Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cuomo Officials Exposed as Directing Loans to Donors at Center of Corruption Probe--Is Bharara Soft on Cuomo?

In a hugely significant news item: Aides to New York governor Andrew Cuomo have been reported as directing state loans to Cuomo donors involved in a corruption scandal. --Linked to former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's troubles by a shared connection in real estate giant, Leonard Litwin. Cuomo protested shock [Rick "Casablanca" Blaine style], but was this just a nervous cover?

So, we must ask, just what is U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara waiting for? Why will he not indict Cuomo? One of Cuomo's key aides called for Moreland Commission investigators to back away from Litwin. Since then, Cuomo shut down the commission.
Cuomo's plain sight graft --open acceptance of hedge fund donor/charter school entrepreneur money-- and blatantly pro-charter school/anti-public school policies constitute a corruptive practice. So what is taking so long for Bharara to indict?
[Update: Cuomo's trying to dodge Silver connections, insinuating his hands are as clean as Obama during Weinergate.]
By David Sirota, from the International Business Times:
Andrew Cuomo, collector of honest graft from hedge-funders; on Silver: don't blame me.

Cuomo Officials Directed State Loan To Cuomo Donor At Center of Corruption Probe


[Key excerpts from Sirota's article follow.]
 . . .
But a careful review of state documents reveals that Cuomo and Silver are connected by a key figure in the scandal. Both lawmakers have a financial relationship with the same New York real estate mogul, Leonard Litwin, who has in turn relied upon them for preferential tax treatment and other government benefits.
Silver is alleged to have benefited personally from Litwin’s spending -- and there is no dispute that Cuomo has benefited politically from that same largesse.
Litwin contributed $1 million to Cuomo’s reelection campaign and another $500,000 to the New York Democratic Party, making him thelargest political donor in the state. His money flowed through 27subsidiaries of his firm, Glenwood Management. Those subsidiaries were also clients of the real estate law firm that paid referral fees to Silver. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has alleged that Silver "induce[d] real estate developers with business before the state" to employ the law firm, which in turn made payments to Silver.
Neither Cuomo's office nor Glenwood Management responded to International Business Times' request for comment about the governor's relationship with Litwin. But documents reviewed by IBTimes illustrate Cuomo’s role in the developer's state business.
The Cuomo-run New York State Housing Finance Agency, for instance, approved a $260 million state-supported low-interest loan in 2014 to finance Glenwood’s new luxury apartment building in midtown Manhattan. At the time the loan to Glenwood was approved, the NYHFA was headed by Cuomo appointee Bill Mulrow, an executive and registered lobbyist at Blackstone, a private equity and real estate firm. Mulrow was just appointed to be the governor’s chief of staff. According to NYHFA documents, Glenwood also has had other business with the agency.
Similarly, Cuomo in 2011 signed Silver-backed legislation reauthorizing a then-expired property tax abatement for real estate developers called the 421a program. Cuomo also signed an extension of that program in 2013. Litwin’s firm used the 421a program for its Midtown Manhattan project, according to the New York Times. Glenwood has also used the 421a tax break for some of its other properties in the city.
In 2014, Cuomo shut down the Moreland Commission, an anti-corruption panel that was examining the relationship between lawmakers and the real estate industry. The governor’s top aide at time, Larry Schwartz, called commission members to stop them from subpoenaing the Real Estate Board of New York, of which Litwin is the lifetime “honorary chairman.”