New York’s state government has committed millions of dollars in taxpayer support to News Corporation for a real estate deal -- less than three years after a subsidiary of that company gave New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo a book deal worth up to $700,000. The commitment was disclosed in documents released by the Port Authority -- an agency jointly controlled by Cuomo and New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
The documents say the Port Authority, News Corporation and 21st Century Fox “have received commitments from New York State” for a “one-time payment of $15 million in 2016 and the utilization of a $15 million” state tax credit as part of the agency’s push to make the companies “anchor tenants” for 2 World Trade Center. The documents say the transactions are part of an initiative to reduce News Corporation’s and 21st Century Fox’s rent payments at the new building by $155 million.
This is not the first time the Cuomo administration has moved to help News Corporation. IBT reported that before Cuomo was given the lucrative book deal, he signed tax legislation in 2011 that News Corporation lobbied on and that was expected to help one of its online publications. And in 2012, while News Corporation lobbied Cuomo’s office, he backed an expansion of controversial film and television tax credits that have benefited News Corporation’s films.
Cuomo’s office did not respond to IBT’s questions about the 2 World Trade Center transaction or the book deal, instead referring inquiries to the Port Authority. Amid a sprawling federal probe of corruption in Albany, the New York governor recently denounced lawmakers for accepting personal payments that might raise questions about conflicts of interest.
You know the story's a problem when Cuomo's flying attack monkeys don't respond to requests for comment with some snark .
In this one, they let Cuomo's man at the PA, Patrick Foye, defend the deal.
There may be nothing illegal about this deal and the PA deal says that News Corporation will have to pay back the subsidy by 2021 but IBT reports it will still cost taxpayers $9 million bucks.
There has been no indication that the feds are looking at the Rupert Murdoch/Andrew Cuomo connection or the book deal Cuomo got in which he received somewhere near $700,000 for writing a book that sold very few copies.
But this still feels like just another example of Cuomo playing the system and the residents of New York for suckers.