August 14, 2013

Cuomo Donor Subpoenaed By His Own Ethics Commission

The Albany Times Union reports that Extell Development, a company whose affiliates donated $100,000 to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D-NY) campaign days before he signed a bill that included favorable tax breaks for one of its developments, is now been subpoenaed by the Moreland Commission, set up by Cuomo to combat corruption:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has no problem with an anti-corruption Moreland Commission he convened sending subpoenas to real estate firms that have stoked his and other lawmakers’ campaign coffers. 

Manhattan-based Extell Development was one of five firms subpoenaed by the commission last week, a spokesman confirmed. Its affiliates donated $100,000 to Cuomo’s campaign days before he signed a bill earlier this year that included tax breaks for one of its marquee projects. 

As the New York Daily News first reported last week, state records show checks from two entities affiliated with Extell sent checks to Cuomo on Jan. 28. Extell and its president, Gary Barnett, have been regular contributors to other major political players in the state. Barnett also sent a $100,000 check to the Democratic State Committee’s soft money account in April, sent $25,000 to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee last September and $15,000 to the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee in March and April.

… 

“If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck — then it is probably a duck,” Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., D-Bronx, wrote in a semiregular newsletter. “Let’s see how bold and fearless the Moreland Act Commission is when it pursues compliance with the subpoenas it served on the One57 building management. Let’s see how the governor’s commission investigates what appears to be corrupt and improper influence by luxury developers.”