July 14, 2017

Buffalo Billions Trial Likely To Coincide With Cuomo Re-Election Campaign

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) can’t catch a break, with a string of bad headlines on everything from his near record low approval rating, to his presidential ambitions, and his inability to deal with the massive problems at MTA.

Yet the one story that dwarves even those negative ones is the culture of corruption that has infected Cuomo’s administration. The cases that epitomize Cuomo’s unethical administration are those connected with the Buffalo Billions corruption scandal.

The Buffalo Billions trials were always going to be a major headache for Cuomo given that they were set to start as he was gearing up for re-election. Now a new motion by the acting U.S. Attorney could have the trial of “several people with long ties to [Cuomo]” starting in the Spring of 2018, right in the middle of his re-election campaign:

“Cuomo is not accused of any wrongdoing, but the federal case has been lodged against several people with long ties to him or have been connected to major economic development projects in Buffalo and Syracuse that he touted as examples of a revitalization in upstate New York. Todd Howe, a longtime Cuomo ally, pleaded guilty last year in the corruption case and has been cooperating for more than a year with the U.S. Attorney’s office and FBI investigators.”

The motion is also a disaster for Cuomo because it separates the trial into two different ones. This only serves to magnify the negative attention on the governor’s role in these two corruption trials:

“The federal prosecutor said it would be ‘fair to the parties’ if two trials were set: one for the ‘Percoco bribery scheme’ case and one for the ‘Buffalo Billion fraud and bribery scheme.’”

Perhaps even worse, with the Percoco trial starting in January of 2018, there would be a renewed focus on how close Percoco is with Governor Cuomo just as he was “jump-starting his re-election campaign for a third term.” Andrew Cuomo has long put his political ambitions over all else. With the Buffalo Billions trials coinciding with his re-election campaign, those chickens are finally coming home to roost.