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State Government Editor of The Gotham Gazette
Cuomo's Developer Donations
The New York Daily News reported today that Gov. Andrew Cuomo received $76,000 in donations from real estate developers just weeks before signing legislation that gave tax breaks to their properties. Three partners at Fisher Brothers donated $25,000 each to Cuomo on Dec. 27 of last year. Cuomo signed legislation giving tax breaks to their properties at New York Curb Exchange and 86 Trinity Place on Jan. 30. The Daily News reported last week that Extell Development Co. gave Cuomo $100,000 a few days before he signed the bill that gives creates $35 million in tax breaks on their One57 luxury apartment tower. The Moreland Commission that Cuomo created to investigate corruption has subpoenaed the five companies that received tax breaks from the bill. Cuomo administration officials say that the bill was supported by the city and wasn't their focus. The News writes however that legislators claims they don't know who inserted the tax breaks for the five subpoenaed companies.
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The Daily News recently highlighted a $100,000 donation to Gov. Andrew Cuomo by Extell Development that appears to have been made the same day as a piece of legisaltion that granted the company tax breaks was passed in the Assembly. The tax breaks applied to the One57 building at 157 W. Fifth St., and others.
The bill had been scheduled for a vote in June 2012. Cuomo's representatives have denied any connection between Cuomo's approval of the bill and the donations but Sen. Ruben Diaz sees things differently.
He used his newsletter to imagine what would happen if he was caught up in similar controversy.
My dear reader, can you imagine if I did that kind of thing? Can youimagine if I, Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz, Sr., received $100,000 from any developer right before I threw my support for a piece of legislation that benefited that developer? Is there anyone reading this who doesn’t think there would be full-scalelocal, state, and federal investigations claiming that I had accepted abribe in exchange for a political favor? Is there anyone reading this who doesn’t think that every single editorial board would be condemning me as corrupt? I can only imagine the torch and pitchfork crowds descending on my office....
My dear reader, can you imagine if I did that kind of thing? Can youimagine if I, Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz, Sr., received $100,000 from any developer right before I threw my support for a piece of legislation that benefited that developer?
Is there anyone reading this who doesn’t think there would be full-scalelocal, state, and federal investigations claiming that I had accepted abribe in exchange for a political favor? Is there anyone reading this who doesn’t think that every single editorial board would be condemning me as corrupt? I can only imagine the torch and pitchfork crowds descending on my office.
Yesterday Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn filed a request to close in bankruptcy court. Most of the patients the hospital serves are without insurance and the hospital has suffered greatly since the state slashed Medicaid reimbursements. Unless there is some sort of bailout the hospital will close its emergency room in September and close totally in November. The news comes as Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill is on the verge of closure. Public Advocate and Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has made the hospital issue a focus of his campaign and has gone to court to keep LICH open. He has also released a plan that would create a super-authority to oversee Brooklyn Hospitals that would be run by the mayor and governor. De Blasio has continued to press his long-time friend Gov. Andrew Cuomo to act to save the hospitals. Meanwhile, the Cuomo administration holds out hope that the federal government will approve a request to use $10 billion the state saved from restructuring Medicaid payments to buoy the Brooklyn hospitals.
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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has named Judge Renee R. Roth to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. The move comes after the sudden resignation of another of Silver's appointees to the commission.
The ethics panel announced that Pat Bulgaro had submitted his resignation by letter during their meeting yesterday. The panel would not say when the letter was sent and Bulgaro did not give a reason for his departure.
Silver and his appointees on JCOPE have been the subject of intense scrutiny following the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal. A number of good government groups and legislators called for JCOPE to investigate Silver's handling of the matter given the fact that Silver settled one complaint against Lopez in secret. Instead, it appears JCOPE looked only at Lopez's behavior.
Silver's appointees could have voted to block an investigation into their boss but JCOPE's actions are not subject to public meeting laws, so only JCOPE knows and they aren't talking.
Silver is supposed to file paperwork declaring any professional or personal relationship he might have with Roth.