Governor is Pleading the Fifth by Refusing to Answer Basic Questions
Economic Development Schemes Were Ripe for Corruption
New York, NY–February 15th.
By knowing and allowing Joe Percoco to work inside the executive chamber, utilize state resources and work on official state business while he was being paid by a private entitity that had business before the state, Governor Cuomo is in violation of Public Officers Law Sections 73 and 74 and possibly Penal Law Section 195.20, today charged NYGOP Chairman Ed Cox.
Chairman Cox, standing on the steps of the courthouse outside the federal trial against Percoco, discussed the official complaint filed with the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics, as well as a letter he submitted to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance calling for separate investigations. The complaints are attached here and here.
Records revealed during the trial that Percoco, who had left state service to work on the Governor’s political campaign, was still regularly working out of the Governor’s Executive Chamber Office while also being paid by Cor Development (a Cuomo mega-donor) who was given the no-bid state contract on a major Syracuse construction project. On December 4, 2014, at the urging of Cor Development associates, Percoco illegally made a call acting in an official capacity ordering the State Economic Development (ESD) agency to reverse its decision on a union labor requirement.
After examination of the Governor’s own official public schedule that day, he was not only in the office working just inches from Percoco while he committed that illegal act, but he also held two meetings with the key ESD officials involved with the Syracuse project during the exact same timeframe, begging the question if Percoco was in those meetings with Cuomo and if Cuomo directed his self-described “hammer” Percoco to tell ESD to accept a labor peace agreement for a top campaign contributor.
Cuomo has refused to answer any questions related to the trial.
“The information revealed in the corruption trial was that Cuomo’s closest confidante Joe Percoco was simultaneously acting as a lobbyist representing private clients with business before the state, serving as the Governor’s campaign manager and still acting as a public official on official state matters,” said Chairman Ed Cox. “He was doing all of this in the direct presence of the Governor and other government officials, creating a serious violation of the Public Officer’s Law.”
He continued, “Andrew Cuomo is essentially pleading the Fifth by refusing to answer any questions related to this trial because he is afraid of implicating himself further. What we know for certain is he created these elaborate economic development schemes to take in millions of pay-to-play campaign donations by creating a culture of corruption that allowed his closest aide to line to his own pockets the way the Governor was lining his campaign coffers. There is ample evidence that Cuomo violated the law and if our legal institutions are going to maintain any public trust or credibility, they must investigate without fear or favor.”