People’s Press Editorial! Governor Cuomo Should Resign!Posted: November 20, 2016
Forty members of the NYS legislative body have been convicted of using their office for personal financial gain. Many of these “representatives of the people” who were convicted in the past few years worked closely with Governor Cuomo and some were personal friends. It is not Cuomo’s fault that some of his friends are crooks. It ’s just the way Albany functions.
New Indictments Hit Cuomo’s Closest Allies
Billions in public funds, designated by Cuomo to bring jobs to economically devastated upstate areas have been illegally targeted by close Cuomo aides and developers. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has indicted former Cuomo aides and developers for bid rigging.
These people “were more focused on their own financial gains than the public good.” Indicted in the bid rigging was a very long term Cuomo aide, Joseph Percoco, and Alain Kaloyeros, president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute which oversaw billions in Cuomo directed development projects in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Utica. Percoco has been charged with soliciting bribes from contractors that netted him hundreds of thousands of dollars. Former Cuomo aide, Todd Howe, now a lobbyist, is also accused of using his influence in assisting developers to obtain lucrative contracts from SUNY Poly. Kaloyeros and Howe prevented competitive bids by designing the bidding requirements to fit the favored corporations. Kaloyeros’s salary is $1 million annually. (As of this writing Kaloyeros has resigned his position so as not to “distract” those working on projects).
Corporate Heads Indicted in Bid Rigging
Joseph Nicolla, president of Columbia Development in Albany; Peter Kelly, an executive with Competitive Power Ventures; COR corporation president, Steven Aiello; Louis Ciminelli, chairman and CEO of LP Ciminelli; and two other executives of LP Ciminelli, Michael Laipple and Kevin Schuler were all charged in the bid rigging. L P Ciminelli received a $750 million contract to build a solar energy factory. COR received over $100 million to build a film production studio that now sits vacant. Former Cuomo aide Percoco assisted in getting COR president Aiello’s son a raise. The son worked on Cuomo’s staff.
Grateful Corporations Pay Up
COR executives and their families contributed $250,000 to the Cuomo reelection fund while LP Ciminelli‘s executives contributed $100,000. Most of the contributions were made after the contracts were awarded.
The Hands On Governor
Cuomo prides himself on his close oversight of state projects; yet, he doesn’t know or doesn’t want to know what shenanigans go on in his multi-billion dollar development projects.
Other faulty NYS Jobs Programs Cuomo has defended is his Start-Up NY program that spent $50 million on an advertising campaign that was run when he was running for re-election. Very few jobs were created. Many consider this expenditure to be part of his campaign.
NYS Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, has criticized the State’s Excelsior Job Program for misleading the public on the number of jobs created. DiNapoli also was critical of the job retention of the NYS Power Authority. The number of jobs retained was overstated by more than 30,000.
Cuomo and Reform
To show that he had concerns over the ethics of the elected members of the NYS government Cuomo created the Moreland Commission. The Commission, mainly District Attorneys from across the state, was tasked with looking into the workings of the state government and reporting back to the governor about the ethics of elected officials. The Commission members apparently got too close to the activities of the state’s elected officials, and it was disbanded by Cuomo before they could prepare a report.
A Billion Here, a Billion There
The current NYS budget passed by the legislature and Governor Cuomo contains $4.8 billion that is not designated for any purpose. It is doled out for use by a few powerful legislators and the governor. It is inserted in the budget with no stated purpose and there is no public oversight of the spending. This $4.8 billion slush fund is twice the “contingency” fund in last year’s budget.
Cuomo Didn’t Know?
Cuomo has not been charged with bribery, bid rigging or any other crime. He states that he is saddened by the indictments handed up against his former aides and campaign contributors. But while he has not been charged with criminal activity, it is clear that if he did not know what was going on in his administration’s multi- billion
development projects, he certainly should have. The hands-on governor’s excuses have grown old. Many good government groups have charged that the government of NYS is “controlled by the culture of corruption.” Let us start the clean-up at the top. Governor Cuomo should resign. This would be a valuable Start-Up NY for the people. If Hillary
Clinton becomes President she can throw him a political bone.