BUFFALO, N.Y. — It was an opportunity to explain.
This morning in Brooklyn, Governor Andrew Cuomo stood before an enthusiastic crowd of supporters and vowed to protect a woman’s right to choose an abortion against possible intrusion from the Trump administration..
“You are with us or you are against us and other way has consequences,” the Governor said.
What Cuomo did not do, with a TV camera trained on him and a feed provided to news outlets around the state, was talk about the big story from the day before: the guilty verdicts in the Buffalo Billion trial in Manhattan.
Former state economic development chief Alain Kaloyeros and Buffalo developer Louis Ciminelli were both found guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The prosecution successfully arguing that the two were involved in bid-rigging for the lucrative job of building what is today the Tesla solar factory in South Buffalo.
Later away from the cameras, Cuomo told reporters, “I don’t know what I could have done differently to prevent the situation.”
What Cuomo’s political opponents are doing is trying to make it an election year issue.
Cynthia Nixon, running in the Democratic primary against the Governor tweeted today, “When I’m Governor, we’re going to put an end to cronyism and (the) pay-to-play culture in Albany.”
The Republican gubernatorial candidate, Marc Molinaro interrupted a campaign swing through the Binghamton area today to tell 2 On Your Side, “Anyone else in America who had so many associates found guilty if bid-rigging, they’d be calling for him to resign.”
Cleaning up state government was key plank in Cuomo’s first successful bid to be Governor. Eight years later, it may emerge again.
Amherst attorney and good government advocate Paul Wolf notes, “The state legislature has done nothing, zip. There hasn’t been a single piece of serious reform legislation passed in the past two years.”
The entire Buffalo Billion federal investigation came about after Investigative Post editor Jim Heaney wrote about irregularities in the bidding process which seemed to favor the eventual winner LP Ciminelli.
Heaney says investigators should press on to answers to lingering questions.
“The testimony established that clearly the Governor had a pipeline into Kaloyeros’ office. It begs the question of what was the role of the Governor or his top people?”
A spokesman for the US Attorney of the Southern District of New York tells 2 On Your Side that their office does not disclose whether they have an investigation on-going.