I GUESS I got it wrong. Maybe it wasn’t that big a deal. I thought it was a huge story and that it might have turned out to be even worse than all the previous accusations against Andrew Cuomo.
Here it is. A recent New York Times news story laid out some new facts. It seems that Andrew Cuomo’s family has been raising money to help Joe Percoco, a former top aide to both Andrew and his dad, Mario Cuomo. You may remember that Percoco was convicted of theft of honest services by Preet Bharara, at the time the top prosecutor for the Southern District of New York. When Percoco and Todd Howe, his colleague in crime, were indicted, Bharara made it clear that Andrew Cuomo was not among those implicated in the criminal scheme. Percoco was sentenced to six years in the can. There was no question that he was guilty. Howe testified to the criminal particulars.
Naturally, some unkind people who don’t like Cuomo raised their eyebrows about the question of Cuomo’s involvement. After all, both Percoco and Howe were among Cuomo’s closest colleagues. One of the most famous quotes about Joe Percoco comes directly from the mouth of Andrew Cuomo when he said that there would be “…no tolerance for corruption.” He also once said that Percoco was “…my father’s third son who I sometimes think was the one he loved the most.”
There, that should shut up the conspiratorial naysayers. (Sarcasm alert.) Cuomo was also the guy who said that the guilty Percoco “…is paying the price for violating the public trust.” He also said that “…the rule of law is paramount.” So when Como’s family raises money for Percoco’s legal defense, it is Cuomo contended that he knew nothing about what his aides were up to. Let’s remember that Percoco was one of the people who helped Andrew raise the all-important money that it takes to win the governor’s office. I dare say that some of the very same people who are being asked to kick in to pay for Percoco’s legal defense are among those who were asked to contribute to the Cuomo campaign.
It should also be noted that Madeline Cuomo, the governor’s sister, has made it clear that she never told brother Andrew that she was raising money for Percoco. Right, and what about the bridge I want to sell you that spans the East River?
We all know that Andrew pays attention to details so, to put it mildly, it strains credibility to think that he knew nothing of any of the Cuomo family’s efforts to raise the money.
Look, I get it. It is nice to help those who are really down and out. Certainly, Percoco fits there. He’s got a family and kids and was a very good friend. However, one can only wonder why he thought it might be okay to be an out and out crook. They were very proud of their scheme. If Cuomo is so perceptive about people, one wonders how it is possible that he knew nothing about this latest development.
So anyway, when The New York Times blew the whistle on the Cuomo family fund raising efforts and said that they were raising money to help Percoco, I thought it was a huge story for a couple of reasons. It certainly gave substance to all those Cuomo doubters who thought he knew about—or should have known about—what his two top operatives were doing. I also thought that it might be trouble for Preet Bharara, who many people thought had let Cuomo off the hook.
But since the Times article ran, I’ve heard almost nothing. I thought it was a huge story, but I guess not. Wrong again.