U.S. attorney Preet Bharara has expanded his anti-corruption investigation of the Cuomo administration, issuing subpoenas and taking a closer look at the governor’s controversial Buffalo Billion revitalization project.
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin wrote in December of last year, “I can’t believe this deal isn’t being investigated by the U.S. Attorney.”
Now, apparently it is.
Via the New York Post:
Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara has expanded his anti-corruption crusade to the far western edge of the state — investigating Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s controversial Buffalo Billion revitalization project, The Post has learned.
The probe of Cuomo’s pet project is the first to touch his office beyond Bharara’s investigation of the governor’s shutdown of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption last year.
The new investigation is focused on the multimillion-dollar contracts awarded to build facilities for high-tech, drug-development and clean-energy businesses, a source familiar with the probe told The Post.
Bharara’s office has slapped several firms with subpoenas in recent months, the source said.
“It’s a comprehensive look at the bidding process,” the source said.
“They’re looking at communications between contractors and state officials.”
The Buffalo Billion boondoggle was a thinly veiled attempt by Governor Cuomo to bribe western New Yorkers for more votes this past election cycle.
The Democrat & Chronicle described the program as a “costly experiment in economic development that is beset by secrecy and politics, and banking on a company with a history of losing money.”
The largest investment involves $750 million to a solar panel manufacturing plant for SolarCity, a company that lost a record $375 million last year and is under federal investigation for their use of stimulus funds.
McLaughlin called the effort, “Son of Solyndra,” another solar power business that took significant taxpayer money and eventually filed for bankruptcy.