Monday, June 27, 2016

Legal Fees In Cuomo Investigations Mount

From Jimmy Vielkind at Politico NY:

ALBANY — The state’s economic development authority is tripling the amount of money it’s spending to deal with a federal probe of the Cuomo administration’s Buffalo Billion, documents show.

Empire State Development voted on Thursday to amend its contract with WilmerHale, which has been advising the authority since it received a federal subpoena for records last summer.
The firm was originally retained for $200,000, but the amount was increased by $400,000 in the final minute of Thursday’s board meeting. The unanimous vote came after 40 minutes of discussion in executive session. 
The allocation by ESD is just one slice of taxpayer-covered legal payments related to Bharara’s probe. SUNY Poly has retained Richard Strassberg of Goodwin Procter, but a spokesman would not say how much he is being paid.

A spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month confirmed that Elkan Abramowitz is still representing the governor, as was the case with an earlier Bharara probe. It’s unclear if Abramowitz will be paid by taxpayers or from the Democratic governor’s campaign war chest.

And there is an outside inquiry by Bart Schwartz that Cuomo commissioned after his executive chamber was subpoenaed on April 29. Schwartz and his firm, GuidePost, are examining what took place and are reviewing ongoing payments.

His contract has not been finalized.

We have found that corruption is rife in a lot of institutions in New York and throughout New York,” Bharara said during a national TV interview.

“That’s true in the legislature. It’s also the case that there’s corruption, we believe, in the executive branches as well. And we’ll ferret it out wherever we find it.”

Clearly a bow shot at Cuomo, as well as de Blasio - no wonder the legal fee expenditures from Cuomo and his minions are mounting.


  1. How does the Supreme Court McDonnell decion impact on all of this? I am watching NY1 and Silver's attorney seems to think his case is covered by today's decision. What do you think?

    1. Bharara says no:

    2. I read the link and I am not sure what to think.

      On Monday, the Supreme Court seemingly handed both Silver and Skelos a gift: McDonnell’s conviction on honest services theft was vacated in a unanimous ruling.

      In the ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged the facts of the McDonnell case were “distasteful” — namely the governor arranging meetings at the behest of a donor who plied him and his wife with luxury gifts, vacations and a $177,000 loan.

      “But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute,” Roberts wrote. “A more limited interpretation of the term ‘official act’ leaves ample room for prosecuting corruption, while comporting with the text of the statute and the precedent of this court.”

      I'm going to read the decision when I have time.

    3. SDNY says they were aware of the impending SCOTUS decision and were careful to define "official act" more narrowly.

      The wiretaps in the Skelos case make that one hard to overturn. It's pretty obvious they're talking about bribery there.

      Silver's case is the one that I'm not sure about.

  2. Between Citizens United and McDonnell vs the United States, the supremes have got their backs ( of corrupt crony , pay for play politicians). Hey , who needs a justice system?