ALBANY — Citing evidence presented in federal corruption trial, state Republican leaders said Friday that a 2014 timeline shows Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his former top aide apparently in the governor’s New York offices on the same day a campaign donor allegedly received a favorable waiver for a lucrative construction project.
State Republican Chairman Ed Cox said records showing the events of Dec. 3, 2014, spark questions about Cuomo’s awareness of or involvement with a union-labor waiver granted to COR, a Syracuse-based developer and campaign contributor. Cox also questioned the possible involvement of Joseph Percoco, the governor’s former closest aide who is now on trial for alleged bid rigging and bribery. Prosecutors allege Percoco used his influence to help the developer get the waiver.
Cuomo has not been accused of any wrongdoing and has said he had no knowledge of the alleged bribery scheme.
Evidence in Percoco’s trial and Cuomo’s public schedule show both were in the governor’s Manhattan offices that day. Percoco was on leave from his government job at the time and working for Cuomo’s re-election campaign, Cox noted. Government offices aren’t supposed to be used for campaign work.
Cuomo held several meetings that day, two of which included an aide who worked on economic development projects. A Republican Party statement distributed on behalf of Cox claims the timeline makes it “highly plausible that Cuomo knew of Percoco’s action” and supported it.
But a Cuomo aide said Friday that the Dec. 3, 2014, meetings Cox referenced focused on appointments rather than economic projects.
And Geoff Berman, executive director of the State Democratic Party, said, “This conspiracy theory of the day is even sadder than the last one. It’s obvious the New York Republican strategy is to talk about anything and everything except the actual issues facing voters this year. If only they’d spend as much energy protecting and defending New York taxpayers against the onslaught from Washington.”