Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cuomo Approaches Teacher Evaluations With Same Illiteracy He Uses For His Economic Development Programs

It's been quite the couple of weeks for Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo, who likes to spend his days finding new ways to torture Bill de Blasio, found himself on the end of some of his own torture in the form of state and federal audits of some of his signature economic development programs as well as a legislative hearing that laid bare the failures of another one of his signature economic development programs.

First came state audits conducted by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli which were critical of Cuomo's economic development program compliance and accountability mechanisms:

The governor escalated yet another feud with yet another fellow Democrat after an unrelated press conference in the Bronx this afternoon. Responding to a series of unflattering summertime analyses of his signature programs, Cuomo bashed DiNapoli’s two-decade tenure representing parts of Nassau County in the Assembly and argued that history discredited the comptroller’s assessments.

The governor did not specifically attack any particular proposals the comptroller voted on in Albany but insisted the Assembly had been “part of the problem” and had “basically abandoned upstate New York.”

Cuomo’s slap at DiNapoli was a reaction to the comptroller’s findings earlier this month that the New York Power Authority, which was supposed to dispense power to struggling nonprofits and entrepreneurs at discounted rates under the governor’s Recharge NY program, had made numerous errors when assessing applicants’ eligibility. This meant noncompliant entities got cheap electricity from the state anyway, while groups that qualified for the program were barred from participating.

The governor appoints the power authority’s entire board.

That audit followed the comptroller’s July takedown of the Empire State Development Corporation, another Cuomo-controlled public-private venture, and its Excelsior jobs program. DiNapoli found that the development corporation had repeatedly handed out large tax breaks to companies without obtaining the necessary documentation to corroborate their eligibility or productivity.

Cuomo claimed DiNapoli's audits were not quantifiable but were instead "opinions":

“What you’re getting in an audit is that person’s opinion, right?” the governor said. “Sometimes I agree, sometimes I disagree, because it is only an opinion.”

Except that the state audits weren't "opinions":

The comptroller’s audits of Recharge NY and the Excelsior program were, in fact, based on numbers and hard data his office obtained from the NYPA and ESDC, from the businesses they worked with, and on eligibility requirements Cuomo’s own initiatives established. A DiNapoli spokeswoman refused to respond to the governor’s personal attacks.

“The reports completed by our professional auditors speak loudly for themselves,” said Jennifer Freedman, communications director for the comptroller.

Nice work by the governor there to take an audit based on numbers and hard data from Cuomo-controlled entities like NYPA and ESDC and turn them into "opinions", eh?

Later on, Cuomo tried a diversionary tactic to defend against the state audit findings:

Facing numerous analyses showing his signature jobs programs misallocated resources and put few New Yorkers to work, Gov. Andrew Cuomo argued today that any such assessments are only a matter of political point of view.

Speaking after an unrelated event in the Bronx, the governor defended his attacks last week on state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who released unflattering audits of two Cuomo programs this summer. The governor again insisted that those findings were just DiNapoli’s opinions, opinions which are open to debate given the comptroller’s history as an assemblyman from Long Island.
“I said these are matters where people give their opinion. I have certain opinions that are my opinions. I believe in marriage equality, right? I believe in $15 as a minimum wage. You could not believe—there are assemblymen who don’t agree with me, there are senators who don’t agree with me on the minimum wage. And if they write a report, they’re going to say my minimum wage idea was a bad idea, because they disagree with it. And that’s fine—that’s democracy. And assemblymen take positions during the course of their tenure. And some people support minimum wage, some people don’t support minimum wage. Some people don’t support economic development. There are people in the Assembly who say there is no economic development possible, leave it to the private sector. So you get opinions,” the governor said. “It’s a matter of opinion on many of these issues, and there’s no right or wrong. That’s why we have elections; that’s why we have debates. Donald Trump thinks one thing. Hillary Clinton thinks another thing.”

How any of this commentary was relevant to the Observer’s specific question about DiNapoli, a well-known liberal Democrat, is unclear. The audits the comptroller’s office produced had nothing to do with gay marriage or with the state’s new pay floors, but with Cuomo’s Recharge NY and Excelsior programs.

Of course none of that nonsense Cuomo spewed about the minimum wage or gay marriage had anything to do with the questions about the state audits and Cuomo's lame defense that they were "opinions."

Rather this nonsense was pure diversionary tactic - "Hey, look over there!  Gay marriage! Minimum wage hike!  Whee!  Yayy Cuomo!" - not a reasoned defense of his economic development programs to the scathing audit findings.

And again, as Will Bredderman at the Observer shows, DiNapoli's audits were anything but opinion:

Recharge NY, run through the Cuomo-controlled New York Power Authority, was supposed to dispense power to struggling nonprofits and entrepreneurs at discounted rates. But DiNapoli’s auditors found NYPA had made numerous errors when assessing applicants’ eligibility—meaning noncompliant entities got cheap electricity from the state anyway, while groups that qualified for the program were barred from participating.

The governor appoints the power authority’s entire board.

That audit followed the comptroller’s July takedown of the Excelsior jobs program, run through the Empire State Development Corporation, another Cuomo-controlled public private entity, and its Excelsior jobs program. DiNapoli discovered that the development corporation had repeatedly handed out large tax breaks to companies without obtaining the necessary documentation to corroborate their eligibility or productivity.

The comptroller’s audits of Recharge NY and the Excelsior program were based on numbers and hard data his office obtained from the NYPA and ESDC, from the businesses they worked with, and on eligibility requirements Cuomo’s own initiatives established.

But hey, what's some hard data and numbers taken from Cuomo's own entities when you can be diverting with some nonsense about gay marriage?

Cuomo tried a similar nonsensical defense with a federal audit this week that found New York State wasted $22 million dollars in Sandy funds:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo slammed President Barack Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development today for alleging New York mishandled $22.4 million in hurricane relief funds from Washington—insisting that his administration understands federal law better than Obama’s.

Cuomo, a Democrat who headed HUD during the Clinton administration, lashed out at an audit by Obama’s inspector general for the agency while addressing the press after an unrelated event in the Bronx this morning. IG David Montoya’s office found that Cuomo’s  Office of Tourism and Marketing did a poor job meeting the requirements of the block grant money it received in the aftermath of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.

But the governor argued that Montoya and his staff don’t understand HUD rules.

“Some federal person, entity, did an audit. We believe they misread the law, and misread the regulations, about how the funding should be spent, and so we’re contesting their opinion,” he said, boasting of his administration’s response to the disaster. “During Hurricane Sandy, we expended billions and billions of dollars, literally. In the handling of the emergency and the construction and the aftermath, trying to get people to come back to the effected communities. So I’m very proud of what the state did.”

So what did the federal audit find?

In particular, Montoya’s auditors discovered that the state handed millions for marketing and promotions to the Empire State Development Corporation—a Cuomo-run public-private organization—and the city of Long Beach on Long Island without first obtaining an independent analysis of the costs of their respective programs. It also determined the state did not get sufficiently detailed budgets from either ESDS or Long Beach on how the federal dollars would get spent.
“State officials did not always establish and maintain financial and administrative controls to ensure efficient and effective program administration,” the audit report reads. “We attribute these conditions to State officials not placing sufficient emphasis on ensuring compliance with all procurement requirements.”

Montoya’s office brushed off Cuomo’s criticism.

“We believe that the audit speaks for itself, period,” said spokesman Darryl J. Madden. “Throughout the audit process the state was given ample opportunity to comment on our findings and results.”

Another scathing audit, this time federal, but same lame defense tactic from Cuomo - the audit's bullshit, it wasn't done right, we did everything we were supposed to do, etc.

But notice, Cuomo never uses any facts, figures or hard data in his defense against these audits - all we get are personal attacks and diversionary tactics.

The audits came on the heels of a legislative hearing that took another signature Cuomo economic development program to task - the infamous START-UP NY program:

ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top economic-development official on Wednesday bemoaned a wave of skepticism surrounding Start-Up NY, a state program that created just 408 new jobs in its first two years despite a $53 million advertising campaign.

Over more than two hours of questioning, a bipartisan group of state Assembly members grilled Empire State Development President and CEO Howard Zemsky about the much-debated jobs program at a hearing Wednesday on the state's efforts to boost its economy.

Zemsky was defiant as lawmakers repeatedly questioned the effectiveness of the Start-Up program, which allows qualifying businesses to operate free of state and local taxes for a decade if they set up shop in pre-determined zones, mostly at State University of New York campuses.

He repeatedly characterized Start-Up as a single "tool" in the state's economic-development "toolbox" and suggested criticism of the program is outsized and unfounded.

Cuomo and state lawmakers approved the Start-Up program in 2013, and the state spent $53 million promoting it with television advertisements in and out of state in 2014 and early 2015. The governor referred to the program as a potential "game-changer" and "catalyst for economic development" in upstate New York.

Empire State Development, which oversees the program, faced significant criticism after it was three months late in releasing a required annual report on Start-Up's progress.

That report, which was ultimately released on the Friday evening ahead of the July 4 weekend, showed the program created 332 new jobs in 2015, on top of 76 in its first year. The legally required information on Start-Up was confined to a few pages and a footnote within a broader report on the state's economic development program.

$53 million dollars, 408 jobs - but the Cuomo administration defends the program, calling criticism of the program outsized and unfounded.

Let's see, $53 million divided by 408 is $129,901 a job - yeah, that's quite an achievement in economic development.

How anybody defends that kind of program with a straight face is beyond me, but that's what you have to do if you're a member of the Cuomo administration and you've got all these failures on your hands and independent officials and/or entities scrutinizing them (as opposed to the Cuomo shills Cuomo is used to having prop up his record for him.)

In addition to all of this, the criminal investigation into another Cuomo economic development program, the Buffalo Billion Project, continues apace, with one former Cuomo crony, Todd Howe, reported to have dropped a dime on other Cuomo cronies, including former top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco and SUNY Poly head Alain Kaloyeros.

When the indictments in that case come down, Cuomo will be the subject of another scathing expose into his economic development program expertise, this one at the hands of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, but I'm sure we'll get defense tactics out of Cuomo similar to the one's detailed above here.

Which brings me, finally, to my point about teacher evaluations here in New York State under Governor Cuomo.

Not so long ago, Cuomo claimed the old teacher evaluation system in New York State was too easy for teachers, not enough teachers were being declared ineffective and the whole thing needed an overhaul.

So, overhaul it got, though no one is quite sure what the overhaul has in it - Cuomo used the same numerical illiteracy he uses in his economic development programs for this new "scientific" teacher evaluation system.

And the best catch is, budget funds for schools are tied to the whole mess: 

School districts are still on the hook to evaluate every teacher, the results can still be used to make decisions about educators’ futures, and a 2015 law is about to require a host of new rules. And with just days left in this year’s legislative session, it’s becoming clear that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has little desire to see that change.

“This is a major issue that is right now going ignored,” State Senator Todd Kaminsky said. “People are saying it’s a time-out and it’s not.”

The strange situation came about because legislators passed a law overhauling the state’s teacher evaluation system last year to put more emphasis on state tests — and then education policymakers walked it back, banning state test results from being used altogether.

Lawmakers were responding to Cuomo’s view that too many teachers were earning top ratings. The state education department was listening to a growing movement of educators and parents upset about the growing influence of state tests.

In the end, the state education department decided teachers would get two evaluations. Next year, one will include state test scores but have no consequences. The real evaluations will use different metrics and can affect teacher tenure and firing.

Within those frameworks, districts and their teachers unions will have to agree on key details and those negotiations are ongoing.

“We are working with districts across the state to support their efforts as they complete their contract negotiations and to provide them as much flexibility as possible within the law,” State Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said.

But many had hoped that lawmakers would agree to scrap the universally unpopular 2015 law by now, making it unnecessary for districts to negotiate the details of the two new plans at all. So far, that hasn’t happened — and since there are just three days left in the legislative session, few think change is on the way.

“The big hangup is obviously the governor’s office,” said Assemblyman Edward Ra, who supports repealing last year’s law. “It really creates a little bit of a mess for everybody.” (Officials from Cuomo’s office did not say whether the governor would support changes to teacher evaluations.)
Now, it’s up to school districts like New York City to work out the details of new evaluation plans with their teachers unions. Barring a big change in the next few days, they are facing a tight timeline: They need an agreement by Sept. 1 or they risk losing state funds.
What a mess - a Cuomo-created mess - and yet, somehow this child-man remains in power, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars, issuing idiotic attacks and lame defenses when those expenditures are scrutinized, and continuing on to do more an more damage to the state.

One thing is pretty certain from all of this:

We have yet to get an independent audit of Cuomo's education policies that he's imposed on the state via the budget process (including teacher evaluations), but you can bet that if/when we get one, it will be as scathing as the ones we got on his economic development programs.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cuomo Looks To Take Out De Blasio In Election But Ought To Be Looking Over His Own Shoulder

This showed up in the NY Times today:

Maybe it was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s rough week at the Democratic National Convention, when he was relegated to a daytime speaking slot and upstaged by his archrival, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg.

Maybe it was the drumbeat of bad news related to the multiple federal and state investigations swirling around City Hall. Or maybe it was a recent poll suggesting that half of New York City voters believe Mr. de Blasio does not deserve to be re-elected to a second term.

Whatever the reason, members of New York’s political class have turned their attention to the 2017 mayoral race, or more precisely, to the question of whether Mr. de Blasio will even face a serious challenge when he seeks re-election.

While the recent poll, released this month by Quinnipiac University, found that a majority of respondents disapprove of Mr. de Blasio’s performance as mayor, none of his obvious potential opponents fared well against him in hypothetical matchups.

The poll’s findings, however, suggested that there may be an opportunity for a Democrat running as an independent against Mr. de Blasio in the general election, perhaps after a strong but losing run in the Democratic primary or after skipping the primary altogether.

The piece goes on to suggest that one third party option against de Blasio in the general could be - wait for it - Cuomo's fake women's party:

The poll results showed that Mr. de Blasio would handily beat two prospective challengers — Christine C. Quinn, the former City Council speaker who ran against him in 2013, and the city comptroller, Scott M. Stringer — in a primary. But it also showed a closer race if either Ms. Quinn or Mr. Stringer ran as an independent in the general election, although the survey’s questions did not reflect the presence of a Republican candidate, which may have affected some voters’ responses.

“I am certain somebody somewhere is going to challenge the mayor,” said Rachel Demarest Gold, acting state chairwoman of the Women’s Equality Party, a third party closely aligned with Mr. Cuomo. “He is a lightning-rod mayor and he has whipped up extreme feelings on both ends of the spectrum and people are going to respond to that.”

The Women's Equality Party (WEP) is not just a third party aligned with Cuomo - it's a third party created by Cuomo as retaliation against the Working Families Party (WFP) for humiliating him back in 2014 and forcing him to grovel for the WFP endorsement.

The idea was, WEP would end up on the ballot near WFP and confuse just enough voters to drive down WFP support and, maybe, drive down enough support to force WFP from the ballot next time around.

That didn't happen, but now we see WEP, Cuomo's fake women's party, being floated as the possible vehicle for a de Blasio challenger - clearly a gambit by Cuomo to convince somebody to run third party against de Blasio since, at least so far, de Blasio appears fairly strong against direct party challengers within the Democratic Party.

Cuomo is spending an awful lot of time trying to take out de Blasio, as was reported by Fred Dicker in the NY Post a while back, and this WEP gambit appears to be just one more attempt at that.

But even as Cuomo plays games with de Blasio, he has his own potential challenger on the horizon for 2018 - Tom DiNapoli, the New York Comptroller.

DiNapoli has released multiple audits this year questioning the effectiveness of Cuomo's economic development programs and the veracity of the PR Cuomo uses to sell them - something that apparently irks King Cuomo and came to a head this week:

In Buffalo on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized state lawmakers and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for expressing skepticism over the effectiveness of his economic development spending upstate.

Cuomo, who has long had a truculent relationship with DiNapoli, a fellow Democrat, said the comptroller was “dead wrong” on the issue of tax breaks for jobs and “should educate himself in the area.”

“You will not attract jobs, you will not keep jobs unless you are willing to work with the private sector and incentivize them,” Cuomo said. “This is not a highly competitive arena. If we are not as competitive, we will lose to the other states.”

DiNapoli’s office has issued a series of critical audits and reports questioning Cuomo’s handling of the START-UP NY program, which provides a decade of tax-free operations in New York for companies that move to the state and create jobs.

The program has come under scrutiny after a report found only 400 or so jobs have been created so far despite the heavy spending for the effort.

But Cuomo insisted the tax breaks were necessary in order to compete with other states who have similar programs in place.

“The incentives are working and the incentives are working by definition by what it requires to win,” he said.

DiNapoli, in a statement, responded to Cuomo’s criticisms.

“There is no debate on the need to create jobs in New York,” he said. “Our audits have thoughtful, constructive recommendations for how New York’s economic development programs can be more effective.”

Perhaps further irking Cuomo, DiNapoli has been making the rounds on the radio and appearing with hosts that, well, let's just say might be DiNapoli's way of sending a message to Cuomo:

There was talk during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia that Bernie Sanders supporters are looking for a challenger to take out Cuomo in the 2018 primary.

DiNapoli is starting to look like he could be that challenger.

How delicious the irony, even as Cuomo desperately works to find a challenger to take on de Blasio in 2017, he appears to be getting his own challenger in 2018.

Now here's the thing about all of this.

Until we know how the various federal investigations into de Blasio turn out, we're not going to see any prominent Dem (e.g., Stringer, Diaz Jr.) make any public moves to primary de Blasio - the Q poll shows the potential futility of taking on de Blasio directly in the primary, at least for now.

But if indictments come to de Blasio's inner circle, that will change but quick and if de Blasio is indicted himself, well, put the fork in him.

The machinations against de Blasio here, from Cuomo behind the scenes, from Bloomberg crony Bradley Tusk publicly, make for a good summer story in the NY Times, but I'm not sure how meaningful any of it is until we get some resolution from US Attorney Preet Bharara on de Blasio.

The same can be said for Cuomo.

Bharara is investigating many of those Cuomo economic development programs the governor loves to tout and news came early this week that one of his cronies, lobbyist Todd Howe, has made a deal with the feds in return for leniency.  Howe has been close to Cuomo since the HUD days and, while the governor has said he isn't really that close with Howe anymore, news reports (and photographs) suggest otherwise.

If/when indictments come to Cuomo's inner circle, the prognosis for Cuomo's 2018 re-election gets a little murkier, especially if the US attorney takes apart Cuomo's economic development programs as little but a cash register for Cuomo cronies like Todd Howe and former aide Joe Percoco.

There also remains the possibility that Cuomo himself is the ultimate target of these investigations, since many of Cuomo's donors have been subpoenaed and the pattern - "donate to Cuomo = get state contract/tax break/favors in return" remains in play in many of these instances.

In the end, I think we'll know fairly soon what's going to happen with de Blasio and Cuomo regarding the Bharara investigations. 

There was a report in Dicker's column in the Post that the public would get some inkling of what's going on in the Cuomo investigations by the end of the summer. With the election coming soon, the likelihood is we'll get some inkling on de Blasio too.

But until Bharara makes his moves, all of the 2017 and 2018 jockeying is little more than noise.

You know, the kind of shit Cuomo is best at.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Cuomo Associate Has Cooperation Deal With Preet Bharara

Have been waiting post-conventions for some Preet news.

Here is an interesting bit of it:

The corruption probe of Gov. Cuomo’s two longtime associates has taken a critical turn with Todd Howe, onetime lobbyist and longtime Cuomo family confidant, signing a “cooperation agreement’’ with US Attorney Preet Bharara, a source close to the investigation told The Post.

The agreement promises Howe, whose ties to Cuomo go back three decades, “favorable treatment’’ and “leniency’’ in the event that he’s criminally charged, in exchange for full details of his lobbying activities on behalf of several major state contractors with senior Cuomo administration officials.
Those officials include Joseph Percoco, Cuomo’s closest friend and top aide who is currently senior vice president at Madison Square Garden, the source said.

Howe has been interviewed by federal prosecutors “about six times,’’ most recently about two weeks ago, when he “traded something that has to do with Percoco’’ and provided information on the influential, Albany-based, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna law firm, with which he had been affiliated, the source said. 
Howe, who worked for Cuomo when the current governor was federal housing secretary under President Bill Clinton, was described by the source as isolated from friends and family and disconsolate as Bharara’s investigation continues to unfold.
“He doesn’t have a job and no one from Andrew Cuomo’s entourage will even deal with him,’’ said the source.

Cuomo claimed that he didn't have much to do with Howe in the recent past, but Tim Knauss discovered that he was showing up at Cuomo functions like this one:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A smiling Todd Howe was photographed, standing in the background, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo enthusiastically shook hands with the president of COR Development Co. during an October 2012 visit to Syracuse.

Four years later, Howe is no longer in the background. The Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist is front and center in a federal investigation of Cuomo's Upstate economic development projects, according to published reports.

Another person named in the federal probe is Joseph Percoco, Cuomo's former executive deputy secretary, who appears with Howe in the background of the 2012 photo from Syracuse.

The photo was taken during sunnier times for Cuomo's Upstate economic initiatives, years before U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's investigation raised a cloud of suspicion.

The picture captures the role that Howe has apparently been playing for years in Syracuse economic development projects. Since the federal probe became publicly known, Howe's image has emerged as an affable guy to see for help in getting state funding or access to Albany power.

In the foreground of the 2012 photo, Cuomo shakes hands with Steven Aiello, president of COR, a Fayetteville company. COR is one of more than 20 companies about which Bharara has subpoenaed information from the Cuomo administration, according to reports.

Howe was also used as the "hand model" for Mario Cuomo's portrait in Albany:

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo claims he barely knows a fired lobbyist under federal investigation — yet he was close enough to the family to be the secret hand model behind Mario Cuomo’s official portrait, The Post has learned.

The liberal legend Mario had scoffed for years at having his likeness hung among the Empire State’s other leaders, so Andrew went behind his back to have the work secretly created from a 1989 photograph.

But the artist demanded it include Mario’s hands clasped on his knee, even though the photo didn’t clearly show his mitts.

“The artist insisted that he needed to see the Governors [sic] hands to paint them,” Howard Glaser, Andrew’s former director of state operations and Mario’s senior advisor, wrote in a private Facebook post obtained by The Post.

Enter Todd Howe, who is being probed by the feds for lobbying work he did for three firms that are part of the Cuomo administration’s economic-development program, the Buffalo Billion.
He raced down to the painter’s Maryland studio and literally lent a hand.

“The artist painted Todd’s hands into the painting to complete the work. So, yeah, it’s actually Todd Howes hands you see painted in the final portrait!!!!! Classic!” Glaser wrote.

Peter Cutler, a former Cuomo spokesman who is also named in a federal subpoena, replied, “Todd told me, saying it was pretty nerve-wracking — as I’m sure we can all understand,” he wrote.

“Thank God GAMC [Governor Andrew Mark Cuomo] pushed to get the portrait done & installed.”

The artist, Simmie Knox — who also did official portraits for then-President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary — recalled Howe giving guidance on how they wanted the painting done, but clammed up when he found out that the lobbyist was under a federal probe.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented the painting to his dad as a birthday gift at a 2012 ceremony.

Cuomo distanced himself from Howe in May and in June, claiming he and Howe were not "close."

The record appears to contradict that Cuomo assertion.

Whether Howe is telling tales on Cuomo or just providing evidence against Percoco and the entities involved in state contracting, well, that's hard to say.

Fred Dicker's piece says Howe is promised "'favorable treatment' and 'leniency' in the event that he’s criminally charged, in exchange for full details of his lobbying activities on behalf of several major state contractors with senior Cuomo administration officials."

The phrase leaves "senior Cuomo administration officials" is the interesting thing there.

That may mean people around Cuomo, or previously around Cuomo (like Percoco.)

But, since Cuomo has been known to leak anonymously to the press under the moniker "a senior Cuomo administration official," it also could mean Cuomo himself.

Time will tell whether Cuomo is actually the target of all of this or if Bharara gets to his inner circle without touching Cuomo himself.

So far, we have no direct indication that Cuomo is in any legal jeopardy.

But you can bet that if the Cuomo people didn't already know that Bharara has Howe wrapped up with a cooperation agreement, they're not happy now that the news is in Dicker's column in the NY Post.

Because who knows what Howe is telling Bharara now that he's cooperating.