July 12, 2018
From Assemblyman Joe Errigo:
Assemblyman Joseph A. Errigo (R,C,I,Ref-Conesus) recently weighed in on the guilty verdict of all four defendants in the Buffalo Billion corruption case. Buffalo developer Louis Ciminelli, COR Development executives Steven Aiello and Joseph Girardi and former head of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute Alain Kaloyeros were all convicted on charges of corruption in taxpayer-funded construction projects.
“These individuals all schemed to rig a bidding process that is supposed to be fair and open,” said Errigo. “Yesterday’s verdict, along with the conviction of former Gov. Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, a man the governor was so close to he called his ‘brother,’ expands the sphere of corruption in the crooked Cuomo administration. If we ever want to bring integrity and honesty back to Albany, this pay-to-play culture must come to an end.
“Massive corruption aside, it has been six years since the Buffalo Billion was first introduced, and the multibillion dollar project has failed to create the jobs Gov. Cuomo promised. These failed programs are draining our communities of vital resources that could otherwise be used to revitalize our failing infrastructure and underfunded school districts. Upstate families are leaving the hometowns they cherish to find work outside of our state and it’s all because of Gov. Cuomo’s mismanagement and corruption.”
From Democrat Candidate For Governor, Cynthia Nixon:
Yesterday, Alain Kaloyeros, the architect of the Governor’s signature economic development initiative, was convicted of steering hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts to major Cuomo donors.
For any other governor in America, this verdict would be earth-shattering. But in Andrew Cuomo’s Albany, it was just a Thursday.
Sadly, this is what the people of New York have come to expect from their government.
Just within the last few months, Cuomo’s top aide and campaign manager was convicted of bribery and corruption. Then we learned the FBI is investigating a company that made over $400,000 in donations to Cuomo before receiving over $25 million in state grants. And now, Cuomo’s top economic development aide has been convicted on all counts, along with several of his top donors.
The trials of Joe Percoco and Alain Kaloyeros have revealed in sordid detail how Andrew Cuomo has created a pay-to-play culture in Albany and sold our government to the highest bidder.
It’s telling that the best defense Kaloyeros’ own attorney could muster was arguing that what his client did – that’s just politics under Governor Cuomo. Saying, quote, “The reality is that’s the environment Alain Kaloyeros was operating in.”
It seems that every decision Cuomo makes as Governor is driven by two things: who has given him money, and who can give him even more.
This is the same Andrew Cuomo who was elected Governor in 2010 on a promise to clean up Albany. But after 8 years of corruption and scandal, expecting Cuomo to clean up Albany at this point is like expecting the bull to clean up the china shop.
This is a governor who has repeatedly said there can be no tolerance for corruption – yet has tolerated it at the highest levels of his own administration.
After the Kaloyeros scandal broke in 2016, Cuomo promised to take immediate and unilateral action to rein in these pay-to-play practices. Specifically, he said he would bar campaign contributions from companies bidding for state contracts; he said he would appoint a chief procurement officer to review every contract; and to appoint new inspectors general for CUNY and SUNY.
He proclaimed, “It is time for action, not words.” Then he took no action. More than a year and half later, and he’s done none of these things.
The Cuomo administration has been 8 years worth of scandal, corruption, backroom deals, and pay-to-play politics. Yet there has never been a single independent ethics investigation of his administration that’s been allowed to finish it’s work.
The Moreland Commission was investigating corruption in Albany, but the Governor shut it down when it started getting too close to Cuomo’s own dealings. This left us with just JCOPE, a puppet body controlled by the Governor, with zero credibility to take on corruption.
If the governor truly wants to restore the people’s trust, he’ll allow for a thorough, independent investigation of his administration — one he can’t control, and that he can’t shut down.
Until that happens, we will just have to judge this administration on what has been made public. And the facts from the trials of Joe Percoco and Alain Kaloyeros lead to only one conclusion:
We can’t clean up Albany until we clean out the governor’s mansion. Nothing is going to change until we change who’s in charge.
It doesn’t have to be like this. The problem is NOT that we don’t know how to clean up Albany and return the government to the people. The issue is that we haven’t had the political leadership to get it done.
When I’m governor, I will convene a new, independent Moreland Commission on day one to investigate and clean up the rampant corruption in Albany.
We will get big money out of politics and close the LLC loophole.
We can do better. And when I am governor, we will.