Monday, December 21, 2015

The NYP War On Cuomo's Glenwood Money . . . How Real Estate and Union Money Runs NY's Politics and Causes Corruption 7979

2015 Top Campaign Donors $$$
The biggest state-level campaign donors of 2015 (PoliticoNY) The 25 largest donors to state-level politicians and political parties last year included several hedge fund managers, labor unions and a PAC controlled by a former leader of the Senate.The donors, topped by hedge funder Stanley Druckenmiller, the Trial Lawyers Association and the health care union 1199SEIU, combined to contribute $10 million, according to a POLITICO New York analysis of state Board of Elections records. This falls below the total from 2013, when the 25 biggest donors contributed $11.9 million.  Notably, the number of real estate firms at the top of the list has dropped dramatically. Four New York City developers cracked the top 25 in 2013 but only one, Howard Milstein, an ally to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, made it in 2015. The biggest drop came from Glenwood Management, which contributed $1.01 million in 2013, but gave less money to state candidates in 2015 ($5,000) than state candidates returned to Leonard Litwin’s real estate firm (Sen. Jeff Klein gave back a $3,200 check and former Sen. Dean Skelos refunded $9,700). Glenwood was at the center of the federal corruption trials against both Skelos and former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, with a senior vice president at the firm signing a non-prosecution agreement in the trial of the former.*  The 25 largest donors to state-level politicians and political parties last year includedseveral hedge fund managers, labor unions and a PAC controlled by a former leader of the Senate.

DSCC Cuomo Takes LLC $$$ As They Attacks The Corruption They Cause
And Gianaris' DSCC Hires Parkside Lobbyists Who Works for REBNY Jobs for NY
The Daily News’  that former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno gave his former conference a pep talk last week; and that state Sen. Michael Gianaris accepted tens of thousands of dollars from LLCs while calling for closing the LLC loophole:  * State Sen. John DeFrancisco said the so-called LLC loophole is something that should be looked at closely, as well as the murky funding of Capitol watchdogs, the Times Union reports: * Upstate Republican optimist and former (and 2018?) gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladinosaid he expects a wave of upstate political movement will mitigate the influence of a heavily “liberal” New York City in the next election.* Former longtime state Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who recently gave the Senate GOP campaign committee more than $1 million, addressed his former conference last Wednesday at the Capitol. Sources described the chat as a pre-election “pep talk.”* "Convicted of Corruption, but Still Getting aPension": "Under current law in New York, a former public official sitting in prison for a felony conviction for misconduct in office can still receive his or her pension checks. In the cases of Mr. Silver and Mr. Skelos, those payouts could easily total millions of dollars each. ...* Sen. Michael Gianaris accepts LLC money whilecalling for loophole closure (NYDN) Gianaris' statewide campaign account since July received eight donations from LLCs totaling $70,500, which makes up 20% of the total $345,698 in donations the account received during the period. While legal, two of the donations, one for $33,000 and another for $10,000, were well above the normal $5,000 corporate limit. Gianaris' Senate campaign account since July received $18,350 from LLCs, though none of those donations exceeded $5,000. But the Senate Democratic campaign committee that he heads received in recent years numerous LLC donations that exceeded $5,000. One insider accused Gianaris of “hypocrisy” for seeking LLC money while at the same time calling to close to the loophole. Gianaris last week sent a letter to the Senate Ethics Committee chairman demanding the panel hold hearings on proposed reforms that include closing the LLC loophole. "Hypocrisy, thy name is Mike Gianaris," the source said.

This is not only a waste of taxpayer money, but it also conveys the message that Albany tolerates - and is even willing to bankroll - those proved beyond any reasonable doubt to be corrupt. Changing this situation for state and local officials requires an amendment to the New York State Constitution." (NYT) * Campaign filings show Cuomo raised almost $900,000 from LLCs over the past six months, underscoring what critics call a gaping loophole in the laws meant to cap corporate political contributions, Newsday reports:    * Lawyers for former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, who were convicted on federal corruption charges last month, filed a motion seeking a judgment of acquittal and a new trial, the Timesreports:

Avella Who Never Held A Meeting As Head of the Senate Ethics Committee Say Lobbyist's Pay to Play System Runs City Hall
“The whole pay-for-play system is worse than ever at City Hall,” said state Sen. State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens), a former councilman who previously worked as an aide for former Mayors Koch and Dinkins.   “It goes to show you that the mayor and lobbyists don’t even care now about the appearance of impropriety. They believe they’re untouchable.” “I think a lot of these good government types were spoiled by Mike Bloomberg and forgot how politics work because we had a billionaire mayor in office for 12 years who would could not be bought,” said the lobbyist. *  Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat and IDC member, suggests NYC be required to cap hikes in property tax and assessments to 2 percent a year if it wants the state to continue to pick up its share of Medicaid cost increases.

NYP Bangs Cuomo and Avella Again to Return the Glenwood Money 
 Ex-Senate Ethics Committee Chairman Tony Avella (D-Queens) evendefended So there’s no money to give back.” keeping his $40,000 in tainted cash: “That money was spent on my re-election. [Glenwood wasn’t] indicted at the time. . . Huh? 

New York’s politicians & the world’s oldest profession (NYP Ed) Glenwood, recall, was deeply involved in corrupt payoffs that resulted in the criminal convictions of ex-legislative bosses Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos. The Post has been asking pols — who got a total of over $10 million in donations from the firm — to return the cash. Their answers seem to depend on how much they got. Mayor de Blasio was first to agree to hand back Glenwood cash, but it totaled just $20,000 — a drop in his campaign bucket.  And after The Post reported that no one on the Legislature’s Ethics Committees planned to return any money, Assemblyman Michael Montesano (R-I-C, Glen Head) became the first state lawmaker to heed our call. Montesano’s move is certainly the right one: As a member of the Assembly Ethics Committee, he should be setting an example. But he only had to give back $250. Gov. Cuomo, by contrast, raked in $1.2 million from Glenwood — far too much, apparently, to part with. Similarly, the Senate’s Republican committees won’t return a cent of the $1.5 million they raked in. On Monday, ex-Senate Ethics Committee Chairman Tony Avella (D-Queens) evendefended So there’s no money to give back.” keeping his $40,000 in tainted cash: “That money was spent on my re-election. [Glenwood wasn’t] indicted at the time. . . Huh? The firm’s owner was an unindicted co-conspirator; its leaders avoided charges thanks to deals with prosectors. Avella says he spent the cash, but he knows money is fungible: Returning it from the $60,000 he has on hand wouldn’t cheat other donors, as he claims. Mind you, Avella’s typically seen as one of Albany’s “cleaner” pols — yet he won’t pay a token price to offer a clear “no” to the culture of corruption. That suggests most state leaders are all too happy to say “yes.”

By Keeping the Glenwood $$$ NYP Says Pols Don't Care About Ending Corruption
Albany’s corruption is more obvious than ever — but the politicians just don’t care (NYP Ed) None of the victories in the battle against abuse came from the halls of government — for that, thank prosecutors, particularly US Attorney Preet Bharara. Nor were they the only current and former legislators to be brought down in 2015 for lining their pockets. Nearly three dozen have been convicted in recent years. But the only change is that everyone in Albany wonders who might be wearing a wire. Neither house of the Legislature showed any shame that their chosen leaders turned out to be crooks. Indeed, both houses had to be hectored into ousting those leaders in the wake of the corruption indictments. Concrete proof of continued shamelessness is the refusal of any state elected officials and political committees to give back the cash they took from Glenwood Management — a firm at the other end of Silver’s and Skelos’ sale of their offices. Glenwood ladled out $14 million or so to buy favors — which is why it went to the most influential pols, from Cuomo on down. The money is hopelessly tainted, even if no favors were directly exchanged. It’s not enough for a public official to simply deplore political corruption if they’re willing to profit from it. By refusing to return it, Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and the entire Legislature are endorsing the culture of corruption. And telling all New Yorkers to expect nothing different in 2016.

Elected Officials Have Gamed the Election System

Pols Double Talk: We Have to Get Rid of Big Money in Politics But Keep Glenwood's Money 
After Two Juries Convicted Albany Leaders of Pay to Play With Glenwood's Money and Lobbyists
 New York politicians should give back the $14 million they’ve pocketed from Glenwood Management to show they’re committed to end political corruption and to remove the “corrupting influence of money” in politics 
The ‘corrupting cash’ hypocrisy of New York politicians (NYP) Ask any New York Democrat how to end political corruption and you’re sure to get the same answer: We have to remove “the corrupting influence of money.” Which raises an obvious question: Why won’t those same Democrats (and, yes, Republicans, too) seize the chance to do just that? How? By giving back the $14 million they’ve pocketed from Glenwood Management, the real-estate mega-developer on the other end of corrupt deals for which Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos will soon be doing hard time. The money went to pols like Gov. Cuomo — the largest recipient — as well as Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, city Comptroller Scott Stringer, numerous legislators and party political committees. But while nearly every pol has given back campaign cash from unsavory donors over the years, none — save Mayor de Blasio — is inclined to do the same with Glenwood. We’re not sure why — mostly because few, if any, of them will talk about it. Save Cuomo, that is, who insists that the $1.2 million he got from Glenwood couldn’t possibly influence him. So why do he and other Democrats keep railing about “big money and big donations,” as the governor did? All pols claim they’re incorruptible — until US Attorney Preet Bharara proves otherwise. At their trials, attorneys for both Silver and Skelos defended their clients by claiming that “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” is the name of the game in Albany, and so isn’t a crime. The two juries decided otherwise. But everyone in Albany seems to think those juries got it wrong.  * Days after the federal corruption convictions of the two former state legislative leaders, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie met with 20 members to discuss possibly barring or restricting outside income for legislators, the Daily News writes:  * Ken Lovett: “As state lawmakers return to Albany this week, the stench of corruption scandals that hung over the Capitol in 2015 is not expected to dissipate any time soon.”* Seiler: Ethics, bribery, Bharara (TU)

de Blasio Gave Back His Glenwood Donations But Not His Two Door Extell Donations 

NYP Demands Ethic Watchdogs Return Glenwood's $227,000
Ethics ‘watchdogs’ make over $200K thanks to corruption (NYP) Politicians on two New York state ethics committees raked in more than a quarter of a million dollars from companies controlled by Glenwood Management — the developer at the center of corruption trials that ended in convictions for two of Albany’s top power brokers. More than $227,000 was doled out since 2012 to ethics “watchdogs,” who have served on the state Senate Ethics Committee, including $40,000 to state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens), $25,000 to Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and $105,000 to Sen. Phil Boyle (R-LI), state campaign finance filings reviewed by The Post revealed. Current members of the Senate committee who benefited from Glenwood’s largesse include Sens. Hugh Farley (R-Schen­ec­tady), Terrence Murphy (R-West­ches­ter) and Thomas Croci (R-LI), state records show. More than 7 percent of the $508,000 Avella collected in the last three years came from Glenwood-linked LLCs. Avella, who testified at Skelos’ trial, did not respond to calls. Gianaris declined to comment. When asked about the $5,000 his campaign received from the Glenwood-connected Columbus 60th Realty LLC, Sen. Farley said he would “look into it.”

NYP Demands the City and State Comptrollers Return the Tainted Glenwood Cash
New York’s comptrollers have a special duty to return tainted cash (NYP) Another day, another story of Glenwood Management’s sleazy attempts to buy Albany favors. And another reason for pols, especially those like the city and state comptrollers, to give back the tainted cash the firm gave them. Pols who refuse to return donations from the firm send a message that they’re OK with all that sleaze. But news of Glenwood’s secret Bruno cash puts a special onus on the city and state comptrollers — Scott Stringer and Tom DiNapoli. After all, the comptrollers, entrusted to watch over public funds, often rail about the need for “transparency.” And Glenwood’s contributions were anything but — in Bruno’s case, and with other donations it hid through its many LLCs. And don’t forget: DiNapoli owes his job to the now-convicted Silver, who essentially picked him from the Legislature after then-state Comptroller Alan Hevesi was booted for (yep!) corruption. Hevesi also once held Stringer’s job, city comptroller. Ugh. Apparently not. Glenwood’s Charles Dorego bundled $149,900 for Stringer in 2013 — more than any other candidate that year. DiNapoli got at least $215,000 from Glenwood entities over the past ­decade.  Unless the two men return their tainted cash, they’ll have no right to expect anyone to fully trust them — on anything.

Everyone In Albany Took Money From Glenwood
No one in Albany wants to clean up the political sleaze (NYP) n a sane world, the criminal convictions of the Legislature’s two top leaders would have political officials racing to prove they’re as pure as the driven snow. Not in New York. No, in Albany, pols share one goal: to protect their “cauldron of corruption” at all costs. That’s the takeaway from their widespread refusal to return tainted donations they received from Glenwood Management, the real-estate firm implicated in the Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos trials.
Gov. Cuomo has set the tone by clinging to the $1.2 million he got from Glenwood. But lawmakers and their political committees are following suit, right down the line. The Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, for instance, took in $205,000 from Glenwood and its affiliates. A Glenwood attorney testified at Silver’s trial that after a 2011 meeting, Silver demanded $125,000 for the DACC. Within days, five $25,000 checks arrived. Will the DACC return the cash? Tuesday, it wouldn’t even return a call from The Post. Meanwhile, the Senate Republican campaign and “housekeeping” committees took $1.5 million from Glenwood. A spokesman declined to comment. Ditto for the five-member Independent Democratic Caucus — which has co-led the Senate for three years. The IDC got $266,000 in Glenwood cash; its leader, Jeff Klein, raked in $142,000 by himself. How telling that lawmakers are zipping their lips about Glenwood. The firm was in the corruption business; its CEO was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator.*  Glenwood Management, which played a role in the corruption scandals of the previous leaders of the Assembly and state Senate, never publicly disclosed a $200,000 contribution to former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno’s legal defense fund ahead of his 2009 corruption trial, theTimes Union reports   Cuomo Plans A Merry Christmas For Himself: No ClosingOf The LLC Loophole

Cuomo No Plan to Return Glenwood Corrupt Money Before Christmas Eve
Cuomo won’t return $1M in tainted donations (NYP) Asked if he would consider returning the Glenwood funds, Cuomo said, “If I believed that I could be influenced by a million dollars or a thousand dollars or fifty dollars, then I’m in the wrong place and I should resign immediately. If you can be influenced by the money, then forget the denomination. You just have the wrong person in the office.” Cuomo was then asked why Glenwood would give millions of dollars to Albany pols and party committees if the real estate titans weren’t interested in influencing government policy. “Why do people donate? A lot of reasons. They think he’s their best candidate, they don’t like the other candidate. They like the smile. Who knows?” he said. “You have to do your job and exercise your judgment . . . absent who supports you, who doesn’t support you. If you can’t do that, you can’t be in that position in the first place.” Thus far, none of the Albany power brokers has volunteered to refund Glenwood donations, many of which were distributed through limited liability corporations that hid their ties to Glenwood. “I don’t know,” he said. “Their [Glenwood’s] interests were more sort of generic to the real estate community, which is a significant industry in this city and state, and they’re very good at making their viewpoint known and they also have been.” * Cuomo’s sorry excuse for keeping tainted donations (NYP) “If I believed that I could be influenced by a million dollars or a thousand dollars or fifty dollars, then I’m in the wrong place, and I should resign immediately,” he said. Well, Silver and Skelos claimed they weren’t influenced by Glenwood money, either. But in Cuomo’s case, no one’s even accusing him of that; the question is whether it’s right to keep money from a tainted firm. “If I believed that I could be influenced by a million dollars or a thousand dollars or fifty dollars, then I’m in the wrong place, and I should resign immediately,” he said. Well, Silver and Skelos claimed they weren’t influenced by Glenwood money, either. But in Cuomo’s case, no one’s even accusing him of that; the question is whether it’s right to keep money from a tainted firm. But schemers always find ways to skirt reforms. What’s needed are pols who are beyond reproach — and prove it by their deeds. Cuomo so far has little interest in that. So how can he expect anyone to think he’s cleaning up Albany?* The governor said voters will just have to trust him to do the right thing when asked why he won’t return more than $1 million from Glenwood Management, a real-estate firm involved in two of Albany’s biggest corruption scandals.
More About Cuomo

NYP Demands Again Cuomo Return Glenwood RE Money, Compares Him to Spitzers Client # 9
Why won’t Cuomo take the first step in changing New York’s corrupt politics? (NYP) Your move, Andrew. Last week, Mayor de Blasio laid down a marker, ridding his campaign of funds from Glenwood Management, the real-estate firm deeply involved in Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos’ crimes. What about Gov. Cuomo? His campaign doesn’t want to return the $1.2 million that Glenwood and its affiliates donated over the last decade. Even though it has more than enough cash on hand — at least $12 million, as of the last filing. How much longer will Cuomo let de Blasio be the better, bigger man when it comes to standing against corruption? It’s a simple equation: Everyone knows Albany is filthy and needs to change. The first step in doing things differently is to do something important differently — like returning tainted cash, even though you have every legal right to keep it. Don’t forget: This governor rode into office Jan. 1, 2011, vowing loudly to clean up Albany. The state was then reeling from multiple indictments and convictions of lawmakers, as well as the resignation of Eliot Spitzer after his exposure as “Client 9” in a sordid prostitution scandal. Andrew is hooker-free, but Albany looks worse today. We’ve just seen the conviction of the two guys who, on Jan. 1, 2015, were running the state Senate and Assembly. And they got convicted because US Attorney Preet Bharara grabbed the anti-corruption ball after Cuomo shut down his own Moreland Commission. Back in July 2013, the gov launched the commission to probe for crimes across state government, calling it a “powerful step” to address Albany’s “corrupt culture.” Ten months later, in March 2014, Moreland was reportedly about to issue important subpoeanas — and Cuomo shut it down. Worse, he waved off critics with this claim: “It’s my commission. I can’t ‘interfere’ with it, because it is mine. It is controlled by me.” OK. But Bharara moved in, seized the Moreland files — and rapidly sent two legislative leaders to jail. Andrew looks like a pretty lazy cop. The firm now stands revealed as central to the dirty dealings of two of the “three men in a room” — yet Man No. 3 won’t inconvenience himself to show “this is not me.” How does that make him that much better than Client 9? * Gov. Cuomo names Melissa DeRosa chief of staff and Robert Mujica budget director (NYDN) * As reformers ratchet up pressure on lawmakers to put in place more ethics and campaign finance safeguards, two of the state’s most prominent local-level Democrats – de Blasio and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner – have taken steps toward that end.

Malcolm Smith is Right Albany is All About the Fucken Money  
The house alwayswins: After the Silver and Skelos convictions, New York needs to deal with theendless sums of money that slosh around Albany (NYDN Ed) The house always wins: After the Silver and Skelos convictions, New York needs to deal with the endless sums of money that slosh around Albany. The currency of corruption gushes in as millions of dollars flow to Democratic and Republican elected officials, from the lowliest member of the Assembly to Gov. Cuomo, under rules that are a national scandal. Those who make the payments view their checks as business investments. They who accept the funds posture as well-loved public servants, when, in fact, they are merely lackeys who have a say over the billions of dollars directly distributed by Albany or over regulations that can make or break businesspeople. Silver and Skelos balked at disclosure rules that would have revealed crimes. Instead, they led the Legislature into passing disclosure regulations rife with loopholes. Example: lawmakers can appeal to two unrelated agencies for permission to keep the identities of paying clients confidential, secret, depending on which would give a greater secrecy. Albany is all about money — grabbing for it, ladling it out, stealing it. The game is rigged for all three — and Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan are masters at the play, just like Silver and Skelos. * Nassau’s first bid solicitation for a $12 million storm cleanup contract — a pact under federal investigation for its ties to political donations — came just two days after the company that ultimately received the work was formed, newly obtained records show.

True News Wags NYT's Dwyer On Real Estate Developers Not Punished 
True News Last Week
How Come Real Estate Contributors and Lobbyists Always Walk While Their Puppets the Pols Go To Jail?
The New York Times’ Jim Dwyer writes that the supposedvictims of the Skelos scheme, real estate developers who paid for former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ favor, are also benefactors of a corrupt system, but will not be punished:
When Bonomo told the senator his son was treating the gig like a no-show job, Skelos told him, "Just work it out," Mukhi said. "It wasn't a request. It was a demand," the prosecutor said.   He said the two execs were "two stops along the same gravy train," as Adam Skelos's annual income skyrocketed to over $400,000.   He said the reason Adam got the payments and gigs was "not because he earned it or because people liked him so much they wanted to help him out with money for nothing"  - it's because the execs needed the powerful Republicans help and feared reprisal if they didn't pay up.  The prosecutor also scoffed at their defense lawyers' stance that the case is criminalizing a father's help for his son. * Closing arguments began in the federal corruption trial of former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, with the prosecution arguing the Skeloses had corrupted one of the most powerful offices in state government “into a cash cow to fund Adam Skelos’s lifestyle,” The New YorkTimes reports:* Dean Skelos’s Son Kept a Hand Out, and Never Took ‘No’ foran Answer(NYT) * Tying together three weeks of testimony and dozens of subpoenaed documents and secretly recorded phone calls, prosecutors described yesterday how former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos turned his powerful office into a cash cow, allegedly strong-arming companies into paying his son Adam for doing little or no work. Preet Bharara U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara sat in the back of the courtroom as one of his deputies made the closing argument against the Skeloses. In a surreal moment, the elder Skelosintroduced himself to the top prosecutor during a break in the proceedings. The two men shook hands.* How Come Real Estate Contributors & Lobbyists AlwaysWalk While Their Puppets Pols Go 2Jail? (NY1)

de Blasio Takes the NYP Bate Return the Corrupt Glenwood Contributions 
But Not the Matching Funds to the City Earned By Those Corrupt Contributions
De Blasio returning $20K in ‘corrupt’ campaign funds (NYP) Mayor de Blasio is returning $20,200 in campaign contributions from a real-estate firm involved in the corruption scandals involving two disgraced Albany legislative leaders — a move that puts Gov. Cuomo in a political jam. De Blasio is the first elected official to heed Post editorials calling for the return of millions in campaign cash from Glenwood Management, a powerhouse developer that figured in the corruption trials of both former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.  Cuomo has pulled in $1.2 million over the years from Glenwood, its officials and subsidiaries. Cuomo spokesman Austin Shafran declined on Thursday to say whether the governor would follow the mayor’s lead and give back the money. When The Post raised the issue earlier this week, Shafran insisted “the governor’s decisions are not influenced by contributions, as testimony in the trials showed.” The mayor’s campaign — which would certainly say the same about de Blasio — nevertheless decided it would refund Glenwood’s money, according to a campaign spokesman. Glenwood counsel Charles Dorego, who bundled $9,900 for de Blasio, inked an immunity deal with federal prosecutors in return for his cooperation. The mayor’s campaign also received $400 directly from Dorego; $4,950 from Glenwood founder Leonard Litwin and $4,950 from Ira Pittelman, an employee of the firm. City campaign rules allow candidates to return contributions directly to donors, but giving back bundled cash is more complicated. So De Blasio’s campaign said the mayor intends to return the money directly to the board that administers the city’s campaign-finance system. * De Blasio is returning $20,200 in campaign contributions from Glenwood Managaement, a real-estate firm involved in the corruption scandals involving two disgraced Albany legislative leaders — a move that puts Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a political jam.

Doesn't @BilldeBlasio have to return all 2013 excess funds to @NYCCFB - so really he didn't do anything. 

NYP Comes Out Swinging For Cuomo and Schneiderman to Return the Corrupt Glenwood Money 
De Blasio takes astand against corruption — now it’s Schneiderman’s turn (NYP) Mayor de Blasio just set an example for all New York politicians: He wants no part of any money tainted by Silver-Skelos corruption — so he’s giving it back. Too bad de Blasio is, so far, the only one to get it. Pols from Gov. Cuomo on down insist on clinging to the tainted dough. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s position is particularly appalling. As the state’s top law-enforcement agent, he has a clear duty to be beyond reproach — and he’s failing. This, after all, is a guy who beats his chest about gambling’s moral toll. Who lectures banks to be more accessible to low-income folks. Indeed, Schneiderman has postured as Mr. Clean since his own days in the Legislature. Now’s the time to put your (tainted) money where your mouth is, Eric. Yet when we asked if his campaign will hand back his Glenwood cash — $217,500 — the reply was a curt “No comment.” Which brings to mind Schneiderman’s silence when Cuomo aborted the anti-corruption Moreland Commission — whose work product Preet Bharara eventually used to bring down Silver and Skelos, the kingpins of the Legislature. The AG had deputized Moreland’s members to represent him. Yet when Cuomo stopped those deputies’ anti-corruption work, Schneiderman zipped his lips. Mr. Clean — or Mr. Play-Along?* Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner announced she would no longer accept campaign contributions from limited liability corporations — tightening the political screws on Cuomo to potentially do the same, State of Politics reports: 

Thursday NYP Blasts de Blasio for Not Giving Back Corrupt Glenwood $$$ 
Why is de Blasiopassing up an easy chance to take a stand against corruption? (NYP Ed)  New York’s top ambulance-chasers took out a full-page ad in Wednesday’s New York Times to boast of the many settlements they’ve won for clients over the years. Weitz & Luxenberg was plainly looking to counter the Post scoop on the drastic falloff in its business after the public learned of its role in Sheldon Silver’s corrupt crimes. he ad’s testimonials from happy W&L clients were anonymous, so there’s no way to tell if any were steered to the firm in Silver’s self-enriching schemes. To be fair, the evidence at trial didn’t show the firm actively engaged in illegality. Not so the real-estate firm Glenwood Management — which secretly funneled cash to both Silver and the family of Dean Skelos in scams that left both men convicted for corruption. Glenwood dodged prosecution — but bribe-making is as dirty as bribe-taking. Which means the millions it donated to New York’s top politicians is tainted money. Money the pols now insist on keeping — no matter the corrupt source. And we have yet to get a good answer on why New York’s leaders won’t return funds from a company at the heart of rank corrupion. Glenwood’s Charles Dorego bundled $149,900 in donations for Scott Stringer, now city comptroller. Stringer’s people say they won’t comment on the cash tainting the campaign coffers of the city’s top fiscal watchdog. Which is more of a response than we’ve gotten from Mayor de Blasio’s political team on whether he’ll return $10,000 to Glen­wood.How disappointing — and foolish. At small cost, de Blasio can set an example that would show up other New York pols who have far more to pay back: The Buffalo News calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to to take action against corruption, banning outside income and closing the LLC loophole and to let the issue dominate his state of the state address:* 40% of New York Statelegislators earn outside income (NYDN)*  The Assembly working group on operations, participation, and transparency is set to missits self-imposed December deadline to issue recommendations on how to make the chamber more accommodating to the public and rank-and-file members.*  State Senate Democrats have put together a slate of economic proposals for upstate amid what they say in a new report are “alarming job trends” impacting the upstate economy.

At the Same Time the Post is Attacking Glenwood the Courts Are Looking At LLCs 

In a case that could upend New York’s political landscape, a state Supreme Court justiceheard oral arguments in a lawsuit seeking to eliminate the so-called “LLC loophole” in state election law, which has given developers and other deep-pocketed donors the ability give essentially unlimited campaign donations to state politicians.* The Buffalo News calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to to take action against corruption, banning outside income and closing the LLC loophole and to let the issue dominate his state of the state address:* Oral arguments were made in a lawsuit seeking to eliminate the "LLC loophole" which has given developers and other deep-pocketed donors the ability give essentially unlimited campaign donations to state politicians, the Times Union reports:

NY Pols Ignore NYP Request to Return Glenwood's Corruption $$$
New York politics may be even more rancid than we thought (NYP) t seems New York’s top officials just don’t care if their donors are neck-deep in criminal bribery — because not one politician is moving to give back the tainted cash from Glenwood Management. Glenwood is a de facto unindicted co-conspirator with two elected officials now convicted in corruption trials. That is: Shelly Silver and the Skeloses took illegal payments; Glenwood made them — and did its best to cover it up. That taints every one of the 14 million bucks Glenwood and its affiliates gave legally to other pols, parties and PACs in the last decade. But our leaders can’t seem to see it.* Calling Glenwood Management a de facto, unindicted co-conspirator in the corruption of two former state legislative leaders, the Post writes that officials don’t care about reform because no politician is giving back the company’s donations:

The NYP Tells the Pols to Return Glenwoods Contributions  
But Leaves Out the Other 421-a Developers Contributors Who Have Made the Pols Their Puppets Pushing Out Their Own Constituents With Gentrification High Rents and Harassment

Politicians need to pay up after Silver-Skelos convictions (NYP Ed) New York politicians from Gov. Cuomo on down are quick to blast the kind of corruption that took center stage in the Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos trials — even while pretending they’re above it all. It’s time to prove they mean it. Start by returning every stinking dollar of political “donations” you got from Glenwood Management and its affiliates. Glenwood was at the heart of both cases — a key briber of Silver and Skelos. Its execs testified under a non-prosecution deal, or they’d likely face charges themselves.  The residential-development firm sought favorable treatment in Albany — on issues like real-estate-tax abatements and rent regulation. As heads of the Assembly and Senate, Silver and Skelos were well-positioned to provide it. In return, Silver steered Glenwood to a friend’s law firm, then got a cut of the fees Glenwood paid. And Skelos’ son got payments through the company.

That’s enough to taint every one of the millions of dollars Glenwood legally gave to New York politicians. And those donations stretched far beyond Silver and Skelos. The company has been one of the state’s top political givers. Over the last decade, Andrew Cuomo raked in $1.2 million from Glenwood. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, $217,500; Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, $210,000.  Glenwood also dumped mountains of cash on the political parties: $1.5 million for the state GOP, $805,000 for the Dems. Local groups, like the Suffolk County Democratic Committee, also got funds. More money to give back, folks. Here in the city, now-Comptroller Scott Stringer was a huge winner in 2013.

Glenwood’s Charles Dorego bundled $149,900 in donations for him that year — far more than for any other city candidate. (Bill de Blasio got $9,900.) And this doesn’t include cash Glen­wood gave via intermediaries like the Real Estate Board of New York. Hey, REBNY — better see about unwinding those “gifts,” too. All told, over the last decade, the company gave at least $14 million to New York pols. Yes, such donations are normally just part of democracy — but politicians give back cash all the time from folks who’ve been convicted of crimes. And Glenwood’s guilt here is clear, even if it did swing a deal to avoid prosecution. The firm knew it had crossed the line: It took extreme steps to hide the payments to Silver; it had a subsidiary “employ” Adam Skelos. And it never called in the cops or prosecutors. Returning this tainted cash won’t remove Albany’s stench. But any pol or party who refuses to give it back will carry a special stink.

Silver Skelos Trial Exposes how Real Estate Has Privatized Tammany Hall Which Created NY's Shadow Govt
He's not the only one who isn't quite on solid ground here. At the time, Cuomo described the new measures as "dramatic reform," a claim good government groups immediately scoffed at. Here is one reason why. The new law allows the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the Office of Court Administration to grant exemptions to a "thou shalt not accept outside income without full disclosure" rule. The idea behind that, of course, is to make sure our state leaders don't do things like Skelos and Silver are on trial for. This legislation, which takes effect Dec. 31, closes the door on that. But, there is a window opening nearby. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that, when there is a loophole, some legislators will climb through it.

The only way the Joint Commission could evaluate a legislator's financial statement, Horwitz told The New York Times, was, "if God willing, manna falls from heaven, and someone makes a complaint to us." It is, in typical Albany fashion, very confusing. In fact, fully understanding the loophole might take a New York earned a D-minus in a recent, data-driven assessment of state governments by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity. We are not sure what planet Heastie was on when he dismissed the need for reform, but here on Earth, a D-minus means our state government is a miserable failure at this ethics and integrity thing. Your work is not done.
Corrupt lobbyist: Arzt, Mercury, Advance Group, BerlinRosen, Parkside, Schlein. Kasirer, Bolton-St. Johns, D'Amato, Sheinkopf

Silver Not Alone In Going to Jail for Taking Money From Real Estate 
Sheldon Silver’s not alone: The corrupt NY pols who tookreal estate money (Real Deal) Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. said he would set up a sweetheart real estate deal worth millions of dollars in exchange for $250,000 paid through a fake consulting job, according to the New York Times. The deal, which Boyland Jr. suggested to undercover agents posed as businessmen, entailed buying a derelict Brooklyn hospital for $8 million and applying for public grants to be used for the property’s renovation. The buyers would then resell the hospital for $15 million to a nonprofit controlled by the assemblyman. Assemblyman Eric Stevenson  In early 2013, Stevenson was accused of taking $22,000 in bribes in return for helping four senior care center developers with political favors. Prosecutors said Stevenson wrote legislation for the developers to eliminate their competition. While the bill was never passed, it would have temporarily banned competing developers from building and opening new adult care centers for three years, according to the Times. Stevenson was convicted on all four charges he faced after a one-week trial in January 2014. He was sentenced to three years in prison last May. 

State Senator Carl Kruger  Prosecutors said the state senator Carl Kruger had amassed at least $1 million in bribes in exchange for political favors that included obtaining state money for real estate developers, according to the Times.  The criminal complaint against Kruger spotlighted a “significant real estate development firm” – easily recognizable as Forest City Ratner – for whom he tried to obtain public funds for three separate Brooklyn projects: $9 million for the Carlton Avenue Bridge, $2 million for a Mill Basin retail development and $4 million for the renovation of the Prospect Park skating rink. The complaint said Bruce Bender, at the time Forest City’s vice president of governmental affairs and public relations, had asked Kruger for the funds, with the firm eventually having to settle for $4.5 million for the Prospect Park skating rink, according to the Times. Kruger allegedly took bribes from Forest City lobbyist Richard Lipsky in the process. Kruger pleaded guilty in December 2011 to four of the five counts in the indictment against him, including two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and two counts of bribery conspiracy. *   "No charges were ever filed agst Forest City employees or itshired guns." Kruger backstory (AYR)

City Council Member Miguel Martinez   But the Democrat’s political career crashed and burned in July 2009, when he resigned abruptly from his seat and pleaded guilty to three felony counts of conspiracy for looting money from nonprofits he helped subsidize with pubic funds. Martinez had stolen around $106,000 in council funds through various schemes from October 2002 through spring 2008, according to the New York Daily News, funneling money meant for children’s art programs and low-income housing into bank accounts he controlled under cover names. The city’s Department of Investigation found that in 2004 and 2005, Martinez arranged for the Upper Manhattan Council Assisting Neighbors – a nonprofit affiliated with his sister Maria, who sat on the board – to partner with an unnamed developer to build low-income homes. The developer enjoyed millions of dollars in tax credits from the deal, according to the Daily News, and Martinez had the developer pay the nonprofit $96,000 in return – $40,000 of which went into bank accounts Martinez directly controlled. A little something for everybody. 

 Law Week the CFB Uncover the Tip of the Iceberg About Illegal Coordination Between PACS and Political Consultants

Organized Crime Politics
The CFB determined under its rules last week that the Advance Group’s work on behalf of  Brooklyn Council member Laurie Cumbo and Manhattan’s Mark Levine and the supposedly “independent” anti-carriage PAC really amounted to illegal coordination between the campaigns and the PAC NYCLASS. But the coordination between campaign consultants and PAC goes mush deeper then the CFB fines.Berlin Rosen another political consultant lobbyists besides working for mayoral candidate de Blasio also worked for Advance fined candidate Councilman Levine. Both Advance and Berlin also worked together for councilman Ydanis A Rodriguez. What the CFB is looking at as it continues it investigation of Advance is other types of coordination between the candidates and the political consultants that bring money and additional resources to NYC candidates that bring them over the spending limits they agreed to when accepting public matching funds.

Perhaps the only time the Advance Group told the truth to the press last year was when Levenson said to the Daily News that he was doing a favor for another consultant when he got involved with the the PAC Citizen Action.  The consultants whose candidate got one of the Citizens Action mailings was Berlin Rosen and Pitta Bishop Del Giorno.  Advance and Pitta Bishop both worked for council candidate John Lisyanskiy.   Berlin Rosen was paid $23,000 by the PAC controlled by the same union  that uses Advance as their lobbyists, HOTEL WORKERS FOR A STRONGER MIDDLE CLASS.   Berlin Rosen served as campaign consultants for Councilwoman Chin which got help from the HOTEL WORKERS FOR A STRONGER MIDDLE CLASS PAC.  The Advance Group is a hired lobbyist by for New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council AFL-CIO. Another Berlin Rosen candidate Daniel L Squadron also got help from the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council AFL-CIO. Forest City Ratner another firm that Berlin Rosen works for had family member of Ratner contributed big time to Squadron.  The Advance Group was hired by the UFT under a fake name Strategic Consultants to work for the  teachers PAC United for the Future.  The following Berlin Rosen candidates got funding from United for the Future: Corey Johnson, Mark Levine, Ydanis A Rodriguez, Austin I Shafran, Elizabeth S Crowley, Richard Donovan, Kirsten J Foy and Rory Lancman. United for the Future Funded 31 of the 51 elected councilman.  In fact there are dozens and dozens of instances where campaign consultants lobbyists worked together through the campaigns they ran and the PACs they controlled. * UFT under fire for apparently trying to hide identity of consulting firm(NYDN) * More on the Advance Group Under Investigation  *  CrainsNY on the Advance Groups Double Dipping  * Melissa Mark-Viverito Lobbyist the Advance Group Never Quit, Continued Lobbying Despite Investigations * A staffer for Joseph Lhota, Mr. de Blasio's defeated general-election opponent, recently filed a complaint with the New York City Campaign  Finance Board charging that Mr. de Blasio's campaign had illegally coordinated with the anti-Quinn super PAC NYCLASS, a complaint the de Blasio campaign called "frivolous."

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