The Federal probe into corruption in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration has delayed funding for a key economic development project in Buffalo.
On Wednesday, the State’s Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) failed to approve $485 million in funds slated for Buffalo’s SolarCity project, a key part of the Buffalo Billion Economic development program. A vote by its three-member board is postponed for at least a week.
No estimates were provided on how long construction can continue under currently approved funding. Sooner or later, however, construction will cease absent the PACB’s approval of the funds.
The three members of the oversite panel are State Budget Director Robert Mujica, representing Cuomo, and counterparts representing Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie, D-Bronx, and Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan Jr., R-Huntington. Although the three parties must vote unanimously to release the funds, approvals by the obscure panel are usually routine.
Cuomo has been distancing himself from Alain Kaloyeros, the key Cuomo aide who is the subject of the Federal investigation. “If we find out someone did something wrong, I will be the first to throw the book at them because public trust is crucially important to me,” the governor added.
.The vote was postponed when reporters asked whether the vote would go forward given the ongoing probe by US Attorney Preet Bharara.
Meanwhile, Cuomo insisted that “On the PACB issue, that’s just a scheduling issue.” Cuomo went on to say that beyond the approval of the board, the funding would now be subject to the approval of Bart Schwartz, who Cuomo hired to investigate the allegations.
Observers of the ongoing shenanigans in Albany remember that Cuomo appointed an ethics oversight committee popularly known as the Moreland Commission, to investigate wrongdoings. Cuomo disbanded the Commission when it turned its attention to the Cuomo Administration. The action prompted a Federal investigation into allegations that the Governor’s office had interfered with the Commission’s inquiries.
In March 2106, a Cuomo confident, Seth Agata, was named to New York State’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics. Two members of the Board resigned immediately, apparently in protest.
A government watchdog, Reinvent Albany, criticized Agata’s appointment. “It is simply not credible that Mr. Agata, who was Governor Cuomo’s lawyer and represented him on ethics issues can objectively investigate potential ethical violations by the governor or his political enemies,” said the group’s director, John Kaehny. “We believe that it is incredibly difficult for any person to discard long-held loyalties and personal obligations. Mr. Agata served in a trusted position very close to Governor Cuomo and even represented the governor before JCOPE. The conflict of interest is obvious.”
Now Cuomo’s hand-pick investigator into the actions of his own Administration has a vote in releasing funds for a Cuomo project.
No wonder Cuomo was comfortable endorsing the corrupt Hillary Clinton.
The stench suffusing the Cuomo administration just keeps getting more pungent.