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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Andrew Cuomo talked with feds about Buffalo Billion probe

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on June 1, 2016,

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on June 1, 2016, in Manhattan. Credit: Charles Eckert

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday that he has spoken with federal investigators as part ofa probe involving two of his longtime associates, who are accused of bid-rigging and influence peddling while working for developers who landed large state contracts.

He said the meeting sometime in the last several months wasn’t about him but about the pending case against his longtime associates. Cuomo hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing.

A federal grand jury in Manhattan on Nov. 22 returned a 14-count indictment of Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to Cuomo, and seven others on corruption charges in two wide-ranging bribery schemes to rig bids and wield influence on upstate development projects.

“I have talked to them about the case that they have brought,” Cuomo said. He said the talk “several months ago” was “in preparation for Joe’s case . . . against the nine defendants.”

Cuomo said he could be a witness in the case, but “I don’t envision that, and no one has suggested that.” “It’s up to the nine defendants who they call in their defense,” Cuomo said. “So you really don’t know. That’s months and months away.”

He then ended the question-and-answer session with reporters.

On Sept. 28, Cuomo said he hadn’t talked to federal investigators by that time.

“No,” he told reporters, “but I said, however, we would be cooperative as we could be.”

The indictment accused Percoco of taking more than $300,000 in payoffs to wield influence in Cuomo’s executive chamber. The indictment described Percoco as the governor’s “right hand man” and “gatekeeper.”

Former SUNY Polytechnic Institute president Alain Kaloyeros was accused of working to rig bids on $850 million in development projects in Syracuse and Buffalo.

Todd Howe, a former lobbyist allegedly involved in both schemes who is now cooperating with prosecutors, also was indicted. Howe has been a close aide to both Cuomo and his father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo.

With Yancey Roy

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