Andrew Cuomo and Corruption

In this campaign season of lies and distortions, Andrew Cuomo the New York State Attorney General and Democratic candidate for governor last week issued one of the most preposterous statements ever:

"I understand that the people of the state are frustrated. I'm frustrated. I'm angry. Nobody knows Albany corruption better than I do. I've been staring at the beast for three years."

What has he been doing during the last 4 years? One would think that he, as Attorney General of New York State, has been in a better position to curtail corruption than he would be as Governor.

Instead Cuomo has focused the resources of his state office to bring suits against high profile national corporations, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs.  If these cases were not in the national spotlight, he would have let the Securities and Exchange Commission complete their investigation by themselves.

However, one case against an individual criminal, the former state comptroller Democrat Alan Hevesi, has been successful.  For this the Republican Candidate for Governor Carl Palidino, graciously commends him. But Palidino criticizes Cuomo for a pattern of letting other influential Democrats "off the hook".  He adds:

 "How can the failed chief prosecutor of the most corrupt state government in America believe he should be Governor?  The people of New York hired Andrew to shine a light on Albany's rats and he failed."

For a list of cronies Cuomo did not prosecute see this article in Politico by Maggie Haberman.

In fact, the Hevesi case, while certainly a praiseworthy pursuit, was forced upon Cuomo by others.  In his 2006 re-election campaign, Hevesi's opponent Chris Callaghan alerted the public to the fact that Hevesi has been wrongfully using a state employee as a chauffeur. The charge was substantiated by the State Ethics Commission and developed into what has been called the "Chauffeur-gate" case.  Would Cuomo's office have prosecuted a Democrat unless he was forced to follow through with an investigation started by others?

The most salient example of a case Cuomo did not prosecute is described in the article "Andrew Cuomo's $2 Million Man: How the Attorney General wannabe turned an accused slumlord into a sugar daddy" by Altman and Lozano in The Village Voice (2006). As the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Cuomo authorized the filing of a civil suit by the U.S. Justice Department against Andrew Farkas's housing companies for maintaining poor housing conditions and kickbacks. But before the case could be finished, Cuomo negotiated a settlement for a minimal fine. This allowed Farkas to sell his property for a profitable 910 million dollars. After resigning from the federal government, Cuomo was rewarded by Farkas with $1,200,000 consulting fee and $800,000 in political contributions.

If Cuomo maintains this pattern of going soft on prosecution in order to reap financial rewards when he switches office, how much money could he make as Governor and how much worse would the financial condition of New York State become?

Peter Landesman ( is a teacher, a mathematician and an author of the 3D-maze book Spacemazes, with which children can have fun while learning mathematics.
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