilian Governor intended it to be.

    It's hard to imagine that there aren't players in both parties who would like to see the man go down. In the past, he was always his own worst enemy, and he has been skilled/fortunate in controlling his political narrative in recent years.

    That good political fortune is going to run its course, as it has for Christie, and maybe everyone will see what a nasty piece of work Cuomo is, and he too will have a swift fall.

  2. Sheriff Andy overextending himself like Caesar. His 22 Danielson Domains will crumble sooner rather than later.

  3. Nope, Preet Bharara is also a player. So, dount on Preet to fudge the investigation while double-speaking about how justice is capitalism. That is just how crony capitalism works under our plutocracy.