My conservative cousin from New York (for a few more months) filed this dispatch on criminality in Andrew Cuomo’s inner circle.
Tuesday’s conviction of Andrew Cuomo’s close associate Joe Percoco deals a sharp blow to the Governor’s 2020 Presidential hopes and may even jeopardize his reelection prospects this year. Percoco was Cuomo’s executive deputy secretary and longtime confidant. He was found guilty of soliciting and accepting bribes from top management of two companies with state business. This was quite a downfall for Percoco, a man so close to the Cuomo family that Andrew had once referred to him as his father’s “third son”.
The companies who paid the bribes – Competitive Power Ventures, an upstate NY a clean natural gas provider, and COR Development, a Syracuse real estate firm – were integral parts of Cuomo’s effort to revive the moribund Upstate New York economy via crony capitalism initiatives or, as he would put it, public-private partnerships. Instead of jump-starting a depressed economy, these programs have brought a corruption circus.
Up next is the trial of Cuomo crony Alain Kaloyeros, former President of the State University’s Polytechnic Institute. He’s charged with bid rigging in connection with Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion Initiative, a grab bag of tax gimmicks and giveaways that has spectacularly failed to revive the sagging economic fortunes of upstate New York’s largest city.
Cuomo now wants an additional half billion in an effort to jump-start the project which some wags in the press have renamed the Buffalo half billion initiative. Or as the great Everett Dirksen might have put it “Well Mr. Cuomo a billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”
Before these scandals hit, the Governor faced a somewhat formidable primary challenge from the far Left of his party. Sex And The City co-star Cynthia Nixon has thrown her hat in the ring. Nixon is close to Bill de Blasio. Her wife, Christine Marinoni, was an official in his administration until she resigned to avoid conflicts with Nixon’s campaign.
The Mayor and the Governor are fierce rivals. Nixon could mobilize the left wing of the party that turns out in large numbers for Democratic primaries in the Empire State. Last time out a virtually unknown law professor [Zephyr Teachout] running to Cuomo’s Left garnered 34 percent of the primary vote.
With her greater name recognition and excellent speaking skills, Nixon could really give Cuomo a run for his money. Doug Muzzio, a respected authority on New York election and a Professor at City University’s Baruch College, opined before Percoco’s conviction that Nixon’s vote total in a primary against Cuomo could easily top 40 percent.
Democratic alternatives to Cuomo and Nixon? Well, there’s Reverend Al Sharpton acolyte and State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Just about every New York Democratic politician feels forced to kiss the ring of this vile man but Schneiderman has taken it to extremes. He pledged to make the Attorney General’s office “an annex of Al Sharpton’s House of Justice.” That’s one pledge he’s honored.
The fact that Sharpton is an anti-Semite and Schneiderman is Jewish doesn’t appear to bother the Attorney General. During the 1991 Crown Heights pogrom, Sharpton shrieked to a crowd – “if the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come to my house.” Sharpton’s bigotry extends beyond Jews to other ethnic groups – “Greek homos stole civilization from Africans.”
Despite all this tumult, I wouldn’t put much hope in a strong GOP challenge to whichever Democratic nominee emerges. Donald Trump is very unpopular in New York City and its suburbs. This is where most voters reside.
The Republican field is weak. The frontrunner, State Senator John DiFrancisco, is a lackluster campaigner who has ethical issues of his own. In the Senate he supported a bill that increased medical malpractice legal fees while serving as a practicing attorney at a firm specializing in these types of actions.
2018 is shaping up to be a grim election year for New York State Conservatives. What else is new?