By Alan S. Chartock | July 21, 2018

It’s hard to believe that Andrew Cuomo is going to get away with it. If I live to be a hundred, I will never figure out how New York State got to be such a mess. It appears that our politicos are totally corrupted. Even the good ones are in on it. The problem is that the entire legislature is doing next to nothing to pass sensible rules that would go a long way toward putting an end to corruption. We all know what we could be doing.

First, prohibit outside jobs and income for elected politicians. This one is as old as the hills. They did it in Congress but they just won’t do it in the legislature. Why not? Because they simply don’t want to. Of course, some of these folks will argue that they are full-timers but they just haven’t got the guts to insist that their leaders, Assembly Speaker Boss Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, do the right thing. There are so many powerful people in both houses that their so-called elected bosses just won’t do what’s right.

Then, too, someone really ought to put a stop to corrupt deals whereby politicians can sell their influence. In the recent trial of Alain Kaloyeros and a bunch of allegedly crooked associates, we saw how it works. Andrew Cuomo got his buddies in the legislature to go along with a very evil scheme to strip the excellent State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office of some pre-audit functions he’d had over phony not-for-profits that had been handing out some state money. That’s the same State University that Cuomo can’t keep his hands off and that has been slavishly following his lead. Nelson Rockefeller must be turning over in his grave. The result is that the untouchable Kaloyeros had unmitigated control over the contracts that were being given out as part of the Buffalo Billions that Cuomo set up to raise his political profile in upstate New York. Prosecutors said that Kaloyeros misbehaved in order to get in good with Cuomo. Now, of course, the people in Buffalo’s quadrant of the state are embarrassed because when people hear the word Buffalo they think now “corruption.”

I knew a wonderful, very wealthy banker who asked me why I was down on Andrew. He noted that Cuomo had promised a billion dollars to Buffalo and that he had carried through with it. Of course, it is one thing to put a billion dollars into a community but you should do it in such a way that the rules are fair and that everyone, not only fat cats who make major contributions to the cause, can get contracts. That’s really bad news and we all know it. Clearly, my banker friend had no idea.

Are we supposed to believe that Andrew had no idea that his former aide and “third brother,” Joe Percoco, was looking for “ziti” graft along with his playmate Todd Howe or that “pay to play” helped Cuomo to raise over $30 million dollars for his campaign? Andrew talks a good game when it comes to funneling money into the campaign war chest LLP (limited liability partnership). And let us remember that he kept the Republicans in power for many years and they were in no mood to accomplish anything in an anti-corruption effort.

So, while Cuomo told us that he was going to clean up Albany, he hasn’t done it. Now he is saying that some of this could have been prevented. Really? If he put the fear of God into his people, it is hard to believe they wouldn’t have listened to him and done what they were told. Anyone who knows the man knows that he doesn’t like to be crossed. But, apparently he doesn’t have to worry since so many polls show him running away with the election.

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected].