Cuomo survived multiple scandals as New York governor -- until now

Related to ethics, economic development
Andrew Cuomo
Posted at 6:31 PM, Aug 10, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced plans to resign Tuesday in the wake of a State Attorney General report that concluded he sexually harassed 11 state employees. But the sexual harassment controversy was but one scandal during Cuomo’s decade-long tenure as New York’s chief executive.

One of the first major scandals of Cuomo’s tenure involved the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption. In 2013, Cuomo appointed the commission to look into wrongdoing by elected officials. But an investigation by the New York Times revealed that the governor quickly shut down the probe after investigators started looking into people close to him.

That led to a federal investigation by Preet Bharara, who was then the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara did not bring charges, though new information has surfaced in recent days that suggests Cuomo may have tried to influence the investigation by complaining about Bharara to the Obama White House.

In 2015, Bharara opened a criminal investigation into Cuomo’s highly touted Buffalo Billion economic development program. That probe uncovered corruption with the awarding of contracts to Cuomo donors for what would become the $750 million Tesla plant in South Buffalo.

Developer Louis P. Ciminelli was sent to federal prison for more than two years. Cuomo denied any wrongdoing but the scandals with some of his key advisers continued.

SUNY official Alain Kaloyeros, a special adviser to the governor, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison in 2018 for a separate corruption scandal. That scandal involved Todd Howe, an Albany lobbyist and onetime aide to former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and Joseph Percoco, a top aide to Andrew Cuomo who was jailed for taking bribes of more than $300,000.

In 2017, former Buffalo Assemblyman Sam Hoyt resigned his position as regional president of Empire State Development Corp. after a state employee accused him of sexual harassment. A judge later dismissed the allegations, but Hoyt acknowledged paying $50,000 for the woman’s silence.

Cuomo appointed Hoyt to the post despite previous controversies involving Hoyt and sexual improprieties with young women while he was in the Assembly.

Before Cuomo announced his resignation plans Tuesday, the embattled governor was also dealing with other scandals, including the Assembly’s probe into his administration’s concealment of Covid-19 deaths in New York nursing homes and the use of state resources for a Covid-19 memoir that earned the governor a $5 million book deal.