Here’s some old news made new again: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a shady guy.
It’s not exactly a breaking story that Cuomo is a man of the corporations rather than the people—he’s long associated and aligned himself with those that have copious amounts of cash to toss around, regardless of their proximity to bribery charges. But a report from the Democrat & Chronicle on Thursday revealed what everyone already knew in their bones: that the Cuomo’s administration has a nasty habit of passing out plush rewards to major campaign donors.
As laid out by the Democrat & Chronicle, companies like the construction firm Halmar International have routinely been rewarded for filling Cuomo’s campaign coffers—after throwing $10,000 his way in 2010 and another $135,000 over the following eight years, the company scooped up more than $236 million in taxpayer-funded New York construction projects starting in 2011 and running all the way through 2017. That’s in addition to businesses like CHA Consulting and law firm Nixon Peabody, who gave a combined $360,000 and received $22 million in state-funded contracts.
The reason all this floats is because of a New York state campaign donation shortcut known as the LLC loophole—through this loophole, limited liability companies can quietly donate vast sums to politicians. For Cuomo, this means a great deal of money flows in from powerful real estate and construction executives. The paper reported that Cuomo has handed out tens of millions to generous real estate executives in the form of tax-exempt bonds and tax credits all across the state:
Similar tax benefits were provided by the state to another Westchester developer of affordable housing, Wilder Balter Partners.
The Chappaqua firm and its partners gave $272,500 to Cuomo’s campaigns. Among the state benefits it received was $10 million in financing to redevelop the iconic Reader’s Digest headquarters into 64 mixed-income apartments, as well $5.4 million in state and federal tax credits.
The exchanges aren’t always limited to cash—both Halmar and Nixon Peabody handed out jobs to Joseph Percoco, Cuomo’s top aide who left the administration in 2015, only to be convicted of bribery and sentenced to six years in prison last month.
Again, this isn’t so much a shock as it is just providing specifics. Cuomo’s fundraising wing is overwhelmingly made up of the uber-rich. Last November, it was reported that 99.9 percent of his campaign donations came from donors who gave more than $200. The Democrat & Chronicle provided some updated numbers on Thursday, reporting that 80 percent of Cuomo’s money was given by donors who gifted him $10,000 or more, which, holy shit.
The net result is Cuomo being able to buy (or smear) his way to the governor’s mansion every four years, presumably for the rest of our lives.