A pair of associates close to New York governor Andrew Cuomo were among nine people slapped with charges in a wide-ranging public corruption probe Thursday.
Todd Howe, a long time associate and former aide to Cuomo’s father, Mario, and Joseph Percoco, a former top aide, were among those charged according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
In a statement prior to the official press conference, Bharara stated the Cuomo cronies were being charged “for their roles in two bribery and fraud schemes in connection with the award of hundreds of millions of dollars in New York state contracts and other official state actions.”
Via the New York Post:
Federal charges have been filed against nine people connected to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s upstate development projects, including his former top aide, Joseph Percoco, and his longtime family confidante, Todd Howe, prosecutors announced Thursday.
Seven others were also charged in the alleged bribery scheme tied to a slew of state-funded upstate development projects — including the so-called Buffalo Billion economic plan, according to a criminal indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court.
SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros was among those named in the 80-page indictment in connection with fraudulently awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts and other official state business, the documents allege.
Howe, a disgraced Washington lobbyist, has been cooperating with the feds throughout the probe, a source said. He is expected to plead guilty to fraud charges.
In early May, Cuomo’s office admitted that his aide and confidants were involved in some illegality.
A joint statement issued by Cuomo’s counsel and a former federal prosecutor said, “This investigation has recently raised questions of improper lobbying and undisclosed conflicts of interest by some individuals which may have deceived state employees involved in the respective programs and may have defrauded the state.”
Shortly thereafter, the FBI raided the homes of both Percoco and Howe as part of the corruption scandal sure to rock the Capitol.
The New York Times had reported that investigators were trying to determine whether Percoco and his wife might have gotten tens of thousands of dollars from a design and engineering firm involved in the Buffalo Billion project.
It would seem they’ve now made that determination.
The investigation sent shockwaves throughout the administration with one state source telling the Buffalo News, “the devastation is acute” and “everyone is literally flabbergasted.”
Percoco, described as “hulking” in some media outlets, has long been Cuomo’s strong man.
When the investigation into Cuomo’s shuttering of the Moreland ‘ethics’ panel was heating up, Percoco called several of the commissioner’s on the panel and ‘encouraged’ them to make public statements in support of the governor. He intimidated the members, even allegedly offering to write the statements for them and suggesting that the commissioners with which he was ‘encouraging,’ use private e-mails rather than New York state accounts.
That’s a tactic straight out of the Hillary Clinton playbook.
Percoco and Howe both have longstanding, close ties to Cuomo.