Saturday, May 16, 2015

What A Shocker: New York State Government Riddled With Corruption

From Associated Press:

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- They were Albany's most powerful men: the governor, the Senate leader and the Assembly speaker. Together, they negotiated billion-dollar budgets and decided which bills passed and which ones didn't.

Now two face federal corruption charges, and the third - Gov. Andrew Cuomo - appears eager to focus on other issues even as he faces questions about his ties to a major real estate firm at the center of the newest scandal to rock the state Capitol....

"If the charges are correct, it's deeply disturbing," is what Cuomo said following the arrest of Senate Leader Dean Skelos on charges that he extorted payments for his son from the developer and another business. The Long Island Republican resigned his leadership post Monday.

Skelos' arrest comes after Manhattan Democrat Sheldon Silver stepped down as Assembly speaker in January after he was charged with taking nearly $4 million in payoffs. Both men say they are innocent and are keeping their legislative seats.

In the political language of Albany, the governor, the speaker and the Senate leader are known collectively as the "three men in a room," a nod to the longstanding practice of negotiating the budget and other key pieces of legislation behind closed doors. Silver's arrest came the day after Cuomo referred to Skelos, Silver and himself as the "three amigos" during his budget presentation, which contained a depiction of the three men wearing sombreros.

Millions of dollars in contributions by New York City real estate interests, mainly funneled through LLCs, have been cited in the cases against Silver and Skelos, who received large contributions from Glenwood Management, a New York City real estate firm headed by Leonard Litwin, Cuomo's top donor.

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