Zach Fink at NY1 has some new information on the story today:
Few argue that the billion-dollar investment Governor Andrew Cuomo promised in his 2012 State of the State address has boosted the city of Buffalo.
Construction is underway on a solar panel manufacturing plant, in which the state is investing $750 million. The construction contract to build SolarCity was awarded to developer Lou Ciminelli, a major financial contributor to Cuomo.
That contract is now being looked at by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who began probing the Cuomo administration after the governor prematurely shutdown his anti-corruption Moreland Commission.
"It suggests that they expect less oversight than there has been," said Jon Resnick of Competitive Advantage Research. "Likely, they did not expect to garner so much attention, first from the Moreland Commission and subsequently from the U.S. attorney."
Reznick is a researcher who tracks political donations. He looked into Ciminelli and his wife's contributions to the Cuomo campaign, which total just under $100,000. But when you add in a donation from a limited liability company, or LLC, known as Highland Park, that figure jumps to $123,000.
"Payment is in the amount of $25,000 in May of 2014. In February, the contract was awarded by Fort Schuyler Management, and in January, Lou Ciminelli in his own name made a contribution of the same amount $25,000," Reznick said. "So these bookend both before and after the contract award."
Donations bookending before and after the contract award.
And Cuomo admits he spoke to Ciminelli personally, so there's that too.
Perhaps everything was above board and no laws were broken here.
Or perhaps the message was sent that in order to play the contractor had to pay and now that Preet Bharara has the contractor under likely subpoena, more will emerge.
- Cuomo could have spoken to him every day. Nothing illegal about that.ReplyDelete
- Ciminelli gave Cuomo money. Nothing illegal about that.
- Ciminelli's giving bookended contracts. Very very bad looking.
- Cuomo's overall closeness with Ciminelli. Very bad looking.
Ugly things are not against the law. Especially laws crafted especially to make such quid pro quo activity un-prosecutable.
As always, it comes down to one simple, basic thing: Cuomo would have to have said or written (probably both) to Ciminelli during one of their meetings "for $X I will do Y." Any recordings, documents, or emails that prove this will likely never arise, as they likely never existed in the first place.
Cuomo and Ciminelli both knew every detail of the law. Thats the point. Laws on quid pro quo actually serve as a guide, even for the deeply dumb, on how to do quid pro quo.
There are also too many people that stand to gain jobs via this whole thing. Preet will never get traction here. That part of NY is shot. The vast bulk of the people of the area could care less how shady the deals were so long as they can have some economic hope.
Ciminelli has been subpoeaned, has said through a lawyer, he is not the target.Delete
It is plausible, then, that whomever he dealt with is.
May not be Cuomo, but almost certainly would be somebody close to him.
So you say, maybe Cuomo is smart enough to have covered all the bases here - but was often thought that Shelly Silver was that smart too.
So we'll see what happens.
Likely Kaloyeros goes and it goes no higher.
But you never know.
Our reptilian governor takes extraordinary care in covering his tracks (for example, making sure that he and his staff leave no email trail for FOIA inquiries).ReplyDelete
Therefore, while he suffers terribly from hubris - or perhaps better to say that we suffer from his hubris - which often causes/precedes a fall, I'd nevertheless still be surprised if Preet finds a smoking gun with Cuomo's claw prints on it.
That is, if Preet even cares to. Cynic that I am, I still have my doubts about whether Bharara is willing to remove someone who so diligently serves the Overclass.
I don't disagree that Bharara serves our overlords, but doing so doesn't mean he can't take Cuomo out too.Delete
Hochul will be just as useful to them as Cuomo, perhaps even more so.
Also would note that Bharara is out of the Schumer political shop, and we know how Schumer feels about Cuomo.
Listen, this could go as high as Kaloyeros and no higher - that's the likeliest outcome.
But the possibility remains, given what is being looked at here, that it could go higher too.
Another thing to think about here:ReplyDelete
Cuomo seems to be able to be bought cheap!!
While $123K/$100k/$25K all seem like big money to a broke-ass teacher like myself, thats really not alot of money on the level of a NY Governor and near billion dollar state contracts!
Its weird. For a $100k or so Ciminelli gets contracts for deep millions?
If the legal bar is simply "provide no written or recorded evidence of actual quid pro quo deal" why is Cuomo so damn cheap?
In all reality, if it weren't for this Governor's exterminationist stance on my career, $100k or so of shady money going back and forth out there doesn't really bother me too much. I mean, the Buffalo area is like New York's Detroit....if a near billion dollar economic stimulus is about to happen, I hardly care about some greased palms. I wish something like this would happen for us living in and near the downstate dead towns of Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Catskill, Kingston, etc etc.
I have some tolerance for a little organized crime. So what? A hyper-earnest society and government with no shadiness at all is not possible and arguably not beneficial to anyone. I like my garbage being picked up. Cuomo wanting my job to disappear makes me want this to sting him, but the level of shadiness here is not particularly high in the scheme of things.
$123K is what we know about. There may be more money routed through LLC's. That's the thing with the loophole - it makes tracking the money much more difficult.Delete
I am glad you have tolerance for organized crime, as the Ciminelli family has and is likely still connected to Buffalo's Cosa Nostra family: In 1991 he was listed as a co-defenant in a RICO suit against long time mob controlled LIUNA Local 210 in Buffalo. His name appears with known soldiers and associates of the Buffalo Crime family including Leonard Falzone, Dan Sansanese, Joseph Pieri, Peter Gerace, and Salvatore Caci. The Ciminelli family has been under investigation more than once. In 1986, LIUNA was going to bring suite against against 20 Buffalo area contractors and Ron Fino was told by Buffalo Family underboss Joe Todaro, Jr and consigliere Leonard Falzone that Frank Ciminelli (Louis' Father) was connected and all his companies were "off limits".Delete
It now appears L.P. Ciminelli is being investigated on another possible bid rigging charge involving the Culinary Institute project for Niagara County Community College.
Not linked to this article, but I just found out my school is giving a half day student attaendance on October 14th so they can administer the PSAT in the morning(we will be on a 3 hour delay). So when did private companies, the College Board specifically, get to determine what goes on in public schools? Slippery slope people, very slippery.ReplyDelete
I not a Cuomo fan, but I have to admit some of the reports lately about his 'scandals' smack of wishful thinking.ReplyDelete
The US attorney hitting his donors, SUNY Polytech and Empire State Development Corp w/ subpoenas looking into state contracts that were part of his Buffalo Billion project one of those "scandals" you consider "wishful thinking"?Delete
Givenhow Cuomo admin has done everything they can to hide the contract process, from ignoring FOIL requests to comparing a reporter asking questions about the process to "terrorism," doubtful that those in the know in the Cuomo administration think that...
I'm glad you're reporting on this, but, I think Preet won't do diddly. Preet just intimidated Assembly to get in line with Cuomo's agenda. Preet's a tool. No bite. Cuomo dug up dirt with Moreland investigation and turned it over to Preet to complete his blackmail/intimidation scheme. Preet did as he was told. Cuomo could do the fishing, but, he needed to be at arms length from actual prosecution to make it look legitimate. This part about Buffalo is just for show. It gets buried in the end. Cuomo is s turd, but, this doesn't take him down.ReplyDelete
What will take him down is his dumbass rush to Common Core. He is guaranteed to lose re-election b/c of it. That is, if the UFT stays off his panel. Joining the panel will cause us to take some of blame for keeping the common core. M
My apologies for going off topic.ReplyDelete
I truly feel that this video must go viral asap.
Jim Callaghan, former NY Teacher Journalist, Speaks Out About UFT Unity Corruption & Collusion
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