Saturday, May 16, 2015

"Three Men in a Room, or Three Amigos" Si, Señor, Now One — How About Adiós

(L-R): Sen. Dean Skelos (R); Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D); Assemb. Sheldon Silver (D)
(Two indicted - both ousted - one to go???)

A painful post about a crappy situation in New York State government, but one we are all talking about that needs to be addressed in stark terms. NYS government in Albany in a word: Stinks.
ALBANY, NY (AP) — They (pictured above and commonly called “three men in a room”) were Albany's most powerful men: the governor (Andrew Cuomo); Senate leader (Dean Skelos – now ousted); and Assembly speaker (Sheldon Silver – also ousted). Together, they negotiated billion-dollar budgets and decided which bills passed and which ones didn't and hardly anyone else was involved.
Now, Skelos (R) and Silver (D) both face federal corruption charges. The Gov. 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 New York State.
My note: at the center of most of those scandals are the dreaded LLC’s, their money, out of control mega-million deals, and the NY Board of Elections who turned a blind eye and passed on reform that could have reined them in.
"If the charges are correct, it's deeply disturbing," is what Gov. Cuomo said following the arrest of Skelos on charges that he extorted payments for his son from the developer and another business. He resigned recently, and that comes on the heels of Silver who also 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 but no leadership jobs.
Silver's arrest, ironically, came just one 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.

Yes, they are surrounded by the Mexican National Flag Colors
(or all that green for the money in question)

My note: Perhaps then a hearty Adiós is in order you think?? 
At the heart of those scandals as I said above:  Millions of dollars in contributions by New York City real estate interests, mainly funneled through the 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. 
Glenwood has been identified as the New York City company that gave large campaign donations to Skelos using LLCs, allegedly in return for helping continue tax breaks now worth about $1 billion annually to the city's residential developers. Those tax breaks, along with New York City's rent regulations, are up for renewal this year. The complaint against Skelos alleges that he used his influence to pressure a Glenwood executive to arrange payments for his son.
Gov. Cuomo received $1 million from limited liability companies tied to Glenwood. Cuomo said recently that he never discussed rent laws with the company. Administration records show he met with Glenwood executives three times to discuss rent regulations in 2011, the last year they were up for renewal. Cuomo's spokesman said later that the governor simply forgot the meetings.
The developer's generous contributions were scrutinized by the anti-corruption commission appointed by Cuomo in 2013 and disbanded a year later. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of Manhattan, who is prosecuting Skelos and Silver, took them over. Glenwood did not return a message seeking comment.
And, here we are today… corruption’s cup runneth over as they say.
What is the public reaction: NY polls suggest voters aren't pleased, i.e., a Marist College poll just released found that three-quarters of respondents think corruption has gotten worse in New York in recent years. Gov. Cuomo's JAR has dropped to 37 percent while ratings for the Assembly and Senate are in the low 20’s. 

This glum photo counters the happy one above sums it up better than any post or opinion piece.

B/L: The Gov. and everyone in elected office need to address this mess and related ties to big business and the tons of money that has corrupted the entire system; fix it; and end the corruption. 
Now would be better than later, too.

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