Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cuomo Drops Another $100K On Legal Expenses

From Capitol Confidential:

Cuomo, a Democrat known for his campaign fundraising prowess, raised $5.2 million over the past six months, leaving his political arm with $12.7 million on hand, according to records filed Wednesday with the state Board of Elections.

The governor’s campaign also reported $1.3 million in expenses, including $100,000 to a law firm that has represented Cuomo’s administration in an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a $120,000 bonus paid to his campaign manager and $25,000 for singer Aretha Franklin, who performed at a fundraiser for the governor last month.

$100K to a law firm that has represented Cuomo in an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office?

That needs more explanation:

The legal fees were paid to the New York City-based firm of Elkan Abramowitz, a white-collar defense attorney.

Abramowitz was hired last year to represent Cuomo’s administration in U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation related to the Moreland Commission, an anti-corruption panel abruptly shuttered by Cuomo in March 2014.

In a brief statement, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said the fees were “incurred for prior legal services.” The $100,000 payment went out last month, according to Cuomo’s filing.

$100K "incurred for prior legal services"?

How prior?

Last year, Cuomo's campaign dropped $110K to the same law firm for Abramowitz's representation of the administration in the U.S. Attorney's office probe.

So Cuomo has spent $210,000 on legal fees since he shuttered the Moreland Commission and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara picked up the investigation and began to probe the shutdown.

I know lawyers are expensive and all, but $210K in legal representation is a pretty nice chunk of change.

No wonder Cuomo keeps fund raising like he's running for a third term.

Legal representation is expensive.


  1. Eh. I don't see any tea-leaves here that are divining anything. A governor that plays, as a matter of policy, habit, and procedure, on the margins of legal and ethical behavior needs big-gun legal representation. I actually thought the numbers were kind of small. I know $210k is alot to us teachers, but Cuomo probably has that firm on a $100K per year retainer fee. Its not like such a politically powerful and astute firm is going to go with standard billing with a hyper-well-funded, plutocratic, neo-liberal, legally-on-the-fringe governor of the state of NY. No. They are going to require at least $100K per annum just to be there to receive a call.

    If ol' Preet were getting serious at laying down an indictment of Cuomo, I'd expect to see muuuuch higher lawyer fees. $210K shows me actually that Cuomo and his lawyers aren't that worried.

    1. That's assuming the $210K is all they're paying.

      They gave $120K to Joe Percoco as a "bonus".

      Joe Percoco wrote the statements for Moreland Commissioners to offer about how Cuomo didn't tamper with the investigation.

      Any chance the $120K to Percoco is less of a "bonus" and more of a "Here, use this to pay your legal fees"?

      That's one example of money that could be said to be going to one thing but actually going to something else.

      Also, if Cuomo was spending $100K in legal fees a year just to keep legal representation on retainer, why didn't that show up in his campaign finance filings until after the Moreland tampering investigation?

  2. Also keep in mind that hiring a firm like Abramowitz isnt so much like just hiring an lawyer because you slipped on the drug store steps. Its like buying an insurance policy. A firm like this doesn't just start their thing when the indictments roll....the actual defense in a courtroom is way down the line of how they'd help Cuomo. I'd say a big part of that $210K is about keeping a very close ear and eye on the Federal prosecutor's office. The high end legal community is relatively small and you can bet real peanuts that Abramowitz is gathering every scrap of info and dirt on Preet and everyone associated with this stuff, and will know a long way out of an indictment is forthcoming. Retaining Abramowitz is retaining an ear on the prosecutor's door. Now I know its easy to get caught up and have faith in all the artificial and mythical walls...the wall between the prosecutors office and state people, the walls of ethics, the walls of secrecy....all that. But its all in our head. Abramowitz knows people who know people who know people, who actually know people. Its all fluid. So the actual defense of Cuomo via legal apparatus and a courtroom is that last act of what Abramowitz provides. SO yeah, all things considered, $210K over 2 years is small peanuts for the best counter there is to a federal prosecutor. If poo actually comes in contact with the fan, well, you'll see muuuuuch higher numbers.