Monday, September 28, 2015

Buffalo Billion Investigation and Percoco AND 8 OTHERS Arrest 7373












How many billions will it take to make ‘Buffalo Billion’ a success? (NYP) Cuomo says his “Buffalo Billion” is a stunning success — so why does he need to spend another half-billion?  In one of his roving State of the State speeches, the governor claimed the initiative reversed decades of decline in Buffalo in just five years. Businesses are returning. Millennials, too.  Yet apparently it’ll all fall apart without more handouts — because Cuomo wants to spend another $500 million. And that’s just “Phase 2”: How many phases (and billions) will it take?  This, when 10 people tied to Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion and related “economic development” programs have been indicted for bribery and bid-rigging. Some of the projects have stalled or collapsed. And, sorry, Buffalo hasn’t seen a major surge in jobs.  Sure, dropping all that cash brings some good. Building the $900 million, 1.2 million-square-foot SolarCity plant employed hundreds of construction workers. When up and running, it’s to employ 1,500. But the taxpayers covered $750 million of the plant’s cost. Maybe, just maybe, the money would’ve done more good if it had stayed with Jane and Joe New Yorker.   Besides, the solar panels the plant produces also need subsidies to survive in the marketplace — and there’s no guarantee those handouts (especially the federal ones set up in the Obama years) will continue.   Such is “economic development,” Cuomo-style. His Start-Up New York spent tens of millions on tax breaks and ads — for just 408 jobs to date. Meanwhile, his fracking ban aborted an entire industry, while New York’s highest-in-the-nation tax burden and over-the-top regulations continue to place the state among the worst for business and jobs.   If all this is Cuomo’s idea of economic development, New Yorkers might be better off with stagnation.

With Ten People Facing Jail for Buffalo Billion Cuomo Uses SOS to Announce $500 Million for Buffalo Billion II

Despite scandal, Cuomo doubles down on 'Buffalo Billion'(Politico) Ten people, including former top officials, were indicted in a bribery and bid-rigging scheme. Promised projects are delayed; one has collapsed. Alain Kaloyeros, touted as the genius who would help upstate New York transition to a high-tech, post-industrial economy, has been kicked to the curb.   Despite the rising swirl of questions about his economic development programs, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced another $500 million for projects in Western New York during the Buffalo leg of his State of the State tour on Monday. He used statistics, at times exaggerated, to paint a rosy picture of the region’s economy and claimed his own focus and a $1 billion state investment were responsible for it. The strong rhetoric continues the offensive strategy that the Democratic governor employed in September after Kaloyeros and Joe Percoco — the governor’s political adviser and surrogate brother — were charged.

“It was a billion dollars. Why a billion? A billion to say to people this isn’t just another plan, and I’m not just another politician with another plan. … I said, we need something to really capture people’s attention because they have to believe it’s going to work if it’s actually going to work,” Cuomo said. “Not only did it rhyme, billion is a serious number.”  Cuomo called the new program BB2, because “There’s a synergy between the two of them that will be exponential, that’s why it will be Buffalo Billion squared.” He did not mention the arrests, which included the developers of a solar panel factory at the center of the Buffalo Billion *  Future of SUNY Poly's 450mm program in doubt (TU).* Andrew Cuomo Stands by Embattled Program As Corruption Case Swirls (WSJ)  New York governor recommits to Buffalo Billion development program, which federal prosecutors say was rigged to benefit former aides








Shutting Down Indian Point Helps CPV A Company Whose Eecutives Face Bribery Charges As Part of the Buffalo Billion Investigation
Cuomo’s Deal To Shut Down A Nuclear Plant Soiled ByBribery Charges (Daily Caller)   Cuomo announced a deal to shut down the Indian Point nuclear plant Monday, despite concerns the main beneficiaries of the decision have been charged in a federal corruption investigation.  Indian Point’s planned closure is widely expected to benefit Competitive Power Ventures (CPV), an energy company at the center of an alleged bribery scheme. The U.S. Attorney’s office charged a former CPV executive and two former Cuomo aides with bribery and other counts in September 2016.  U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara wrote that former CPV executive Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr., former top Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco and lobbyist Todd Howe “engaged in a multi-year bribery scheme whereby Kelly caused the energy company to make secret payments to Percoco through Percoco’s wife in exchange for Percoco’s official assistance to the energy company.”* Cuomo’s war on NY energy (NYP)  New York City is set to lose a quarter of its electricity supply by 2021, thanks to Gov. Cuomo’s deal to close the Indian Point nuclear plant.   When you’re cursing your even higher ConEd bill — or caught in a blackout, or out looking for a new job, thanks to the economic impact of this lunacy — know that you’re suffering to serve the gov’s ambitions. If the city’s lucky, new natural-gas electric plants might open in time to replace the Indian Point generators, the first of which is to close in just three years.   Yet New York will still pay extra — because Cuomo already banned fracking in the state, aborting an Empire State industry.   The gov pretends Indian Point power can easily be replaced. Bull: One of his chief prospects, wind energy, is much more expensive and highly unreliable. Indian Point’s closing will cost 1,000 workers their jobs, and local governments will lose tens of millions in taxes and fees. Local electric rates will be higher, and the power grid less reliable. CO2 emissions will rise, too, because fossil-fuel plants are the only realistic replacement for most of the juice.  Two new local gas plants are already coming online, and maybe enough other power can be found in time. But New York must import the fuel — thanks to Cuomo’s fracking ban.   Upstate, which desperately needs the economic boost, will continue to languish.* Closing Indian Point Is Easy — What Happens Next Won't Be (Village Voice) * New York is betting on renewables to replace a majornuclear power plant   The Indian Point nuclear power plant will be closed, but the state says emissions won’t go up.





Cuomo Could Be Hurt Like Christie With the Buffalo Billion Trial   
The Daily News’ Kenneth Lovett reports that political insiders view the upcoming year as a make-or-break time for Cuomo, as he gears up for re-election in 2018 or a potential presidential bid in 2020, while wars with fellow Democrats and a potential corruption trial could damage him.
LOVETT: Gov. Cuomo’s political future remains uncertain as federal corruption trial may cause damage (NYDN) As he gears up to run for reelection in 2018 — and potentially for president in 2020 — looming threats could turn the upcoming year into into a make-or-break time for Gov. Cuomo’s political future, insiders say.  “It’s going to be an interesting year — one with the potential of great things but also potential for debacle,” said one Cuomo supporter. Entering 2017, the governor is not only warring with many of his fellow New York Democrats, which could seriously affect his agenda, but he also faces potentially damaging fallout from a federal corruption trial that will focus on his administration. Nine Cuomo associates, including former top aide and close friend Joseph Percoco, have been indicted on bribery and bid-rigging charges tied to some of the governor’s signature upstate economic development programs. Sources say some, including Percoco, are being pressured by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to flip — though there has been nothing to suggest so far that Cuomo did anything unlawful.  But even if Cuomo is not criminally implicated himself, a number of his supporters fear embarrassing and sensational revelations from the trials involving his former aides, friends and donors could cast harsh light on how his administration does business and cause serious damage to his political future. Cuomo revealed last week he has spoken with federal prosecutors about Percoco and others. He suggested he could be called as a witness, though he said he doesn't expect to be. “It’s not really about (Percoco),” said one Democratic supporter of Cuomo. “It’s how the office looks. It’s how the operation and the governor look when all the evidence comes out.” Another Democratic insider agreed, saying, “I don’t believe he’ll ever be indicted, but I think there’s certainly enough that could come out during the trials that could really hurt him.” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was never criminally charged in the Bridgegate case, but sources note his approval ratings since the convictions of two aides have sunk to an all-time low. “That’s when it will begin to kick in, when the trial begins,” said one legislative Democrat. “When the day-to-day coverage comes out, it’s not going to be pretty.”

If Cuomo Weakens in the Polls He Will Be Jumped By Many 
Meanwhile, Cuomo’s ongoing wars with Mayor de Blasio, state Controller Thomas DiNapoli and state Assembly and Senate Democrats leave him with few allies should times get tough, the sources warn. One Cuomo supporter said de Blasio, if he wins reelection in November, could wreak havoc for the governor on the left. And legislative Democrats, particularly in the Assembly, are livid at Cuomo over a lack of a pay raise. "He has not had to deal with an antagonistic Democratic Assembly before," said one Dem insider.


WOW Cuomo May Take the Stand in Court In Buffalo Billion 'PERCOCO' Bribery Corruption Case 
Cuomo says he could testify in ex-aide’s corruption trial (NYP) Cuomo says he has met with federal authorities about the corruption case against a former top aide and close family friend — and acknowledged he could be called as a witness should the matter go to trial.  Cuomo said the meeting with investigators from the office of Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara took place following the September announcement of criminal charges against his former aide Joseph Percoco and several other men, including a former State University of New York Polytechnic Institute president. Percoco — whom the governor once called a “third son” to his late father, Mario — was accused of pocketing bribes by shaking down a Maryland-based energy company and a Syracuse development firm in pay-to-play schemes.  “It was in preparation for Joe’s case, in preparation for the case that they were indicting against the nine defendants,” Cuomo said. Asked if he thought he’d be called as a witness, the governor said: “I could be. I haven’t envisioned it. No one has suggested that. I think the question would be more it’s up to the nine defendants who they call in their defense, so you don’t really know.” * Andrew Cuomo Says He Met With Federal Prosecutors About Aides’ Corruption Case (NYT) * Cuomo says he has talked with prosecutors about state bidrigging cases (Buffalo News) * Cuomo Touts Economic Development Amid Federal Scrutiny (YNN) * Two days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign collected $25,000 in donations from Cor Development Co., the state dislodged a contract, which had been stalled for five months, to sell the company 3.6 acres of state land along the Inner Harbor in Syracuse, Syracuse.com reports.  * The national Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has joined mainline Senate Democrats, the state Working Families Party and progressive advocates calling for Cuomo to work to unify the Senate’s 32 elected Democrats into a working majority, the Times Union reports. *You can go to Cuomo’s dinner party for $10K (NYP)*Cuomo Raises Possibility He'll be Called as Witness in Corruption Probe of Former Top Aide(NY1)

Percoco, who now works for Madison Square Garden, is charged with shaking down $315,000 in bribes from the power company and a Syracuse developer, and the feds say he imitated mobsters from HBO’s “ The Sopranos” by referring to the payoffs as “ziti.”  * “OK. will deal with it after I get my ziti!” Percoco allegedly wrote in a 2014 email to former Cuomo aide-turned-lobbyist Todd Howe, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the feds. * The executive director of JCOPE said that since he was appointed in March, no one from the Cuomo administration has spoken to him about major policy matters before the panel and maintained his independence from the Cuomo administration, the Times Union writes.

More on the Buffalo Billion Corruption Case

Even After the Buffalo Billions Arrests Cuomo Tries to Block the Controller from Auditing ESD Projects Which Gov and the Lawmakers Cut DiNapoli Out A Few Years Ago
*State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is responding to the recent bid-rigging and fraud scandal that has rocked the Cuomo administration by moving to strengthen his office’s contract oversight role,the Daily 
State ControllerDiNapoli moves in on Gov. Cuomo's turf as contract watchdog (NYDN) State Controller Thomas DiNapoli is responding to the recent bid-rigging and fraud scandal that has rocked the Cuomo administration by moving to strengthen his office’s contract oversight role — which is likely to further inflame tensions with the governor. DiNapoli’s office recently sent letters to the Cuomo-controlled Empire State Development (ESD) and to the state university informing them that it expects to sign off on a wider array of contracts before they can be enacted. “We’ve taken administrative actions to tighten our independent oversight and hold public authorities and the State University of New York accountable, but more needs to be done to protect taxpayers and help ensure the process isn’t rigged,” said DiNapoli spokeswoman Jennifer Freeman. One letter to ESD head Howard Zemsky instructed the agency to submit to the controller’s office for approval any new or amended contracts pertaining to the upstate development projects ESD is taking over from SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Cuomo ordered ESD to grab control of the projects after the fraud scandal resulted in felony charges against nine associates, including former top aide Joseph Percoco and now ex-SUNY Poly president Alain Kaloyeros. Another letter sent to SUNY will require certain nonconstruction SUNY Poly contracts of at least $50,000 be sent to DiNapoli’s office for approval. The office also sent a separate letter to ESD outlining concerns DiNapoli’s staff found during a quick review of the payment process surrounding the Buffalo Billion, Cuomo’s chief upstate economic development initiative. Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi downplayed DiNapoli’s bid for a bigger oversight role. He said the letter to ESD is “moot” because Zemsky already announced the SUNY Poly projects will remain under the auspices of two private nonprofits, which have been reconstituted so they are under the control of ESD but by law remain outside the purview of the controller’s office. Azzopardi also revealed that Cuomo’s former budget director, Robert Megna, is taking a leave of absence from SUNY Stony Brook to head a new nanotechnology project management team for ESD that will provide more aggressive oversight






A grand jury has handed up indictments against Joe Percoco and Alain Kaloyeros, previously charged in corruption scheme
Buffalo Billion Investigation and Percoco AND 8 OTHERSArrest * Former Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco, seven others indictedin connection to upstate bribery scandal (NYDN) * Ex-Cuomo aide indicted in ‘pay-to-play’ schemes (NYP) A former top aide to Gov. Cuomo was indicted Tuesday on official corruption charges in “pay-to-play” schemes federal authorities say reached all the way into Albany’s Executive Chamber.  Joseph Percoco, one of the governor’s closest confidantes, and seven co-defendants were named in the 14-count indictment handed up in Manhattan federal court, according to US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office.  The move followed a month-long delay in the case for plea negotiations that ultimately went nowhere following a Sept. 22 criminal complaint that rocked the state capital and tarred Cuomo’s signature “Buffalo Billion” revitalization project. No new defendants were added to the indictment, despite speculation that the feds have sufficient evidence to charge Percoco’s wife and are holding it over his head in a bid at getting him to cooperate. Both the complaint and the indictment — which is still subject to revision before trial — allege that Lisa Toscano-Percoco got a $7,500-a-month job in a bribery scheme involving her hubby. “This case will come down to Joe’s choice between the governor and his wife,” a legal source told Politico. The allegations in Tuesday’s filing largely mirror those in September’s complaint, but the indictment contains two new counts of wire fraud, neither of which involve Percoco, who Cuomo once likened to the “third son” of his late dad, ex-Gov. Mario Cuomo.  Percoco, who now works for Madison Square Garden, is charged with shaking down $315,000 in bribes from a Maryland-based power company and a Syracuse developer, and the feds say he imitated mobsters from HBO’s “ The Sopranos” by referring to the payoffs as “ziti.”  “OK. will deal with it after I get my ziti!” Percoco allegedly wrote in a a 2014 email to former Cuomo aide-turned-lobbyist Todd Howe, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the feds.  In addition to the allegations against Percoco, former SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros is accused of rigging bids for a $750 million “Buffalo Billion” contract and two other development contracts in Syracuse worth $105 million.

Ex-Advisers to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Are Indicted in Federal Bribery Case (NYT) Besides Joseph Percoco and Alain E. Kaloyeros, a federal grand jury also voted to indict six others, all executives of companies that had business with the state. * Putting the case before a grand jury and obtaining indictments show the U.S. Justice Department is moving “full speed ahead” with its prosecution, said Frank Clark, a former federal prosecutor and former Erie County district attorney, The Buffalo News writes. A federal grand jury handed up a 14-count indictment on Tuesday against Joe Percoco and Alain Kaloyeros, formalizing charges against members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's inner circle that have cast a shadow over state politics for the last two months. The 36-page indictment does not name any new defendants and closely tracked a criminal complaint that was unsealed Sept. 22. All eight people charged in that complaint have pleaded not guilty. Todd Howe, a lobbyist who is close to Percoco, is cooperating with the government and has pleaded guilty to eight felonies. Federal prosecutors working for U.S. AttorneyPreet Bharara already pushed back the deadline to bring back charges from a grand jury last month, to give them time for "discussions concerning possible dispositions" with the eight original defendants. Tuesday afternoon's indictment was not accompanied by news of any additional pleas.   * "Case will come down to Percoco's choice between the governor and his wife"...    * 'All donated heavily to Cuomo’s campaign'...  -- Read the 36-page document here:


Update on Buffalo Billions Corruption  
"Gov. Corruptocrat’s SolarCity boondoggle...where did the BuffaloBillion go?''  * * SUNY’s Upstate Medical Center’s open records officer saidformer Cuomo associate Todd Howe's former lobbying firm, WOH GovernmentSolutions, was paid by an "affiliated entity" of the school, (TU) * Timeline: The years of Percoco, Kaloyeros and Howe (TU)
Buffalo Billion Investigation and Percoco AND 8 OTHERS Arrested





Cuomo Uses Agency $$ to Pay for Adminstration Salaries 
Many who work in Cuomo's office aren't actually paid byit (TU) Cuomo administration uses cash from many public entities to pay salaries of appointees Roughly 40 percent of Exec Chamber employees are paid by state agencies; many don’t correlate to actual jobs:* The Cuomo administration’s use of other agencies’ budgets to pay for his staff, some of which are clearly patronage jobs, like a post given to the son of a developer caught up in the federal corruption charges that involve former aides and allies of the governor, looks shady at best, the Times Union writes.



After Howe Turns Fed Rat As Loan Becomes A Bribe That Does Not Have to Be Paid Back
Loan was really a bribe, says Todd Howe, former Washington &A lbany lobbyist & longtime insider to Cuomo  Former Cuomo lobbyist claims he doesn’t have to repay $85G to company suing him because it was bribe, not loan (NYDN) * Malatras Meticulous Moving from Cuomo's Office to Top Lobby Gig... (Gothamist) Jim Malatras, director of state operations for the Cuomo administration, has walled himself off from healthcare issues as he prepares to leave his post early next year to join the Healthcare Association of New York State as its new chief operating officer.

Daily News Says Percoco in Plea Talks: Don't Bet On It 
Former Cuomo aideJoseph Percoco talking to prosecutors about possible plea deal in briberyscandal (NYDN) Suspects in a federal bribery and corruption case, including a former top aide to Gov. Cuomo, are negotiating possible plea deals, according to court papers. Joseph Percoco, Cuomo’s former executive secretary and campaign manager, and seven others, including the head of the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, have been charged in a lucrative shakedown scheme that prosecutors said went on right under the governor’s nose. Percoco and several of the defendants were supposed to appear in court Monday, but got a reprieve when a judge postponed the hearing after prosecutors filed court papers saying they were in plea talks



The Interlocking Directorates of Cuomo Corruption 
Strands ofScandal Keep Connecting Back to Top Cuomo Donor and Appointee (NYO) Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano‘s indictment on allegations of bribery last week marked the latest ally of Gov. Andrew Cuomo to face federal charges—and another pol tied to one of the governor’s leading donors and handpicked head of the New York Racing Association, which operates equestrian tracks across New York.  Mangano was one of just two Republican county executives statewide to back the Democratic governor for re-election in 2014. The New York Post reported that the endorsement was part of a larger accord between the Cuomo and the Long Island Republican establishment, with whom he has long enjoyed an tight alliance, whereby the governor would decline political assistance to Democratic State Senate candidates in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Mangano went on to feature prominently in a montage of elected officials lavishing praise on Cuomo that played before the governor’s State of the State address this January.  Just weeks before, Mangano had featured almost as prominently in the corruption trial of disgraced State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos—in which federal prosecutors played wiretapped conversations in which the Rockville Centre legislator’s son described how Mangano pushed Cuomo and his Office of Storm Recovery to funnel money into wastewater and sewage infrastructure on Long Island following 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. And, with the county executive’s help, contracts for that infrastructure went to a firm that employed the younger Skelos..* Cuomo issued a questionnaire on 15 issues to legislative candidates from his own Democratic Party who were seeking his backing, a strategy insiders say they’ve never heard of a governor deploying, the Daily News’ Kenneth Lovett reports.

Memo Says Cuomo Knew of Relationships With Executives Named in Buffalo Corruption Complaint
Cuomo Briefed on Firms’ Ties (WSJ)  In memo on campaign fundraiser, aide cited relationships with executives named in corruption complaint.  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has sought to distance himself from many of the nine people charged in a federal corruption case last month, saying they weren’t part of his inner circle and he didn’t know the details of their business relationships.  “I was not aware of who some of these people were representing, and who were their business consultants,” Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said last month. “The situations laid out in the complaint were breathtaking to me.”  But a memo prepared for the governor in advance of a May 2014 campaign fundraiser—and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal—outlines the ties between Mr. Cuomo’s administration and some of the alleged conspirators who attended the event.  And it shows that his campaign sought to brief him explicitly on lobbyist Todd Howe’s role as the event organizer and on Mr. Howe’s representation of the attendees; Mr. Howe is now cooperating with the government.   Additionally, according to emails reviewed by the Journal, a senior aide who was vetting contributions to Mr. Cuomo’s campaign a month before the fundraiser raised concerns about the optics of the timing of the contributions from several of those donors. The two donors who were vetted have now been charged in the case.  In the emails, the aide recommended the contributions be delayed because the donors had been recent beneficiaries of state contracts.  Neither the memo nor the emails detail any of the alleged criminal activity that is at the core of the complaint filed by the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.  A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo said: “As is common practice for all campaigns, donations are vetted before receipt for conflicts of interest. As stated in the emails, in these cases, any state-related business was awarded via... processes run by local governments, state agencies, or other entities.” The governor’s office didn’t select the awardees in any of these cases, the spokesman said.

Fallout From Buffalo Billion Arrests 
SUNY PolytechnicPresident Alain Kaloyeros resigns amid Cuomo-probe corruption charges (NYDN) * Lobbyist Todd Howe was paid by both sides - state, developer- in no-bid Syracuse deal (syracuse.com) * SUNY Polytech president resigns amid pay-to-play probe(NYP) * Cuomo Insider, Caught in Albany Corruption Case, Leaves Post at SUNY (NYT) * Indicted Cuomo crony was a big joke to Port Authority cops (NYP) Cuomo aide and close confidante at the center of Albany’s latest pay-to-play scandal was the butt of a running joke among Port Authority police union brass, it emerged at the Bridgegate trial this week. Port Authority cop Michael DeFilippis said he and his PAPD pals started mockingly referring to themselves as “family,” or “the family,” after hearing Joe Percoco insincerely welcome PA police that way. “You’re all Gov. Cuomo’s family. You’re family,” Percoco told PA police union brass when they attended events with the New York governor, DeFilippis, who is second in command of the PA Police Benevolent Association, testified Tuesday. * Former lobbyist Todd Howe, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges last month, helped a key economic development and compliance official at SUNY Polytechnic Institute land his job in 2014, though the official claims there was no wrongdoing, the Times Union reports.


Cuomo and His Fellow Lawmaker Albany Hoods Open the Door by Cutting Out the Controller for Buffalo Billion Corruption

Andrew Cuomo’s too-belated cleanup (NYP Ed) Cuomo is belatedly promising reforms to state procurement processes — now that several of his close allies have been indicted on federal and state charges, including bribery and bid-rigging on facilities that SUNY nonprofits built in Albany, Buffalo and Syracuse. Yes, once US Attorney Preet Bharara made it clear he’d found criminal wrongdoing in the Buffalo Billion, Cuomo brought in his own consultant to review it. And, at a cost to the taxpayers (so far) of $450,000, Bart Schwartz has identified extensive problems “with the approval, review and inspection processes” and held up $64 million in payments.  Here’s the thing: Cuomo’s last procurement “reform” opened the door to such abuses. Five years ago, in the name of “streamlining,” Cuomo convinced state lawmakers to curtail Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s oversight authority on contracts and spending by SUNY nonprofits, public hospitals and similar agencies.  In his zeal to think big and to get big projects — like the Buffalo Billion — done quickly, Cuomo put control and political capital in the hands of SUNY Polytechnic Institute leader Alain Kaloyeros and his string of SUNY nonprofits.  * Bharara appears to slight Cuomo at Albany ethics forum   via

Cuomo took office vowing to clean up state government, but it seems he wound up burying not only his guns, but his head. Bid-rigging — the oldest crime in government — went on right under his nose. * Cuomo says he’s taking over economic development projects from SUNY Poly in the wake of a corruption scandal – but legally it may not be so easy to do, requiring negotiations between multiple private nonprofits and companies, the Daily News writes
Is Cuomo building a solar plant that will never open? (NYP Ed) 
* A week after two COR Development executives were charged in a corruption probe, a Cuomo administration employee left a voicemail for a top aide to Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner pushing for an exemption for the firm, which the aide alleges “borders on a threat,” the Times Union writes. *
* In the wake of high-profile arrests emanating from the Buffalo Billion program, district attorney candidate Joseph V. Treanor III said he will beef up the public integrity unit that the acting district attorney created this year to root out public corruption, the Buffalo News reports.
* Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature should ask state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to do a risk assessment of the entire government to see exactly where public funds are particularly vulnerable to corruption and restore a system of checks and balances of power, the Times Union writes.





A grand jury has handed up indictments against Joe Percoco and Alain Kaloyeros, previously charged in corruption scheme
Buffalo Billion Investigation and Percoco AND 8 OTHERSArrest * Former Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco, seven others indictedin connection to upstate bribery scandal (NYDN) * Ex-Cuomo aide indicted in ‘pay-to-play’ schemes (NYP) A former top aide to Gov. Cuomo was indicted Tuesday on official corruption charges in “pay-to-play” schemes federal authorities say reached all the way into Albany’s Executive Chamber.  Joseph Percoco, one of the governor’s closest confidantes, and seven co-defendants were named in the 14-count indictment handed up in Manhattan federal court, according to US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office.  The move followed a month-long delay in the case for plea negotiations that ultimately went nowhere following a Sept. 22 criminal complaint that rocked the state capital and tarred Cuomo’s signature “Buffalo Billion” revitalization project. No new defendants were added to the indictment, despite speculation that the feds have sufficient evidence to charge Percoco’s wife and are holding it over his head in a bid at getting him to cooperate. Both the complaint and the indictment — which is still subject to revision before trial — allege that Lisa Toscano-Percoco got a $7,500-a-month job in a bribery scheme involving her hubby. “This case will come down to Joe’s choice between the governor and his wife,” a legal source told Politico. The allegations in Tuesday’s filing largely mirror those in September’s complaint, but the indictment contains two new counts of wire fraud, neither of which involve Percoco, who Cuomo once likened to the “third son” of his late dad, ex-Gov. Mario Cuomo.  Percoco, who now works for Madison Square Garden, is charged with shaking down $315,000 in bribes from a Maryland-based power company and a Syracuse developer, and the feds say he imitated mobsters from HBO’s “ The Sopranos” by referring to the payoffs as “ziti.”  “OK. will deal with it after I get my ziti!” Percoco allegedly wrote in a a 2014 email to former Cuomo aide-turned-lobbyist Todd Howe, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the feds.  In addition to the allegations against Percoco, former SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros is accused of rigging bids for a $750 million “Buffalo Billion” contract and two other development contracts in Syracuse worth $105 million.

Ex-Advisers to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Are Indicted in Federal Bribery Case (NYT) Besides Joseph Percoco and Alain E. Kaloyeros, a federal grand jury also voted to indict six others, all executives of companies that had business with the state. * Putting the case before a grand jury and obtaining indictments show the U.S. Justice Department is moving “full speed ahead” with its prosecution, said Frank Clark, a former federal prosecutor and former Erie County district attorney, The Buffalo News writes. A federal grand jury handed up a 14-count indictment on Tuesday against Joe Percoco and Alain Kaloyeros, formalizing charges against members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's inner circle that have cast a shadow over state politics for the last two months. The 36-page indictment does not name any new defendants and closely tracked a criminal complaint that was unsealed Sept. 22. All eight people charged in that complaint have pleaded not guilty. Todd Howe, a lobbyist who is close to Percoco, is cooperating with the government and has pleaded guilty to eight felonies. Federal prosecutors working for U.S. AttorneyPreet Bharara already pushed back the deadline to bring back charges from a grand jury last month, to give them time for "discussions concerning possible dispositions" with the eight original defendants. Tuesday afternoon's indictment was not accompanied by news of any additional pleas.   * "Case will come down to Percoco's choice between the governor and his wife"...    * 'All donated heavily to Cuomo’s campaign'...  -- Read the 36-page document here:


Update on Buffalo Billions Corruption  
"Gov. Corruptocrat’s SolarCity boondoggle...where did the BuffaloBillion go?''  * * SUNY’s Upstate Medical Center’s open records officer saidformer Cuomo associate Todd Howe's former lobbying firm, WOH GovernmentSolutions, was paid by an "affiliated entity" of the school, (TU) * Timeline: The years of Percoco, Kaloyeros and Howe (TU)
Buffalo Billion Investigation and Percoco AND 8 OTHERS Arrested





Cuomo Uses Agency $$ to Pay for Adminstration Salaries 
Many who work in Cuomo's office aren't actually paid byit (TU) Cuomo administration uses cash from many public entities to pay salaries of appointees Roughly 40 percent of Exec Chamber employees are paid by state agencies; many don’t correlate to actual jobs:* The Cuomo administration’s use of other agencies’ budgets to pay for his staff, some of which are clearly patronage jobs, like a post given to the son of a developer caught up in the federal corruption charges that involve former aides and allies of the governor, looks shady at best, the Times Union writes.



After Howe Turns Fed Rat As Loan Becomes A Bribe That Does Not Have to Be Paid Back
Loan was really a bribe, says Todd Howe, former Washington &A lbany lobbyist & longtime insider to Cuomo  Former Cuomo lobbyist claims he doesn’t have to repay $85G to company suing him because it was bribe, not loan (NYDN) * Malatras Meticulous Moving from Cuomo's Office to Top Lobby Gig... (Gothamist) Jim Malatras, director of state operations for the Cuomo administration, has walled himself off from healthcare issues as he prepares to leave his post early next year to join the Healthcare Association of New York State as its new chief operating officer.



Three People Charged in State Corruption Probe Return to Court
(NY1) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo said much of the responsibility for the alleged corruption scandal touching his administration is on the state university system, specifically SUNY Polytechnic Institute, which oversaw many of the contracts. But reform groups say the governor is not telling the whole story. * More than a decade before confessing to corruption charges, there were warning signs that lobbyist Todd Howe, a former aide to Cuomo, was crooked.



* After Cuomo charged Empire State Development to serve as project manager for more than a dozen construction projects, some tainted by a pay-for-play scandal that rocked his administration, Empire State Development chief Howard Zemsky said SolarCity will remain on schedule, the Buffalo News reports.


NYP: After 9 Arrests for Bid Rigging Cuomo's Investigator Calls for Changes to the Procurement Process No Wonder Why the Post Dumped Dicker
Buffalo Billion project full of procedural problems: investigator (NYP)  Cuomo’s independent investigator monitoring the scandal-plagued Buffalo Billion project found extensive problems “with the approval, review and inspection processes” for funding the effort. In a Sept. 23 memo, Bart Schwartz said he had analyzed payment requests for $193 million in state funds for equipment, construction and other fees — but approved just $129 million because the “required procedures and required documents were not in compliance” for the remaining $64 million. “Frequently, required processes and procedures were not followed; required documentation was incomplete . . . and review procedures were either not in place or not being followed,” Schwartz wrote. The governor’s gumshoe also sent him five “review protocols” to “assure transparency, reliability and integrity in the review and payment processes."--Schwartz, whose firm Guidepost will be paid up to $450,000 for eight months of work as Cuomo's Buffalo Billion investigator, was told by Bharara to steer clear of the feds’ investigation. 2 days after Gov. Cuomo's highest ranking officials were indicted on bribery & corruption, this is the Buffalo News headline. #givemeabreak

Cuomo Pushes Percoco Under the Bus, No Way
Why Did the Lawmakers Take Away Oversight Power From DiNapoli of Contracts Like Buffalo Billion in 2011? Cuomo, DiNapoli and Schneiderman Return Contributions from Buffalo Billion Contriburtors JCOPE Missed Another Scandal 
Cuomo: Arrest ofex-top aide is ‘very disappointing for me’ (NYP) The arrest of a former top aide on corruption charges was “an emotional situation” that was “very, very disappointing” for Gov. Cuomo, he said Wednesday. Without mentioning Joseph Percoco by name, Cuomo referred to him as “a friend of mine for many, many years — actually had been a friend of my father’s for many, many years.” “I try not to be defensive and this is somewhat of an emotional situation for me, because more than on a personal level, it is very, very disappointing for me,” Cuomo told reporters in Syracuse. “You know someone for a long period of time and you trust them, and then — according to the complaint, at least — they violate the public trust, which has been critical for me and my father before me.” * Cuomo finds former top aide Joseph Percoco's allegedfraud, bribery scheme 'personally hurtful' (NYDN) "The situation with Joe is on a personal level, very disappointing and hurtful,” Cuomo said. “He was a friend for a long time ... so that is personally hurtful." * Cuomo Doesn’t Expect To Testify If Cases Go To Trial (YNN) * Andrew Cuomo cries when talking about his late father (Page Six) * Dr. Who? SUNY Poly removes images of Alain Kaloyeros (TU) * DiNapoli says scandals show need for oversight (TU) Comptroller's oversight on projects like Buffalo Billion were diminished * JCOPEwatches another ethics scandal from the sidelines (PoliticoNY) * DiNapoli says lawmakers are talking to him aboutrestoring the oversight they took from him in 2011 DiNapoli said Cuomo and then Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos ended his ability to review “SUNY and a number of statewide centralized contracts that are done now through the Office of General Services.” The change that also affects CUNY contracts came when Cuomo took office and moved swiftly to accrue more power over state funds and eliminate what he termed “duplicative and wasteful” review of contracts. “At the time I raised the concern that the process was set up for us to have an additional set of eyes to look at these contracts on what we call a pre-audit basis or before the approval is done,” he said. “We can still audit some of this work after the fact but if there is a problem when you are auditing after the fact, you can’t really prevent the problem from happening.” Monday, he said he would return more than $20,000 in campaign donations he got from the companies facing charges, COR Development of Syracuse and LPCiminelli of Buffalo. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is donating the money he got to charity, and Cuomo has announces his funds will be held in case the federal government seeks to seize them. * Gov. Andrew Cuomo blamed the scandals engulfing his upstate development efforts on SUNY, while SUNY’s Polytechnic Institute removed photos and information about former leader Alain Kaloyeros, who has been charged in alleged bid-rigging, the Times Union reports. * Empire State Development Corp CEO Howard Zemsky, the state official charged with overseeing upstate revitalization project in the wake of corruption charges, said he will not rule out halting some projects, The Post-Standard reports. * State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said he has heard from several lawmakers who are considering legislation to restore his office’s oversight of spending by SUNY and related nonprofits that manage building projects, the Times Union reports. * Politicians whose campaigns have received contributions from developer Louis P. Ciminelli and his allies are scrambling to figure out what to do with the money after the executive was charged in a pay-to-play scandal, The Buffalo News reports. * State Sen. George Amedore’s campaign said he does not plan to return campaign donations from prominent Albany developer Joe Nicolla, now that Nicolla faces a bid-rigging charge, the Times Union reports.


All of the State Top Leaders Received Contributions From Buffalo Billions  1 Week After Arrests They Get Rid of Tainted Campaign Contributions
Cuomo getting rid of tainted campaign contributions (NYP) Cuomo will set aside hefty campaign contributions tainted by the latest Albany corruption scandal so they can be seized by the feds, the head of the state Democratic Party said Tuesday evening. The announcement followed pledges by the state’s two other top elected officials to divest themselves of political donations tied to Cuomo’s graft-riddled “Buffalo Billion” revitalization project. Cuomo received at least $725,000 from “Buffalo Billion” developers and their associates, according to court papers filed last week by Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara. “Given the serious nature of the allegations made last week, the campaign contributions given by the defendants will be set aside in a separate account to be made available for any forfeiture recoveries pursued by law enforcement, rather than returning the funds to the defendants,” Democratic Party Executive Director Basil Smikle said. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will return about $25,000 in similar contributions, while Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will donate around $15,000 to charity to offset the donations he got, their spokesmen said. Schneiderman — who hasn’t yet picked a charity for his money — isn’t directly returning the funds because they went to a since-closed political committee, a source close to his campaign said. * Cuomo campaign will ‘set aside’ funds from donors tied to bribery scandal (NYDN) * Cuomo's campaign to 'set aside' developers' donations (democratandchronicle) * Cuomo’s campaign has decided to set aside donations it received from people named in the criminal complaints filed by authorities last week, so that they may be available for any forfeiture recoveries pursued by prosecutors, the Times Union reports. * The Joint Commission on Public Ethics Executive Director Seth Agata declined to discuss how it failed to flag crucial information that is part of a federal case against a former Cuomo administration official, but said staff had learned from the matter, the Times Union reports. * Amid Donor Scandal, Cuomo Won’t Stop Taking Campaign CashFrom State Contractors (NYO)

Dickless NY Post Strange Fred Dicker Leaves After the Arrests of Cuomo Buffalo Billion Team 
Fred Dicker departsNew York Post, radio show continues (TU) After a run of more than three decades at the New York Post, Fred Dicker has left in what he described in an email as “an amicable departure after some 2,000 columns over nearly 34 years.” Dicker, whose Monday column was a frequent must-read in state political circles, said he may continue to freelance for the Post and other outlets, and will continue his hour-long weekday radio show “Live from the State Capitol” on WGDJ and his appearances on WRGB.
* The charges levelled against Cuomo and Christie in testimony from Wildstein – that they conspired to cover up the intentional closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge for political purposes – are by his own admission hearsay, and should be regarded as such, the Post writes.

GOP Ad Dicker Hits Cuomo on Corruption

Prococo, Glaser Use Personal Emails to Hide Shadly Deals Cuomo Says He Did Not Know
Cuomo aide used personal email to hide shady deals: feds (NYP) Gov. Cuomo’s former aide Joseph Percoco — who is accused of pocketing more than $315,000 in bribes as part of pay-to-play schemes — used his personal e-mail account to surreptitiously discuss his shady dealings, court papers show. “State employees are not to use personal email addresses to conduct State business unless explicitly authorized,” Deleassa Penland, a criminal investigator with the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, wrote in the criminal complaint. Cuomo’s former director of operations, Howard Glaser, who has not been charged in the federal case, was also using his own e-mail account in dealing with official state business, the indictment says. Glaser used his personal email when he agreed to help Percoco get state approval for energy company Competitive Power Ventures to buy “emission reduction credits” in New York for a plant it was building in New Jersey.* NYPOST: Cuomo's 'Billion' Excuses...  * Gov. Andrew Cuomo Seeks Distance From Bribery Scandal (WSJ) * Cuomo Says He Knew Nothing About Allegations Involving Some of His Closest Aides (NY1) Cuomo condemns corruption case; vows reforms (wgrz) * DE BLASIO PILES ON: "A VERY
SAD DAY"...* Jeffrey Toobin for The New Yorker: “Bharara keeps cutting off branches, but the tree of corruption in Albany, diseased and unsightly, still stands.”

Baked Ziti Puppy Dog Press
Bob Port ‏@BobPort  It's also time for so many journalists in Albany, NY, to stop being polite little puppy dogs and start pounding their fists on the table.


Mystery pasta delivered to LCA pressroom  Reporters, it is said, will eat an old shoe if it’s covered in hot sauce and served with a shot and a beer. So it is no surprise that Capitol reporters are at this very moment consuming a tray of pasta and sauce dropped off by an organization calling itself ImpeachCuomo.net.  The website includes a link to a petition calling on state lawmakers to commence impeachment proceedings against the governor, plus links to articles in the recent state and federal investigations of the administration and upstate development.  The pasta appears to be a reference to “ziti,” the term for money used by former top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco and lobbyist Todd Howe in their conversations about alleged shakedown efforts.  The LCA’s pasta, however, is penne  Good journalists are not influenced by free food. But rather that let good pasta go to waste, they will consume it.* State delays $ -- Nomoney was spent on SolarCity tools between mid-Aug and mid-Sept. 


MSG's James Dolan still paying Cuomo crony busted in bribery scandal (NYP) Madison Square Garden boss James Dolan is sticking by disgraced senior VP Joseph Percoco, who has been charged in an Albany pay-to-play scandal. At least for now. * Gov. Cuomo ‘had no idea’ about the nine former aides charged in ‘very disturbing’ New York corruption probe (NYDN) * Ex-congressman says Cuomo should scrap power plant construction (NYP) Cuomo should scrap construction of an upstate power plant cited in a sweeping federal corruption probe to maintain his own integrity, says former Ohio congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. If Cuomo doesn’t stop the project by Competitive Power Ventures “it would raise troubling questions about complicity,” said Kucinich, who has joined residents who oppose the planned 650-megawatt plant in Wawayanda, about 75 miles northwest of New York City. * Corruption Case Deals New York Governor a Blow (WSJ) Andrew Cuomo suffered a serious political setback this week when federal prosecutors charged his former top aide and eight others connected to him with participating in a bribery scheme.* For Alain Kaloyeros, an empire falls (Democrat and Chronicle)* Latest corruption indictment fuels distrust of government (WNYT)

$$$$$$
Cuomo is the biggestrecipient of campaign funds from Ciminelli, family, companies (Buffalo News) Campaign contributions from developer Louis P. Ciminelli, his wife, his companies and their top employees totaled $650,000 from 2000 through mid-2016 – and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has been the biggest recipient, a Buffalo News analysis found. Ciminelli’s extended family – his brother, late father and others – also has made significant political donations. Louis Ciminelli’s brother Paul F. Ciminelli, who owns Ciminelli Real Estate, made about $255,000 in political contributions during that same period, The News found. And their father, Frank L. Ciminelli, who died in 2014 and had founded the companies his sons now run, contributed, along with his wife, Rosalie, $250,000 during the time period.* ANDREW CUOMO AND THE CORRUPTION OF ALBANY (New Yorkers)




Flashback: Albany Got Away With the AEG Bid Rigging Scandal So They Did It Again  
Albany's Gambling Pay to Play Payoff Gov. David Paterson's advisor, , was overheard giving the governor "sensitive advice" and disparaging AG Andrew Cuomo on speakerphone on a crowded train to Washington A meeting was arranged by Harlem political consultant, who apparently spoke to the governor, on speakerphone, on a train. (Page Six)  Paterson advising casino despite past ‘bid-rigging’ scandal(NYP)\David Paterson was caught up in a casino bid-rigging scandal when he was governor, and now he’s an adviser for a gambling operator vying to open a $400 million casino north of the city, The Post has learned.  The New York State Democratic Party chairman is an “unpaid” confidante to Greenetrack, which runs an “electronic bingo” gambling parlor in Eutaw, Ala. — and wants to build a casino complex on a 140-acre site near Stewart Airport. “It’s mind-boggling,” said Blair Horner, director of the New York Public Interest Research Group. “Paterson is the new Democratic Party chairman getting behind one of the bidders for a casino. Should he be doing that? No.”A state Inspector General’s Office report in 2010 faulted Paterson for poor oversight of the “tainted”selection process that led to claims of bid-rigging on behalf of Aqueduct Entertainment Group.“Gov. Paterson engaged in an ill-advised meeting with the Rev. Floyd Flake, a well-known member of AEG, within five days of its conditional selection in an effort to garner political support,” the IG report said. Paterson last year admitted that he backed the AEG bid as a favor to former Senate Democratic Majority Leader John Sampson — who has been indicted in a separate real-estate scam  Albany’s latest stench(NYP Ed) Reports of political rot in Albany keep a-comin’ — with revelations this week by The Post of probes of top Democrats in a sleazy deal that, by his own admission, even ensnared ex-Gov. David Paterson.For starters, the feds are investigating whether state Sens. John Sampson and Malcolm Smith and others were involved in a scheme to steer a multibillion-dollar contract to a politically juiced firm, AEG, to run a racino at Aqueduct Race Track.






Cuomo's Poll Numbers Fall After Percoco Arrest Arrests Update 
New: @NYGovCuomo hits 2nd-lowest approval rating (40%), per WSJ/NBC/Marist poll done duringPercoco et al charges (WSJ)* A poll found Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s approval rating hit 40 percent last week, his second-lowest performance since he took office, and down one point since April, when 41 percent said his job performance was excellent or good, The Wall Street Journal reports. * Cuomo's campaign and the state Democratic Party have not said if the Governor is keeping campaign donations from COR Development, a development companies whose executives were charged in last week’s federal criminal complaint, the Post-Standard reports. * The attorney for Albany developer Joseph Nicolla, who pleaded not guilty, said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman"rushed" a bid-rigging case against his client — and suggested it was to keep up with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the Albany Times Union writes* Steve Pigeon was again in court, where his lawyers argued to have prosecutors reveal the name of a confidential informant referenced in the bribery indictment leveled against him by Schneiderman’s office, The Buffalo News reports.  * Though Albany is reeling from yet another corruption scandal, the ethics and lobbying regulators at the Joint Commission on Public Ethics didn’t discuss the case at their meeting. * Even as he seeks to move forward with economic development projects after the high-profile arrests, questions remain over whether Cuomo has done enough to address bid rigging in contracting.

More Cuomo Bake Ziti Pals Could Be Charged


Liz Benjamin ‏@CTLizB  Basically, everyone's defense to date isn't "we didn't do it," but rather, "Todd Howe is a dirty liar." Cor attorney: Case against company executives based onTodd Howe's 'lies' (syracuse.com) *  Cuomo tells reporters he had "no idea aboutanything" in pay-to-play case (Buffalo News)

"It turns out the state legislature does not have a monopoly on crass corruption in New York." — @PreetBharara

Cuomo pals linked to corruption case have not been charged (NYP) The wife of a longtime Cuomo ​family confidant and the governor’s former director of state operations both feature prominently in the feds’ latest corruption case — even though neither has been charged.  Lisa Toscano-Percoco, who is married to former top gubernatorial aide Joseph Percoco, ​allegedly snagged a $90,000-a-year, “​no-show​”​ job with energy firm Competitive Power Ventures, in exchange for her powerful hubby’s influence in Albany.  CPV “purposefully” kept her last name off brochures touting her work developing an education program for fourth-graders living near a plant the company was building in New Jersey, and also kept her from appearing in photos to promote the program, the feds say. She’s further accused of receiving $35,000 worth of checks from lobbyist Todd Howe to disguise bribes allegedly paid to her husband by the COR Development firm. Also mentioned repeatedly in the criminal complaint is Howard Glaser, who served as Cuomo’s director of state operations from 2011 to 2014, when he retired. * Feds: Former Cuomoaide was inside man for power plant  Opponenscharge CPV bid rigged; ‘public got bamboozled’   former right hand man to Governor Andrew Cuomo received $287,000 in bribes from the energy company building a power plant in Orange County, in exchange for help greasing the wheels, a federal criminal complaint charges.  The corruption probe, released Thursday, accuses Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr., CPV’s lobbyist and public relations person, with bribing former Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco. Percoco is charged with soliciting and accepting bribes in return for taking official action to benefit Competitive Power Ventures. CPV is at this moment constructing the power plant in Wawayanda, which will burn fracked gas.* Lt. Governor responds to Buffalo Billion probe: 'verydisturbing' & 'hurtful' (WBFO) * The federal court hearing against developer Louis Ciminelli was postponed and moved to New York City. * Prosecutors say Joe Percoco, the former top aide to Cuomo at the center of the corruption case, struggled to pay his bills and sought to continue a lavish lifestyle by trading on his influence.


The complaint alleges that Glaser, who’s not identified by name, used his personal e-mail when he agreed in August 2013 to help Percoco get state approval for CPV to buy “emission reduction credits” in New York to help it build the New Jersey plant. Although the state Department of Environmental Conservation had decided there was no need to sell CPV the credits “other than interstate cooperation,” it reversed course after an unidentified Glaser underling “instructed the DEC commissioner to enter into the reciprocity agreement,” court papers say. Toscano-Percoco and Glaser declined to comment, and the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office wouldn’t discuss potential charges against them. * Federal corruption charges were announced against two former close aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a senior state official and six other people, in a blow to the governor’s innermost circle and a repudiation of the way his prized upstate economic development programs were managed, the New York Times writes. * Bombshell criminal charges lay out 'pay to play' culturein New York (Buffalo News) * Corruption lands at doorstep of governor who vowed clean up (NYP)  *  Mayor de Blasio blasts NYC Controller Scott Stringer for'grandstanding,' says he's clueless about affordable housing crisis (NYDN)


 Beyond money, the motivation for SUNY Polythechnic Institute’s suspended director Alain Kaloyeros, charged in the federal bribery investigation and a separate state probe, appears to have been to reinvent upstate New York as a Rust Belt Silicon Valleythe Times reports.  * In a separate investigation, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman charged Kaloyeros and Joseph Nicolla, Albany's most prominent developer, with blatantly rigging the bids of multimillion-dollar development projects to benefit themselves and favored contractors, the Times Union reports.  * Cuomo isn’t a defendant in the indictment, but his reputation is on trial, with court documents describing how the governor’s ex-allies strategically rewarded his generous campaign donors with state contracts, the Wall Street Journal writes.

The wife of a longtime Cuomo ​family confidant and the governor’s former director of state operations both feature prominently in this latest corruption case, even though neither has been charged, the Post writes. *Cuomo has failed to deliver on his campaign promise to clean up Albany, with both Legislative leaders being convicted on corruption charges and his own administration the subject of two federal probes happening on his watch, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett writes.  

NYT Already Trying to Clear Cuomo
Times Only Paper Not to Do An Editorial on Arrests 
Cuomo’s Silver Lining in New Albany Graft Case: No Sign He Did Wrong (NYT) Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo makes only cameo appearances in a federal complaint announced on Thursday that outlines a corruption scheme involving an ally, a former close aide and donors of his. * Ex-Cuomo Aides Charged in Federal Corruption Inquiry (NYT)


Editorials While Cuomo took office vowing to clean up Albany’s pay-to-play culture once and for all, it now seems that culture infected the highest reaches of his own administration and his billion-dollar signature initiative, the Post writes. * Federal charges leveled against a longtime aide to Cuomo and the mastermind of upstate high-tech economic development dealt a severe blow to the governor’s image as an executive whose stern management prevents corruption, the Daily News writes. * The Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon writes in the Post that with SolarCity struggling with business issues of their own, the massive factory the state is building in Buffalo slated to be run by the company may instead become a monument to the corruption and fraud alleged in the indictment of former top Cuomo aides. * State lawmakers should be denied a pay hike, the Daily News writes, unless they are willing to testify in front of the panel charged with recommending their next salary and can provide specific reforms that will help to stem the corruption that is so prevalent in Albany. All the governor’s men: Cuomo's damaging loss of control (NYDN) * Say nothing, get nothing: Unless legislators tell a pay-raise commission how much they want and what ethics reforms they'll agree to, they shouldn't get a cent (NYDN Ed) 



Cuomo's Corruption Monument
Cuomo’s SolarCity disaster could become a monument to corruption (NYP) Earlier this month, Gov. Cuomo paid a visit to the centerpiece of his upstate economic development strategy: a massive, still unfinished “gigafactory” taxpayers spent $750 million to build and equip for SolarCity, a money-losing company with a foggy future. “This is the economy of tomorrow,” the governor gushed, according to a Buffalo News account. “It’s such a metaphor — a symbol of everything we’re doing.” Indeed. But rather than symbolizing a shiny high-tech future, the solar-panel could become a monument to what US Attorney Preet Bharara described as “pervasive corruption and fraud” allegedly infecting Cuomo’s signature economic development programs.   The most prominent public official named in the case was Alain Kaloyeros, the former president and guiding visionary behind the SUNY Polytechnic Institute, who was entrusted with an extraordinary degree of control over Cuomo’s biggest state-subsidized tech projects.




I Dreamed A Dream In Time Gone By When Hope Was High and Worth Living  
Bharara's NY Revolution Starting Ex-Cuomo Aide Joseph Percoco Arrested

Half Dozen to Be Charged
Todd Howe Ratting 
 9 Charged 80 Pages Read All  of Bharara's Charges. First time I've seen a table of contents in an indictment

Federal prosecutors also plan to bring public-corruptioncharges against other individuals in investigation into Buffalo Billion  *Feds may hit former Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco with corruption charges for alleged upstate bribery scheme (NYDN) A former top aide to Gov. Cuomo could be charged as early as Thursday in an alleged bribery and kickback scheme involving a multibillion-dollar plan to revitalize the upstate economy, according to The Wall Street Journal. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara intends to bring public corruption charges againstJoseph Percoco, along with a number of others involved in the so-called Buffalo Billion economic program, the newspaper reported.  Percoco, one of the governor’s most trusted allies for years, was reportedly earning consulting fees from companies doing business with the state while heading up Cuomo’s reelection campaign.* Excerpts from criminal complaint, including "2overlapping criminal schemes involving bribery, corruption and fraud"  * @Nygovcuomo: "My administration will continue to be fully cooperative in the matter as we have been since it began.” * .@nygovcuomo: “SUNY has rightly relieved Alain Kaloyeros from his duties and has suspended him without pay, effective immediately." * .@nygovcuomo: "If anything, a friend should be held to an even higher standard..This sort of breach, if true, should be & will be punished." * .@NYGovCuomo issues statement: "saddened and profoundly disappointed" re: charges against Percoco (whom he doesn't name), learned this am. * .@PreetBharara says this is "not small stuff," but rather "systemic" actions by a "network" of people, "distressing and disturbing."* .@PreetBharara says today’s chargesgo to “the core of how I think state govt operates” (by @bcolbyhamilton) * #nycorruption - @agschneiderman says an architecture firm at CNSE agreed to pay more rent if it received more state work via Kaloyeros.* EJ MCMAHON: Cuomo's SolarCity disaster could become monumentto corruption... @EjmEj
OK, so, according to complaint, "herb" = term of endearment that Percoco, Howe & at least 1 other govt official used since Mario days.

Since the investigation became public in April, Cuomo has distanced himself from Percoco and ordered an internal review of the program.*  
FBI interviews two local Democrats in Preet Bharara’sprobe of campaign funds (Buffalo News) Source will not name Democrats who are under federal scrutiny
NEW: Joe Percoco's attorney has issued a statement on his behalf, saying he will plead not guilty. He calls the case "an overreach."
Former Cuomo aideand 7 others have been charged in a corruption scheme by the U.S. 
Cuomo confidantes hit with corruption charges (NYP)
Source confirms @klnynews report: .@AGSchneiderman to announce own charges against Kaloyeros, Albany developer at SUNY nano today* .@AGSchneiderman: "It feels like we've been living in a Golden Age of Graft recently."* Tom Precious ‏@TomPreciousALB  Cuomo referred to the investigation that "ended yesterday.'' @PreetBharara said case is ongoing.

Bharara: I really hope there is a trial . . so that all NYers can see "in gory detail" how state govt works
In emails and other correspondence, Mr. Percoco and Mr. Howe referred to the bribes as “ziti.” * Todd Howe also got $14K per month from COR, and $385K in bonuses when SUNY Poly named COR a preferred developer.* Oh boy. Howe's lawyer: “(He) accepted responsibility for his actions and will testify truthfully if called upon.”* @JimHeaney ofthe Investigative Post was first to raise questions about SUNy Poly bidding. Hewas right.   * @Nygovcuomo: "My administration will continue to be fully cooperative in the matter as we have been since it began.” * .@nygovcuomo: “SUNY has rightly relieved Alain Kaloyeros from his duties and has suspended him without pay, effective immediately." * .@nygovcuomo: "If anything, a friend should be held to an even higher standard..This sort of breach, if true, should be & will be punished." * .@NYGovCuomo issues statement: "saddened and profoundly disappointed" re: charges against Percoco (whom he doesn't name), learned this am. * .@PreetBharara says this is "not small stuff," but rather "systemic" actions by a "network" of people, "distressing and disturbing." * Good times: SUNY-RF boosted Dr. K's pay from $523,886 inFY14 to $877,098 in FY16.    In plea deal, Howe not only admitted bid-rigging conspiracy but also embezzling from his firm, not paying taxes.
Steve McLaughlin ‏@SteveMcNY  Mario Cuomo's "3rd son" is about to be indicted. I'm sure Mario's other son knows nothing about it. #BuffaloBillion
News (The Bund): Buffalo Billion Investigation


Lobbyist Howe Turns Federal Rat On Percoco and Cuomo
Cuomo cronie spills for leniency deal in corruption probe (NYP) 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, who as a lobbyist had access to the highest levels of the Cuomo administration, and Percoco, who Cuomo has described as being like “my father’s third son,’’ were cut off from access to the administration after Bharara served a sweeping subpoena related to the activities of both men on the governor’s office in late April.  The subpoena, which was followed by a state attorney general’s raid on Howe’s Albany office — located at the SUNY’s Polytechnic Institute, which he once represented — and a federal raid on Percoco’s Westchester home, was part of Bharara’s ongoing probe of Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion project, contractors for which hired Howe and at various times paid Percoco and Percoco’s wife “consulting” fees.*Comptroller rips Cuomo’s jobs program for its ‘lowered goals(NYP)




Cuomo, MSG, Prococo Job and New Penn Stations? 
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the selection of the team of Related Companies, Vornado Realty and Skanska AB for a fast-tracked, $1.6 billion plan to renovate Penn Station and add a train hall in the nearby Farley Building, The New York Times reports. * Joe Percoco, a former top aide to Cuomo who was one of nine people arrested last week in an alleged corruption scheme, now works for Madison Square Garden, which will benefit from the Penn Station plan, although officials said Percoco’s role is irrelevant, NY1 writes.


The public sector
JOE PERCOCO
The former executive deputy secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo is one of the administration officials mentioned in the federal subpoena. Percoco, described by Cuomo as "my father's third son and my brother," left the administration in April 2014 to manage the governor's re-election campaign. He earned roughly $92,000 in wages from the campaign in 2014, and in February 2015 received a $120,000 bonus.
Disclosure forms for 2014 say Percoco also collected between $70,000 and $125,000 from CHA Consulting and COR Development during that year. He returned to the administration in December 2014, then departed for good in December 2015 to become a senior vice president with The Madison Square Garden Company. The Wall Street Journal has reported that his behind-the-scenes work for the governor continued.
Percoco previously worked with Cuomo in his father's gubernatorial administration, at the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and at the state attorney general's office.
The governor has said that while Percoco told him he might take private clients during his 2014 tenure as campaign manager, Cuomo did not ask his top aide to identify them when he returned to state service after the election.
ALSO FROM THE EXECUTIVE CHAMBER
The actions of five other current or former members of the administration are of interest in the subpoena: NYPA's Quiniones; State Operations Director Jim Malatras; Deputy Operations Director Andrew Kennedy; Secretary William Mulrow; and former spokesman Peter Cutler, whose assignments included development projects.
SUNY POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE
Formerly connected to the state University at Albany, the former College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering has served as the platform for many of the governor's signature economic development projects. Over the past year, the school has received federal as well as state subpoenas — the latter related to an investigation of possible bid-rigging in the development of a dormitory adjacent to the SUNY Poly campus. Its founding president and CEO is Alain Kaloyeros , who in February stepped down from the two nonprofit development boards that worked on the school's projects.
FULLER ROAD MANAGEMENT CORP.
The nonprofit development arm of SUNY Poly, set up to work on projects in the Capital Region. Fuller Road has also received federal and state subpoenas. RoAnn Destito, commissioner of the state Office of General Services, is a board member.
FORT SCHUYLER MANAGEMENT CORP.
The nonprofit development arm of SUNY Poly set up to work on projects in Utica, Syracuse and Buffalo, including the SolarCity, Film Hub and LED facilities.
A Columbia University professor who served on the Fuller Road board for just over a year in 2013 and 2014. Gannett News Service reported that Eimicke has written reports on the benefits of Syracuse projects supported by COR Development. He served as former Gov. Mario Cuomo's housing commissioner in the 1980s. Eimicke's wife, Karen Murphy, is an attorney specializing in equine law. She currently sits on the boards of both Fuller Road and Fort Schuyler. Neither responded to requests for comment.
CENTRAL NEW YORK HUB FOR EMERGING NANO INDUSTRIES
Located outside Syracuse in the town of DeWitt, this SUNY Polytechnic facility includes SORAA, an ultra-high performance lighting and LED technologies manufacturer, and a film production facility. The center — two buildings that face each other across a street — was built by COR Development after winning a request for proposals run by Fort Schuyler Management. The state has promised to invest $90 million in the LED facility — money that as Politico New York has reported will come from Central New York's share of the $1.5 billion Upstate Revitalization Initiative — and $15 million for the film production center.
BUFFALO HIGH-TECH MANUFACTURING INNOVATION HUB AT RIVERBEND
Officially dubbed the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend, the centerpiece of the Buffalo Billion economic development projects is the sprawling solar panel manufacturing facility — estimated to fill a million square feet when completed — that will receive $750 million in state support. Though owned by the state under the aegis of SUNY Poly, its main tenant will be the SolarCity GigaFactory, one of high-tech billionaire Elon Musk's ventures. The contract to construct RiverBend was awarded to Buffalo-area builder LPCiminelli by Fort Schuyler Management in a competition that has drawn federal scrutiny.

\



NYP Gives Us Buffalo Billion Summary for Dummies 
The Bufallo Billion was always an invitation to corruption (NYP) For US Attorney Preet Bharara — who dethroned the heads of both the state Senate and the Assembly — the idea of probing Gov. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion must’ve been a no-brainer. After all, having the government hand a billion dollars in taxpayer money to the private sector is dubious in itself — never mind the opportunities it offers for corruption. So all the recent revelations of Bharara’s Buffalo Billion probe — notably, the subpoenas he’s handed out to several people, including the governor’s former top aide, Joe Percoco — shouldn’t surprise. Bharara had already subpoenaed various parties linked to the Buffalo plan. That includes LPCiminelli, which is building the main $750 million site, RiverBend — whose owner, Louis Ciminelli, is a big Cuomo financial backer — and the gov’s own economic-development agency. But the latest disclosures raise new questions and place potential wrongdoing closer to Cuomo himself. Records show Percoco got up to $125,000 in 2014 in fees from two firms, COR Development and CHA, that do business with the state — and that have donated heavily to Cuomo. (Percoco pocketed that cash while on hiatus from government employ — though making over $100,000 as Cuomo’s campaign manager. And Thursday’s Post broke the news that Percoco got those payments even as he was rushing to refinance a suspicious $800,000, two-year mortgage on his new home. Cuomo this week admitted he knew Percoco, perhaps his most trusted confidante, “might be accepting consulting arrangements” while working on his campaign. Which is strange enough. But the real issue is whether any Team Cuomo member steered contracts to Ciminelli, COR or CHA (or anyone else) in exchange for fees or campaign “gifts.” Last week, even Cuomo’s own folks admitted Bharara had “raised questions of improper lobbying and undisclosed conflicts of interest.” We’ve long been skeptical about Cuomo’s Buffalo boondoggle, not least because it made little sense to have hard-working taxpayers build a factory for a firm, SolarCity, ownedby a multibillionaire, Elon Musk.  In probing the Buffalo Billion’s billion possibilities for corruption, maybe Bharara will come up with an explanation for that.*  Cuomo donors got grants to build (TU) Backers got subsidies on some projects rated lower than competitors


Cuomo's Percoco Loop-Hole Story  
Question the AG and Feds Looking to Answer: Bid Rigging? Contracts to Campaign Contributor?  Inside Deal" Same Players in Albany and Buffalo Projects?
@nypost: Percoco got nearly 100% financing on Westchester Co home from "shady" lender w close ties to the Capitol. * Gov. Andrew Cuomo campaign payroll listed Joe Percoco as paid wages, not as consultant (TU)  Former Cuomo aide took on range of clients in 2014 When Gov. Andrew Cuomo broke his silence Monday evening on the investigation of his former top aide Joe Percoco, he noted several times that during the period under examination by federal investigators, Percoco was nothing more than a "consultant" for his re-election campaign. State Board of Elections records, however, list the 17 payments made to Percoco between April and December as "WAGES."* A mystery business, Chris Pitts LLC, has emerged near the center of the federal probe into former top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco outside business interests. Pitts, whose firm paid Percoco’s wife, Lisa, $200,000 between 2012 and 2014, is not a well-known figure in New York politics. * Todd Howe, the Washington-based lobbyist who is under federal investigation and has close ties to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has quietly been added to a state ethics website as a lobbyist for entities also tied up in the probe. * State officials have been formally banned from speaking with Howe. In a memo dated Monday, Cuomo’s counsel, Alphonso David, advised agency leaders that the directive was being made “in light of ongoing investigations.”*  Cuomo Admin: Schwartz Will Review ‘All Decisions’ In Buffalo Billion Contracting (YNN) * Cuomo Admin: Schwartz Will Review ‘All Decisions’ In Buffalo Billion Contracting(YNN) *  State memo restricts contacts with lobbyist Todd Howe (PoliticoNY)



The Cuomo vs de Blasio War Has Gone to the Prosecutors With the AG Going Very Agressive
They were paid every two weeks, and rarely varied from a regular sum of $5,240.83. The matter of Percoco's political work status is of interest in light of revelations that during his time away from state government, Cuomo's former executive deputy secretary made between $70,000 and $125,000 from two development companies, COR Development of Syracuse and Clough, Harbour & Associates of Albany, that have received state contracts for work on upstate economic development projects. Those consulting fees were listed on Percoco's 2014 financial disclosure form on file with the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics. COR Development insists it never paid Percoco.* Q: Was Joe Percoco a "consultant" for Andrew Cuomo's 2014 re-election camapign? A: Not according to records * NY1 Online: Buffalo News Columnist Talks Federal Investigation IntoCuomo's BuffaloBillion Program







Joe Percoco had a balloon mortgage underwritten by someone who accompanied him, Cuomo, to Israel

According to the same form, Percoco's wife — a former middle-school teacher — was paid by a Connecticut consultant with ties to a third company, Competitive Power Ventures, that is in the process of constructing a natural-gas-fueled power plant in Orange County. Cuomo suggested Monday there was nothing necessarily wrong with Percoco having a range of private consulting clients. The governor said Percoco, after he returned to state service in December 2014, never informed him who else he had worked for during his seven months in the private sector, and Cuomo never asked. While Percoco took a leave of absence from the attorney general's office to work on Cuomo's 2010 gubernatorial campaign, payroll records from the Office of the State Comptroller show Percoco officially resigned in order to take up his private work in April 2014. Percoco resigned from the Executive Chamber for good last January to become a senior vice president with Madison Square Garden.* "The New York attorneygeneral's office is investigating possible bid-rigging related to a proposed dormitory at a State University of New York campus in Albany, part of a broader probe of contracting issues involving an ally of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, according to a person familiar with the investigation. The office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is examining whether Alain Kaloyeros,the president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute and a powerful force in state economic-development projects, improperly coordinated with real-estate firm Columbia Development, in possible violation of state antitrust laws, the person said. Subpoenas on the matter were sent in September to SUNY Polytechnic, Columbia Development and Fuller Road Management Corp., a SUNY-affiliated nonprofit responsible for considering the bidding on the dormitory project, the person said."

‘Shady’ Cuomo pal received nearly 100% financing on $815K home(NYP) Cuomo’s former right-hand man, who is under federal investigation, got nearly 100 percent financing on his sprawling Westchester home through a shady lender with close ties to the state capitol, The Post has learned. Joe Percoco and his wife, Lisa Toscano-Percoco, obtained an $800,000 “balloon” mortgage to buy their $815,000 South Salem house in 2012 — and needed a new loan two years later to avoid default, records show. The unusual, short-term loan was originated by GFI Mortgage Bankers, whose co-founder, Abe Eisner, is a key Cuomo liaison to Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. He even tagged along during the governor’s 2014 “solidarity” trip to Israel. Official financial-disclosure forms made public on Monday show that Percoco made between $70,000 and $125,000 during 2014 as a consultant for two companies — COR Development and CHA Consulting — which are involved in publicly-funded revitalization projects upstate. Sources have told The Post that Percoco is at the center of a federal probe into what Cuomo’s office last week called “questions of improper lobbying and undisclosed conflicts of interest by some individuals which may have deceived state employees involved in the respective programs and may have defrauded the state.”*  Source Confirms AG Investigation Into SUNY Poly (YNN)

Schneiderman probes SUNY’s involvement in ‘bid-rigging’ projects (NYP)* Officials say SUNY Polytechnic and its leader, Alain Kaloyeros, one of the point people for the Buffalo Billion program, is under investigation by state AG Eric Schneiderman over a contract awarded for a new dormitory building at the public college he runs in Albany. Schneiderman’s investigation is focused, in part, on the possible improper “coordination” of the bidding process for a proposed 500-student dorm. That process resulted in just one company, Columbia Development of Albany — whose owners and subsidiaries have contributed more than $100,000 Cuomo’s campaign committees — submitting a bid. In a statement, Richard Strassberg, an attorney for SUNY Polytechnic, said: “Fuller Road Management Corporation and its affiliates have cooperated fully with this investigation from its start in September 2015. Based on our own investigation we have seen no evidence of impropriety by anyone at Fuller Road or SUNY Poly.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former right-hand man, Joe Percoco, who is under federal investigation, got nearly 100 percent financing on his sprawling Westchester home through a shady lender with close ties to the state Capitol. Percoco and his wife, Lisa Toscano-Percoco, obtained an $800,000 “balloon” mortgage to buy their $815,000 South Salem house in 2012, and needed a new loan two years later to avoid default, records show.*   Though Cuomo repeatedly said Percoco was a “consultant” to his 2014 re-election campaign, state Board of Elections records list the 17 payments made to Percoco between April and December by the governors campaign committee as “WAGES.” They were paid every two weeks, and rarely varied from a regular sum of $5,240.83.* Dorm Project Draws N.Y. Attorney General’s Scrutiny (WSJ) The New York attorney general’s office is investigating possible bid-rigging related to a proposed SUNY dormitory, part of a broader probe of contracting issues involving an ally of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.*  More dubious Buffalo Billion dealings (Investigative Post) Questionable dealings by officials managing the Buffalo Billion didn’t begin or end withthe selection of a politically wired developer to oversee the construction of the SolarCity plant in South Buffalo. In fact, before LPCiminelli started developing the SolarCity facility, the state-affiliated development corporation managing the Buffalo Billion awarded a $20.3 million contract to design the plant to an architecture firm whose president, Thomas Birdsey, sat on the board of a closely related entity. Both development corporations were controlled by Alain Kaloyeros, the so-called nanotech guru and Gov. Cuomo’s point person on upstate economic development projects.* Sources: State AG's Office Investigating Alleged Bid-Rigging Scheme at State University's Polytechnic Institute(NY1)



Ravi Batra ‏@RaviBatra 
Cuomo's Explanation of Former Top Aide's Business Dealings Raises Questions http://tinyurl.com/hsk3dvd  -Cuomo creates new LegalHole #JoePercoco





SUNY Developer Retroactively Adds Lobbyists to State's List to Avoid Illegally Lobbying 
Firm facing federal probe added to N.Y.’s ethics list asa lobbyist for entities also linked to same investigation (NYDN) A Washington-based lobbyist who is under federal investigation and has close ties to Gov. Cuomo has quietly been added to a state ethics website as a lobbyist for entities also tied up in the probe. Todd Howe, president of WOH Government Solutions, this week was included on a list of lobbyists from his parent firm, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, who are representing COR Development and SUNY Polytechnic Institute, two entities that have been caught up in the federal probe into Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion upstate economic development initiative. He also recently was listed in a Whiteman Osterman and Hanna's filing regarding Louis Ciminelli, a Buffalo-area developer and big Cuomo donor. Ciminelli has been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors as they look into whether there was potential bid-rigging involving a contract won by his company to build a state-funded $750 million SolarCity plant in Buffalo. That means three of the five firms Howe as of Thursday is now listed as representing have known connections to the federal investigation. Shortly after the Daily News reported Friday that Howe, former Cuomo top aide and longtime friend Joseph Percoco, and others close to the governor were being probed by the feds, Cuomo Counsel Alfonso David issued a statement saying that the Manhattan U.S. Attorney‘s probe “has recently raised questions of improper lobbying and undisclosed conflicts of interest by some individuals which may have deceived state employees involved in the respective programs and may have defrauded the state."






Will Cuomo Inner Circle Buffalo Billion Connect Directly to Him
Cuomo has reason to worry as Bharara zeroes in on inner circle (NYP) Cuomo had seven days of smug last week, all at Mayor de Blasio’s expense — but that changed Friday when it developed that Andrew himself may be back in corruption-buster Preet Bharara’s cross hairs. And if not the governor, then certainly his alter-ego-cum-enforcer Joseph Percoco — a smart fellow who’s been tight as a tick with the Cuomo family since Mario was calling the shots a generation ago. Suddenly Bharara’s interest in Bill de Blasio’s campaign-contribution shenanigans — the subject of an apparently Cuomo-inspired bombshell on April 22 — was last week’s news. It seems that he’s particularly interested in Percoco, Kaloyeros, Buffalo developer (and big-bucks Cuomo contributor) Louis Ciminelli, lobbyist Todd Howe and a Buffalo-based construction company, based on last week’s reports.Ominously for the governor, Bharara reportedly believes that Percoco — who resigned as Cuomo’s top aide in January — may not properly have reported tens of thousands of dollars in outside income that he and his wife received from companies doing business with the state.

Then toss Shelly Silver into the mix. At age 72, he’s looking at a minimum of 14 years in prison when he’s sentenced Tuesday — and he has every incentive to tell prosecutors everything he knows about a dubious project he helped create. Want to bet Bharara would listen? * U.S. Attorney @PreetBharara’s #BuffaloBillionprobe has shocked political insiders (Buffalo News) * Ex-Cuomo Aide Paid by Companies With State Business, Records Show (NYT) The payments to Joseph Percoco totaled at least $70,000 in 2014, when he split his time working for the state and for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s re-election effort. * Percoco’s JCOPE Filing Claims 2014 Consulting Income (Updated) (YNN) * Former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo Joe Percoco reported income from two companies that had business before the state and which contributed to the governor’s re-election campaign: COR Development Co. LLC, a developer; and CHA, a civil engineering firm previously known as Clough, Harbour & Associates LLC.* Companies with state ties paid Cuomo pal $125,000 (NYP) * Companies with state ties paid Cuomo pal $125,000 (NYP) * Chris Gibson, G.O.P. Congressman, Decides Not to Run for New York Governor in 2018 (NYT) * Joseph Percoco, ex-Gov. Cuomo aide being probed by feds, reported earning $125G in consulting fees in 2014 (NYDN) * Siena Poll: Voters Says Ethics Top Issue For Albany (YNN) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended his former aide’s acceptance of fees from entities with business before the state, saying it was “totally allowable” for Joe Percoco to have done so while serving as the governor’s campaign manager * “I’ve known Joe Percoco for many years and he is a good man and I’d be shocked if he did anything wrong, but let’s get the facts and we can all make our own decisions,” Cuomo said. He also defended the Buffalo Billion program, which he said is doing “great work.” * Cuomo acknowledged Percoco had told him he planned to take on additional consulting work while also working on his boss’ re-election campaign. While the governor was aware his top aide would be taking on private work, he said he was not told of the specifics. * Federal investigators looking into the Buffalo Billion have requested information from SolarCity, the California-based rooftop solar energy systems installer, whose solar panel factory in South Buffalo is the keystone of the state’s high-profile economic development initiative. SolarCity is not the focus of the investigation, a company spokesman said. * COR Development Co. officials on Saturday denied ever paying a cent to Percoco. Yesterday, state officials released a disclosure form on which Percoco declared between $50,000 and $75,000 in income from the firm, but COR officials stood by their initial statement. * JCOPE received a federal grand jury subpoena seeking copies of Percoco’s financial disclosure forms more than a week ago. F.B.I. agents from the Buffalo office have executed search warrants at locations around BuffaloAlbanyNew York City and Washington, several people briefed on the matter said. * Investigative Post Editor Jim Heaney, whose reporting prompted federal investigators to launch the Buffalo Billion probe, says Cuomo’s penchant for secrecy and misguided notion that the rules don’t apply to him or his administration has fostered a culture that enables corruption. * Former LG Bob Duffy, now chairman of Rochester’s AIM Photonics Leadership Council, is taking a wait-and-see approach to the Buffalo Billion probe, saying it seems built on a lot of “unnamed sources, which always concerns me.” Due to the lack of specifics, Duffy said he wouldn’t speculate on what the investigation means for Rochester. *Amid an investigation of possible deception and conflicts of interest involving Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former executive deputy secretary Joe Percoco, a May 10 “Public Affairs Roundtable Breakfast” featuring Cuomo’s current Secretary Bill Mulrow and hosted by Whiteman Osterman & Hanna has been postponed.


Another Pay to Play Corrupt Construction Project in the Land of Buffalo Billion 
Construction boss to Bharara: ProbeCuomo’s ‘corrupt’ project (NYP) The boss of an upstate construction company is urging US Attorney Preet Bharara to probe another high-profile Buffalo economic development project pushed by the Cuomo administration, The Post has learned. Roseanne DiPizio, the CEO of Di­Pizio Construction and Dreamco Development, says there was something fishy about her firm’s ouster from the $19.8 million Buffalo waterfront project, which includes a new ice-skating rink. DiPizio, who has since filed suits in state and federal courts claiming wrongful termination and “racketeering” by state officials, told Bharara she’s a victim of government abuse and “pay-to play” corruption.  “I was made a scapegoat by ECHDC [Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.] and ESD [Empire State Development Corp.] leaders — notably EHDC Board President Thomas Dee and ESD Regional Chairman Sam Hoyt, appointees of Gov. Andrew Cuomo — who, after tarnishing my family’s reputation, subsequently gave the contract to a company whose executives have donated generously to Gov. Cuomo and others throughout this region,” Di­Pizio said in a Feb. 11 letter she wrote to Bharara, a copy of which was obtained by The Post.* Buffalo’s popular ice rink at Canalside has spurred accusations of political donations influencing a state contract in lawsuits and lawsuits involving state officials, the project’s design and a local construction company, The Buffalo News reports:  * What Albany needs is for the state to give it a fair share of state aid, without extra strings attached only to the checks for the state’s capital city, and for governors and to end the practice of putting multi million-dollar Band-Aids on the problem,the Times Union writes: * Cuomo’s opposition to KeyCorp’s play for First Niagara Financial Group might be nothing more than political posturing, according to some industry analysts. * The sixth annual census by a nonprofit solar research and education group shows New York ranks fourth in the nation in solar technology jobs.*  Buffalo Billion corruption? The Buffalo News








Update On Another Fed Investigation Buffalo Billion Contract  
Behind Complaintsabout BuffaloBillion Contracts (Buffalo News) Some say the state intentionally built flexibility into the bidding process for the RiverBend project. Others say a more familiar factor was at play: politics. The Buffalo News’ Tom Precious writes that with documents subpoenaed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and some observers calling into question the bidding process, many involved in Buffalo’s $750 million Riverbend contract are on edge:  A major component of the Buffalo Billion program, which eventually became SolarCity’s project at RiverBend, still can’t shake off sharply different interpretations over how the state conducted its bidding process. In one camp: the state wanted to get economic development moving quickly in Buffalo and thus sought a big, experienced local company that could handle development and construction tasks for future projects not yet on the drawing boards. That meant pre-selecting a vendor, and that meant some built-in flexibility in the bidding process. In the other camp: a concern that political connections and political donations affected the awarding of what became two contracts in a process whose outcome changed so much from the beginning that it should have been re-bid. That is believed to be among the areas federal prosecutors are pursuing in their probe of the Buffalo Billion program.


Bharara Puts the Pay to Play Culture of Corruption Government On Trial
Preet Bharara focuses on political favors in New Yorkstate government probe (csmonitor.com)  With a widening probe of New York state government, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara appears to be taking aim at the nebulous relationship between money and politics itself — a long and murky association in Albany and in capitals across the nation. To politicians who grouse that Bharara is attempting to indict the political system itself, the latest probe appears to be an effort to criminalize what is essentially business as usual — something that has proven difficult for prosecutors before.  "Corporations don't spend tens of millions of dollars as a matter of good citizenship," he said. "The system is funded by investors and investors inevitably expect a return, regardless of whether actual laws are broken or not." A report from an anti-corruption commission Cuomo himself created in 2013 and then shut down the next year identified "eyebrow-raising patterns of potential misconduct" based on a review of campaign contributions to elected officials from donors with interests in legislative outcomes. * U.S.attorney believed to be investigating Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s deal (Daily Freeman)

A former high-ranking Suffolk County Board of Elections employee’s time-sheet and personnel records have been subpoenaed by the FBI, county sources said.
Bharara blasted for Libous prosecution:  * Howard Zemsky, a Buffalo businessman who runs the state’s Empire State Development Corp., maintained the Cuomo administration’s no-comment policy after repeated questions surrounding a federal probe of the Buffalo Billion program, the Buffalo News reports: * Howard Zemsky, the leader of New York’s economic development agency, maintained the Cuomo administration’s no-comment policy with regards to questions surrounding a probe by federal prosecutors of the Buffalo Billion program – other than to say the agency is cooperating fully.* ESDC's Zemsky toed the Cuomo admin line, declined to commenton US Attorney Bharara's Buffalo Billion probe.  *Cuomo has put up $750 million for the SolarCity project in Buffalo – the biggest economic development effort he has undertaken in his five years as governor – a project that isn’t without risk, and not the first time he has bet on a high-risk company as part of an economic development push. *  Right From the Reporter: Buffalo Billion

SolarCity's Buffalo Billion Fed Investigation Target Stocks Crash Mayday!
SolarCity: Mayday! Mayday! (Investigative Post) For starters, the company disclosed it posted a net loss of $234 million in the third quarter. That’s the biggest quarterly loss in the history of the company and brings the year-to-date losses to a staggering $537 million. That puts SolarCity on track to lose more than $700 million for 2015, compared with net losses of $375 million in 2014, $152 million in 2013 and $92 million in 2012.
See a pattern there? SolarCity stock prices also took a nasty tumble Thursday, prompting Business Insider to declare “SolarCity is getting nuked.” The bad news on earnings drove the company’s stock down to $31.15 in after-hours trading. A day earlier, the stock closed at $38.34. That’s down from a peak of $84.96 in February 2014. The stock price is continuing to drop today.* More bad news for SolarCity – and the governor’s investment in the company’s Western New York project.


Update: DiNapoli Says Cuomo and lawmakers Took Away Some Of His Oversight Over SUNY Spending
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli pointed out that the federal investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" is coming four years after the governor and Legislature took away some of his oversight powers regarding SUNY spending, the Times Union writes:  *   DiNapoli didn't say there was any link between the 2011 change, which supporters said was intended to streamline projects, and the current investigation. The legislation taking away the comptroller's oversight power applied to SUNY and CUNY schools, hospitals and construction funds. Much of the construction in Buffalo is processed through a separate entity, Fort Schuyler Management Corp., a not-for-profit that handles developments on behalf of SUNY Polytechnic. This particular curtailment of the comptroller's oversight powers — one of several during Cuomo's term in office — expires at the end of June, though it could be renewed during the next legislative session.* State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli pointed out that the federal investigation into Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” economic development program is coming four years after the governor and Legislature took away some of his oversight powers regarding State University of New York spending. Cuomo No Subpoena Cuomo: No Subpoena In Buffalo Billion Probe (YNN) * Cuomo: ‘No reason to question’ Buffalo Billion contracting (PoliticoNY) @CuomoWatch Skelos said something similar 3 months before he was charged  * The governor said he has not been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors who are looking into the awarding of his administration’s Buffalo Billion contracts, though he did not clearly state that he has not been questioned, The Buffalo News writes: Thursday Update Cuomo Hit With 'Buffalo Billion' Questions at Albany Event (NY1) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has not been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors who are looking into the awarding of his administration’s Buffalo Billion contracts. The governor, however, did not clearly state that he has not been questioned by investigators from the offices of US Attorney Preet Bharara. *  A Cuomo spokesman later clarified that neither Cuomo nor his staff have been either subpoenaed or questioned by Bharara’s office about the initiative. * Buffalo Billion Boss Offers, Cancels Interview; Claims 'Threat of Jail' * Cuomo says he hasn't been subpoenaed in Buffalo Billion probe Buffalo News * Cuomo says he has not scrutinized Buffalo Billion contracts WBFO * Alain Kaloyeros, president of SUNY Poly and the man behind the Buffalo Billion, told the Gotham Gazette he faces “the threat of jail” if he discusses Bharara’s probe. He also invited the publication on a tour of his Albany campus, and then abruptly cancelled it with no explanation.* U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara at a panel discussion defended his efforts to publicize his office’s public corruption cases, saying it is his “obligation” to discourage public officials from committing similar crimes, Gannett Albany reports:  * State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli described his relationship with Bharara’s office as “ongoing and positive” as the federal government investigates the contracting process for the “Buffalo Billion”, State of Politics reports:EDITORIAL: Federal probe casting dark cloud over Buffalo Billion (Niagara Gazette)





Bharara: We will continue to do everything we can to root out public corruption–whether we find it in a city council, in Albany, or in UN



A Federal Investigation of Buffalo Billion Creates Conptroller's Yogism

At the same time, she hired not only Kevin Gagan for JCOPE’s newly created dual position of chief of staff and special counsel, but also two other former staffers from Cuomo’s term as attorney general. * The Joint Commission on Public Ethics revoked the ability of its staff to hire personnel without the consent of commissioners, which comes amid concerns about executive branch meddling, the Time Unionreports: Three Cuomo-tied hires spark JCOPE board unrest Albany Times * DiNapoli: ‘Positive Relationship’ With Bharara (YNN)













How An 1860 SF Law to Keep Chinese Out is Eerily Similar to the Buffalo Billion Contract Proposal
As the U.S. Attorney is Tracking Buffalo Billion bidders’political contributions in a Probe reportedly focusing on contributions toCuomo It Time to Look At an 1886 SF Law Designed to Keep Out Chinese Immigrants. The Buffalo Billion Law was designed to deliver a state contract to a developer who was a big contributor to Cuomo.
 In 1880, the elected officials of the city of San Francisco passed an ordinance that persons could not operate a laundry in a wooden building without a permit from the Board of Supervisors. The ordinance conferred upon the Board of Supervisors the discretion to grant or withhold the permits. At the time, about 95% of the city's 320 laundries were operated in wooden buildings. Approximately two-thirds of those laundries were owned by Chinese persons. Although most of the city's wooden building laundry owners applied for a permit, only one permit was granted of the two hundred applications from any Chinese owner, while virtually all non-Chinese applicants were granted a permit. The Request for Developers of the Buffalo Billion Contract state that to qualify for the contract the developer must have 50 experience of doing business in Buffalo.* Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said nearly one of every four workers on the SolarCity construction project during July were women or minorities, which exceeds the diversity goals for the initiative, The BuffaloNew reports:  AG Investigated Bid Rigging In BuffaloAG Eric Schneiderman’s office has been investigating alleged bid rigging at the Erie County Department of Public Works since at least March. County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who is seeking re-election this fall, told City & State that the only investigation into the department that he is aware of stems from actions during 2010 and 2011, which predate his administration.

More on the Buffalo Billion Investigation


Shockingly only once contractor qualified for the Buffalo Billion Contract LP Ciminelli.  Ciminelli and his wife have contributed $123,850 to Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaigns. And that doesn’t count the other half of the Ciminelli family, including Paul, which would bring the total closer to $128,000.  Ciminelli has found other ways to give to Cuomo, too. A limited liability corporation tied to him called Highland Park Village donated $25,000 to Cuomo on May 29, 2014, several months after LPCiminelli got the RiverBend contract.  Ciminelli also is among the local business executives who have financed 43 x 79, a Buffalo group of business executives that gave Cuomo $25,000 on October 25, 2013, just as the Buffalo Billion bidding process was getting underway.  In Yick Wo v. Hopkins The Court, in a unanimous opinion written by Justice Matthews, found that the administration of the statute in question was discriminatory and that there was therefore no need to even consider whether the ordinance itself was lawful. Even though the Chinese laundry owners were usually not American citizens

The Buffalo News details the numerous parties involved inU.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation into the Buffalo Billion program and their political donations to Cuomo and many other major political players across the state over the years: No one yet has alleged that anything illegal happened. Indeed, connections between officeholders and campaign donors who also seek government contracts is hardly a secret or new in AlbanyWashington or any city hall. Developers frequently pay attention to those holding political power and public purse strings, and their donations to candidates cross party lines. For his part, Cuomo recently dismissed a reporter’s question about potential problems created by donations to his campaign from individuals and companies getting state contracts.



“It hasn’t been a problem for the past 100 years, so I don’t know why it would be today,” Cuomo said. Schuler estimated that Ciminelli has given to 200 separate political campaigns over the past decade. Other officeholders receiving in excess of $15,000 from Ciminelli over the years include State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, former Republican State Sen. George Maziarz and Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown. He’s given hefty donations to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, both in her federal and state campaigns, as well as to former State Sen. Mark Grisanti, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes and former governors David Paterson and Eliot Spitzer. On the lobbying front, Ciminelli has worked with a couple of firms in the past, including * Bharara Looking To Redefine What Cuomo Says Is No Problem  *Buffalo Billion is a whole different animal Times Union  Killing Moreland Now JJOKE  It remains unclear what will happen to those appointed tothe Joint Commission on Public Ethics board by legislators now facing corruption charges, as three JCOPE members terms end in mid-December (NYDN)* Fate of 5 JCOPE appointees of indicted legislative leaders is up in the air (NYDN) More Long Island Hood Pol A concrete company co-owned by the head of the state Senate Labor Committee, Long Island Republican Jack Martins, has been sued numerous times for alleged labor violations. More Questions continue about economic development practices by Cuomo’s administration – including the proposed sale of valuable piece of land from NYSERDA to SUNY Poly for $1. Board member Kenneth Daley, who is the head of the utility company National Grid, said he’d like an independent legal opinion before signing off on the deal. Third Term The Daily Freeman’s Alan Chartock explores the likelihood ofa third term for Cuomo, noting the governor’s fundraising capabilities and asking whether a challenger strong enough to knock him off would come forward: * A @nytimes attorney is asking why two docs related to Skelos' wiretaps haven't been madepublic  (PoliticoNY)



 Parkside Strategies and Bolton St. Johns. Both firms employed Maurice Garner, the politically wired Buffalo consultant and founder of the Grassroots political club in Buffalo, during part of the time they represented LPCiminelli. Parkside also ran the Jobs for New York PAC for Litwin's Glenwood which is at the center of the Silver and Skelos Indictments.  Mel Miller was one of the founding Owners of Bolton St. Johns.  He Now Works for Al A'Dmato as a lobbyists.  It is not clear what ties he still has to Bolton St. Johns. Crain’s also reports Maurice Garner, who co-founded Buffalo’s Grassroots political club with the city’s  mayor, (and former state senator) Byron Brown, is opening a Buffalo office for the Manhattan-based lobbying and political strategy firm the Parkside * Â Group.Sources say Garner fears he may be focus of FBIinvestigation; wants peace deal with rival club (buffalochronicle) The AG Schneiderman is widely thought that Mayor Byron Brown and Maurice Garner — the founder of a formerly powerful Eastside political club, Along with Buffalo Power Broker and democratic operative Steven Pigeon. Pigeon attorneys may file abuse of process complaintagainst Schneiderman (Buffalo Chronicle) Pigeon's according to journalist Wayne Barrett "


Something Happening Here: From Buffalo to Long Island Subpoenas Flying All Over
The FBI and state investigators hit the headlines in Buffalo recently when they raided the homes of three major political operatives, including Steve Pigeon and Steve Casey, both of whom work for one of D'Amato's biggest upstate clients, the Congel family, father-and-son mall developers. Their companies paid D'Amato $2.7 million in federal and state lobbying fees. Not only did D'Amato represent the Congel company on a troubled Rochester project, he represented the Monroe County government that backed it.  Over the past 10 years or so, Ciminelli, his companies and top executives have contributed about $532,000 into the political process on the state, federal and local levels, according to a review of state, federal and New York City campaign filings. Judge Rejects Libous’s Bid For A New Trial(YNN) * A U.S. District Court judge rejected an effort by former state Sen. Tom Libous to have his felony conviction tossed because of a lack of evidence in his trial, Gannett Albany reports: * Former state Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous, who is facing five years in prison after being convicted on corruption charges, will not be sentenced until he completes another round of chemotherapy, GannettAlbany reports:  * Former state Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous’ sentencing for a felony conviction will wait until he completes another round of chemotherapy. US District Judge Vincent Briccetti on Wednesday pushed Libous’ sentencing date back to Nov. 24 from Oct. 30.



When You Got A Comptroller By the Short Hairs An Investigation Follows?
DiNapoli ‘May Look’ At Buffalo Billion (YNN) State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said during a CapTon interview last night that his office “may look” at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signatureSTART-UPNY, that found the money had produced “no tangible results.” The comptroller’s office also has an audit underway of the Excelsior Jobs program, which replaced the Empire Zone program in 2010. The comptroller was quick to point out that his office’s pre-auditing powers were curtailed back in 2011, which considerably reduced his oversight at the front end of projects like the Buffalo Billion – especially since much of the money is funneled through a nonprofit, Fort Schulyer Management Corp., which handles development on behalf of SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “The landscape has changed in terms of what we’re allowed to do ahead of time,” DiNapoli said. “But after the money is spent, we’ll certainly be doing more audits in this area, generally.”* Speaking before 250 admiring law students, Bharara smiled widely when the dean of the NYU Law School pulled out a recent copy of The Post with an admiring headline about the US attorney. Earth US Attorney Preet Bharara: “Somebody once made the mistake of asking me, ‘What again is your jurisdiction exactly?’ And I said, ‘Are you familiar with Earth?'”



The NYT Which Has For the Most Part Ignored Bharara Request to Investigate Corruption Sent Their Lawyers for the Skelos Wiretaps
 ***New York Times asks for Skelos wiretap documents (Politico) An attorney for the New York Times has sent a letter to the judge overseeing the case against state Sen. Dean Skelos, asking why two key documents related to a wiretap on the phone of the senator's son, Adam, have not been made available to the public. In the letter to U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood, David McCraw, assistant general counsel for the Times, noted that the two documents — the original application for the wiretap on the younger Skelos' phone as well as a letter explaining why the government decided to shut the wiretap down early — had been sent directly to the court and not added to the case's online docket. Skelos’ team quotes from the letter in the motion:

Self News Embargo by True News
“The  government … was terminating the wiretap … because it had ‘determined that, likely due to publicity surrounding the Government’s  arrest of [Sheldon Silver] the Speaker of the New York Assembly in January 2015 and news reports regarding the Government’s investigation of other public officials  including DEAN SKELOS, the Target Subjects have significantly curtailed their use of the Target Cellphone to make telephone calls.’” The defense did, apparently, deliver the information to the court, but only after it discussed the information with the prosecution. The two parties came to an agreement, according to McCraw, that the documents would not be made publicly accessible.



The Media Has Ignored for A Year and A Half Bharara's Plea to Investigative Corruption Beyone His Corruption Arrests
One Year Ago   Preet challenges journos to do investigative reporting (CrainsNY April 22, 2013) "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," Bharara said. "Groundbreaking corruption coverage is not just good copy, it's a path to good government." Bharara. The press has a role to play. "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," he said - His crusade to “clean up government” is particularly essential because Albany has so much power over local municipalities, including New York City, he contended. With less federal help than there used to be, a more honest, efficient and incorruptible state government is needed more than ever, Mr. Bharara said. “What happens in Albany is important, what transpires there is important. 


Even state legislators, believe it or not, are important,” he said to some laughter. “We need a state government that is willing to and capable of tackling the pressing public policy challenges of our time.” Mr. Bharara was not shy about touting the political scalps he’s racked up. Using the example of his office winning a corruption conviction of former Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, Mr. Bharara said he began to question just how much legislation had been for sale in Albany. “How many past bills were born of bribery?” he asked. * U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says his corruption investigations will help to improve a “broken down” political system. * Preet Bharara branches out (Capital)* Preet Bharara’s speech fuels speculation of a run for office (NYP) * Bharara Says Corruption Probes Are Not Done; Cuomo Says Lifein State Capitol More Complicated(NY1)






Buffalo Billion Investigation Becoming Bharara War On Campaign Funding As We Know It
Federal prosecutors examining Buffalo Billion RFP language seen as favoring Cuomo donor
Cuomo remains cool as federal probe of Buffalo Billionsproceeds (Watertown Times)
Cuomo again praised progress being made by the economic development program known as the Buffalo Billion, but did not rule out adjusting it pending the outcome of a federal investigation, State of Politicsreports:  *  I Ain’t Gonna Play SolarCity (YNN) The man with the plan to build SolarCity is Lou Ciminelli, a big donor to Governor Cuomo. How big, you ask? It appears as though Lou and his wife AnnLouise have given the Cuomo Campaign roughly $96,500 over the years. And now this relationship appears to be thesubject of a federal inquiry. But that doesn’t include money given through a Limited Liability Company or LLC, known as Highland Park Village. Stay with me now, because this gets complicated. Jon Reznick of Competitive Advantage Research gets credit for finding this connection. So, here is the timeline…Ciminelli and his wife contribute more than $25,000 to Cuomo in January 2014. It’s over the limit and some of the money has to go back as a refund. Ciminelli gets selected as the developer for SolarCity shortly thereafter, and then in May Highland Park Village gives another $25,000, which in Reznick’s words makes both contributions nice “bookends for both before and after the SolarCity contract was awarded.”So, if you are keeping track at home, Ciminelli and his wife have contributed $123,850 to Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaigns. And that doesn’t count the other half of the Ciminelli family, including Paul, which would bring the total closer to $128,000. * State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said he wouldn’t mind if the Legislature discussed different ways to handle the state contract procurement process, the Times Union reports: Cuomo brushes off probe reports: ‘We’re getting projects done’ (PoliticoNY) * As he follows the scent of corruption in state government, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is examining the bidding practices applied in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” revitalization program, including its largest undertaking, the SolarCity factory rising along a bend in the Buffalo River. * State officials let the SolarCity developer hand-pick subcontractors with the intention of setting prices later, which is unusual for government projects and may have inspired a federal probe in Buffalo, The Buffalo News reports: * Federal prosecutors investigating Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initiative to revitalize Buffalo have issued subpoenas to Empire State Development, the state agency funding the Buffalo program, The NewYork Times reports: * Bharara opens new front in battle with Albany (PoliticoNY) As his office investigates one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's key programs, Preet Bharara is making war on campaign fund-raising as we know it. The U.S. attorney for the Southern District issued a flurry of subpoenas earlier this summer, seeking information about how construction contracts were awarded on several big state projects in Buffalo, according to people familiar with the investigation and other published reports.  The New York Times reported Sunday that investigators subpoenaed Empire State Development, SUNY Polytechnic Institute and their subsidiaries. It's impossible to know exactly what Bharara is looking for — the prosecutor and his aides refuse to talk about their ongoing work — but his efforts are ensnaring campaign donors whose apparent sin is giving to politicians as they benefitted from state business.* Federal investigators are looking at how government-funded projects were awarded, and whether state elected officials played a role in choosing who would benefit from the major infusion of funds. Cuomo’s ESDC has been subpoenaed, along with SUNY Poly.* Builder whose firm was picked for Buffalo Billion projecthosted gathering for Cuomo during bidding process (NYT)* Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office is denying a New York Post item that top administration aide Bill Mulrow is on the way out in favor of Howard Glaser, the former state operations director, State of Politics reports: *A certain USattorney is coming for the dirty money that fuels Albany corruption.   Another Pay to Play Subpoena Former assemblyman named in federal subpoena despite denial (NYP)  Former Assemblyman Alexander Gromack, who insisted last week that he was not a target of an investigation, is named in a federal grand jury subpoena, according to a new report. The Journal News reported Monday that it obtained the federal grand- jury subpoena requesting information about Gromack’s ethics filings with Rockland County, papers that failed to disclose he earned $10,000 referring clients to a bus company. The legal request was reportedly accompanied by a letter from US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office claiming that it was part of a federal investigation into a “suspected felony.” * Amid a probe by US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office of the Buffalo Billion, one of the initiative’s signature projects, a SolarCity factory, is set to ramp up its hiring in a big way * Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul told reporters the federal government’s investigation into contracting for the state’s “Buffalo Billion” economic development program won’t hurt job creation, State of Politics reports:  * The workforce at the SolarCity factory construction site in Buffalo, which has hovered around 450 for much of the summer, is expected to nearly triple in the coming months as work on the building’s mechanical and electrical systems gets underway, TheBuffalo News writes: * As the U.S. attorney reviews the Buffalo billion investment program,Flanagan said it’s up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to assess the request for proposal process.* Contractors and state officials quietly lessened diversity hiring goals at the SolarCity project in Buffalo from 25 percent to 15 percent, while another Buffalo Billion project is also falling short, Investigative Post writes:  * Cuomo defended the money the state has doled out to Buffalo amid subpoenas issued by federal prosecutors seeking details about the contracts for the Buffalo Billion project, saying the project has been a “phenomenal success.” The governor repeatedly said that any questions about the U.S. attorney’s probe of the Buffalo Billion should be directed not to him, but to the U.S. attorney, Preet Bharara. *  The Cuomo administration agreed to lower affirmative action hiring goals for the construction of the SolarCity plant – part of the Buffalo Billion initiative – from 25 to 15 percent and has sat by silently while contractors hired a workforce that is only 6 percent minority. * State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said he wouldn’t mind if the Legislature discussed different ways to handle the state contract procurement process, but also stressed that the Buffalo Billion – and other economic development projects – are being run by “the executive branch.” 



After Exposing Corrupt Albany Feds Shuffle Off to Buffalo
The Feds Continue to Look At the Governor Beyond Killing Moreland 

Bharara investigating Cuomo’s pricey Buffalo Billion project (NYP) Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara has expanded his anti-corruption crusade to the far western edge of the state — investigating Gov. Cuomo’s controversial Buffalo Billion revitalization project, The Post has learned. The probe of Cuomo’s pet project is the first to touch his office beyond Bharara’s investigation of thegovernor’s shutdown of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption last year. The new investigation is focused on the multimillion-dollar contracts awarded to build facilities for high-tech, drug-development and clean-energy businesses, a source familiar with the probe told The Post.  Bharara’s office has slapped several firms with subpoenas in recent months, the source said. subpoenas in recent months, the source said. “It’s a comprehensive look at the bidding process,” the source said. “They’re looking at communications between contractors and state officials.” Bharara’s probe extends some 250 miles beyond the boundaries of his district, the Southern District of New York, which is headquartered in Manhattan and includes The Bronx and six suburbs north of the city. It also infringes on the jurisdiction of Buffalo US Attorney Bill Hochul, whose wife, Kathy, is Cuomo’s lieutenant governor. * In BuffaloBillion probe, federal prosecutors taking aim at centerpiece of Cuomo's effortsin upstate New York (WSJ) *  Cuomo: No knowledge of Bharara-scrutinized contract 


In May, the Buffalo News revealed Hochul recused himself from an investigation of former Erie County Democratic Chair Steve Pigeon, a Cuomo political adviser, but said his top assistant was overseeing it and coordinating with state prosecutors. A report this year by the nonprofit Investigative Postblasted Buffalo Billion as a “costly experiment in economic development that is beset by secrecy and politics.” The report said that requests for records under the state Freedom of Information Law were ignored until a lawsuit was filed and that the documents released were stripped of “key information,” including payments to developers. The report also revealed the developer of two Buffalo Billion buildings is Louis Ciminelli, who contributed $96,500 to Cuomo’s two campaigns for governor. At one point, the request for proposals to build SolarCity required applicants to have “over 50 years of proven experience” in construction in around Buffalo, which, the report said, excluded any company except Ciminelli’s. * Investigative Post: Suppression of Buffalo Billion spending records (WGRZ) * Feds probing Buffalo Billion contracts (Investigative Post) Meanwhile, The New York Daily News is reporting that the feds have subpoened records of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute, headed by Alain Kaloyeros, who is managing the Buffalo Billion program. The Daily News also reported SUNY has hired a criminal defense lawyer to represent the Polytechnic Institute.* Local officials insist Bharara’s investigation into the Buffalo Billion won’t negatively impact nano projects in the Utica area.


As the Daily News Cuts Staff Buffalo's Investigative Post With Their Buffalo Billions Investigation Proves Their Is A Way to Do Good Journalism
Feds Investigate Cuomo's Big Spending On His Friends In Buffalo (Gothamist)  Pressed earlier this summer by a reporter for Buffalo's Investigative Post who was seeking details of the bidding process and faced illegal stonewalling across multiple state agencies and state-run nonprofits, Kaloyeros said, "We are not political operatives nor do we respond to perceived threats and terrorism." That "terrorism" apparently consisted of repeated phone calls, emails, and Freedom of Information Law requests. Still, little is known about the selection process. What is clear, according to the Investigative Post, is that developer McGuire Development scored the $55 million contract to renovate skyscrapers in Buffalo to accommodate IBM, then three months later, donated $25,000 to Cuomo's campaign. The firm LP Ciminelli scored a heftier $750 million contract to build a solar-panel factory. Its president, Louis Ciminelli, is one of Cuomo's biggest donors in the region, having contributed $96,500 to the governor's two campaigns. Until competitors balked, the request for bids was written with the requirement that bidders have 50 years experience working in Buffalo, which only LP Ciminelli did. That company and Ciminelli Real Estate, run by Louis Ciminelli's brother, won the $50 million contract to build drug research space at a Buffalo medical campus. Paul Ciminelli's $10,500 to Cuomo and $5,000 to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul cannot have hurt.



The requirement was changed to 15 years, but his company, LPCiminelli, got the job anyway. The report also said McGuire Development donated $25,000 to Cuomo’s campaign three months after scoring the technology-hub construction job. Bharara has already secured the indictments or convictions of 17 New York politicians. This year, he brought charges against Assemblyman Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan)and state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-LI) that forced them to resign leadership positions. He won convictions of state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) and former Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous (R-Binghamton).* Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion revitalization project for corruption, focusing on contracts to build facilities for tech, pharmaceutical and clean-energy businesses

 A source said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara subpoenaed documents from SUNY Polytechnic Institute as part of a probe into Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s so-called “Buffalo Billion” economic development plan, the Daily Newsreports * Cuomo said the existence of an investigation does not mean anything wrong is happening when asked about reports that Bharara is probing his economic development work, State of Politicsreports:  * @JimHeaneywho's been digging hard into the Buffalo Billion story for months.  * U.S.Attorney Bharara probes contracts for BuffaloBillion and BPS Construction Project. (BN)





The Weirdest Presidential Election
Or is Cuomo Trying to Stop From Being Indicted? Is de Blasio Pushing His Washington Friends to Get Cuomo?

Is Cuomo trying to run for vice president on Biden’s ticket? (NYP) The second theory holds that Cuomo has been promoting Biden to put pressure on Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Southern District US Attorney Preet Bharara, and possibly Obama himself to block or terminate Bharara’s investigation of Cuomo’s shutdown last year of the corruption-fighting Moreland Commission and allegations he or his aides sought to interfere with the probe. “There’s no way Preet would bring an action against Cuomo without Lynch and probably Obama himself signing off, and Biden would be right in the middle of that,’’ said a prominent New York City official. Many Republicans also subscribe to that theory.* PR bigwig quits after firm hires Anthony Weiner(NYP) Anthony Weiner is so toxic that the powerhouse public-relations firm that hired him is losing top-flight talent, sources tell The Post. Arthur Schwartz, one of the top executives at MWW, quit after the p.r. firm put the horndog ex-congressman from Queens on its payroll as a public policy “expert,” the sources said.



From Buffalo to Albany Cuomo Pay to Play Tech Developments Exposed
The Times Union’s Chris Churchill sees “echoes” of the under-investigation Buffalo Billion and Albany’s own nano tech development questions.  We don't know exactly why SUNY Poly's involvement with the Buffalo Billion has attracted the attention of U.S. AttorneyPreet Bharara.  But from what we can surmise, the decision to subpoena records was at least partly motivated by the awarding of a construction bid to one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's major donors. Hmm. Now why does that sound familiar? Oh, that's right. We have similar concerns in Albany, where SUNY Poly just awarded a contract for dormitory construction to Columbia Development, whose entities have given at least $175,000 to the governor's campaign fund since the start of 2014.* September 2015: We learn that Columbia has, indeed, won the bid and will develop three dorms and parking on land that includes Loughlin Street. SUNY Poly is negotiating to buy the land from the developer. The project architect is EYP, which is headquartered on the SUNY Poly campus. OK, so take that timeline and overlay it with what I found on Monday while searching the Board of Elections online records. * Hoyt responds to Buffalo Billion probe (WIVB)



Echoes of Buffalo Billion questions heard loudly in Albany

August 2013: A Columbia entity gives $25,000 to Cuomo's campaign fund. It's the company's first donation to Cuomo in the database.
June 2014: Two Columbia entities — Ridgehill LLC and 25 Monroe LLC — give $50,000 each. All together, Columbia and related LLCs give $115,000 to the governor over the course of 2014.
July 2015: Six separate Columbia entities give a total of $50,000 to the governor on just one day, July 13. All together, Columbia has given $60,000 so far this year, according to state records.
The three-year total: $200,000.
In Buffalo, a similar pattern was uncovered by the Investigative Post, a Buffalo-based online news outlet.
Jim Heaney, its editor, dug deep on the Buffalo Billion, a Cuomo economic development effort in which Kaloyeros is heavily involved. His reporting peeled away layers of secrecy to find that a request-for-proposals seemed written for LPCiminelli, which is owned by a major Cuomo donor.  Heaney's work raised eyebrows — and Bharara's were apparently among them.


Buffalo Billions Investigation Fallout  Calls to Make the Processes Of SUNY Choosing Developers for Massive Programs More Transparent
Activists look to stop state’s tax dollars from fueling private businesses (NYP) With US Attorney Preet Bharara investigating Gov. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion program, a coalition of watchdog groups wants an overhaul of the way the state gives away billions of tax dollars to private businesses. “We hope the US attorney’s questions are a wake-up call to state government to make this process far more transparent,” the coalition said in an open letter to lawmakers released Wednesday. The money was granted through an obscure not-for-profit arm of the State University of New York: the Fort Schuyler Management Corp. It is not subjected to the scrutiny and disclosure that other government entities face, critics said. “The state is blurring responsibility and reducing the accountability for decisions worth hundreds of millions of dollars,” said the statement released by Reinvent Albany, NYPIRG, and other groups. Allowing a web of academic institutions such as SUNY Polytechnic and its nonprofit groups, such as Fort Schuyler and the SUNY Research Foundation, to choose how the money is doled out creates “a real risk” for taxpayers and breeds a potential for “significant conflicts of interest,” the groups noted. With U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara investigating Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion program, a coalition of watchdog groups wants an overhaul of the way the state gives away billions of tax dollars to private businesses


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