April 25, 2017

Andrew Cuomo’s New Top Aide Has A Massive Conflict Of Interest Problem

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) continues to court trouble with his Secretary to the Governor appointments. Cuomo’s first Secretary, Joe Percoco, just had his corruption trial date set for this October. Now Cuomo’s latest Secretary, Melissa DeRosa, starts her job with a massive conflict of interest problem.

The person who holds DeRosa’s job is considered Cuomo’s “governor’s top aide.” Naturally, that would mean that Melissa DeRosa would be involved in all aspects of New York government. Yet according to International Business Times, DeRosa’s father is a top Albany lobbyist, with tons of business in front of New York state government. Given that his daughter is Cuomo’s top aide, this presents major potential conflicts:

“Melissa DeRosa’s father Giorgio — whose lobbying firm Bolton St. Johns LLC, citing the Albany Times, touts him as ‘one of the best lobbyists in town’ — has been behind the lobbying efforts of dozens of industries over the past decade, according to the New York State government’s lobbying database. His firm’s clients include several hundred companies that stand to be affected by lawmaking in Albany — like Airbnb, for example, which gave Bolton St. Johns between $80,000 and $150,000 annually since 2012 to lobby, at least in part, the office in which Melissa DeRosa now works, records show.”

Already this arrangement has drawn harsh criticism from New York ethics watchdogs. The director of Reinvent Albany, John Kaehny, called the DeRosa job a “minefield of potential conflicts of interest.” Governor Cuomo’s multitude of ethics problems means that his administration no longer gets the benefit of the doubt. New Yorkers deserve better than another scandal engulfing Governor Cuomo’s administration.