New terms, lots of candidates, fiercely fought elections, victories and defeats both surprising and not. Lots happened in 2018 New York politics and we’ve distilled the year into our 2018 Year in Photos.
Joe Percoco, former top aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, was convicted today on three of the six bribery charges he faced in a federal trial. Percoco emerged from the courthouse with his attorneys, stopping to briefly speak with the assembled press before walking across Foley Square to the subway.
We caught up with Joe Percoco this afternoon as he departed from his federal corruption trial on a small bit of good news for him. Today the jury, after several partial days of deliberation, advised the court that it is deadlocked and several jurors asked to be released from further service. Judge Valerie Caproni directed the jury to continue deliberating, although she released them early for the day and cancelled deliberations on Wednesday as a significant snowstorm is expected.
Percoco and his attorneys exited the federal courthouse at 40 Centre Street, with attorney Barry Bohrer speaking briefly with the press before the group headed across Foley Square to the subway. Percoco listened as his attorney spoke, but offered no comments of own.
Joe Percoco, a former top aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, and seven co-defendants were arraigned today on federal corruption charges. According to prosecutors, some of alleged corrupt actions committed by Percoco were for “friends” of the governor and his political operation.
The eight defendants were arrested and charged in September on a criminal complaint prepared by the U.S. Attorney’s office. Today’s arraignment followed the recent issuance of an indictment by a federal grand jury, which replaced the criminal complaint. All eight defendants were reported to have entered not guilty pleas today.
Joe Percoco, once among the most powerful New York political figures, appeared in federal court today to face criminal charges stemming from a pair of alleged bribery schemes. A longtime aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Percoco was one of nine men charged in connection with the alleged schemes. Three of those defendants, Percoco, SUNY Polytechnic Institute CEO Alain Kaloyeros and Peter Galbraith Kelly, appeared in federal court in Manhattan. The others appeared in federal court in Syracuse and Buffalo.
Percoco was visible to cameras for only a few seconds, despite a long day spent in the U.S. Attorney’s office and court. He was wholly out of sight until 4:30, when he appeared in a courtroom. Cameras are not permitted there, so his appearance in front of any press cameras was limited to a few second dash from the courthouse to a waiting car. Here’s a look:
Governor Andrew Cuomo emerged today after days out of the public eye, taking questions from the press at a Manhattan bus garage. Cuomo’s appearance focused on the introduction of 75 newly designed buses, beginning today, on MTA routes in Queens and the MTA’s ongoing development of an app allowing LIRR and Metro North customers to purchase train tickets on mobile devices.
Cuomo spoke with the press afterwards, taking over a dozen questions with many focused on the investigations and controversy swirling around his “Buffalo Billion” program. Among the Buffalo Billion related questions were the review of Joe Percoco’s disclosure form revealing outside income from Buffalo Billion vendors, details of Cuomo’s last conversation with Percoco, the recent disclosure by Solar City of a reduction in the expected number of jobs, why the Public Authorities Control Board delayed a decision of funding certain payments related to Solar City and whether public money funding the Buffalo Billion was treated “as sacred” and if so, why an investigation is occurring. Other question topics included how Cuomo’s love of cars and motorcycles affects his actions on mass transit, the ongoing investigations of Mayor de Blasio’s fundraising efforts in the 2014 senate elections and whether Cuomo has been questioned in those investigations, current legislative efforts at retroactively extending the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases, the developing troubles of Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota and whether Cuomo will act to remove Spota, the likelihood of “ethics reform” passing in this legislative session, the timing of an inspector general’s report on the 2015 Dannemora prison escape and Cuomo’s planned trip to Italy.
Here’s the full Q&A:
Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke with the press this afternoon at Chelsea Piers, the Manhattan athletic complex built on Hudson River piers. Cuomo announced that Novo Foundation, in partnership with the Goren Group, will develop the former Bayview Correctional Facility into “a new global hub for the girls’ and women’s rights movement.”
Question topics during a post-announcement Q&A included the surprise resignation of Joe Percoco, the extensive list released today of New York endorsers of Hillary Clinton and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s absence from that list, whether he supports de Blasio’s call for changes to bail in light of the killing of Police Officer Randolph Holder, “felony drug dealers” being offered treatment instead of jail time, dealing with homeless people in the subway and rail systems, details of his executive order extending anti-discrimination laws to transgender people, Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch’s departure and rules and laws around criminal defendant drug diversion programs.
Here’s Cuomo’s full Q&A:
There was lots of Bronx love tonight for Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio – but no sign of any love between them as they separately appeared at the Bronx County Democratic Committee dinner.
Cuomo arrived slightly after his scheduled 7:00 speech time, mixing for a few minutes. He stayed for a short while after his speech, listening to Carl Heastie speak before departing. He spoke briefly with a few reporters, concluding that Q&A and driving off just before 8:00. Mayor de Blasio, scheduled to speak at 7:30, arrived about 5-10 minutes after Cuomo’s departure.
Cuomo was asked about his continuing friction with the Mayor and what’s evolved into mutual silent treatment. “He is not here, I’m going to another event” said the governor about 20 minutes after the scheduled start time of the mayor’s speech, adding after a pause “I’m sure I’ll see him soon.” The governor appeared relaxed and his additional comments were a bit empathetic, but he didn’t give any indication that improved relations are in the offing.
The Mayor spent close to 30 minutes greeting well-wishers after his speech, but left without answering any questions from trailing reporters. His spokesperson said that Cuomo and de Blasio “will speak in the near future”, but refused to say when or where.
While the mini-drama is riveting, and offers the prospect of a good picture whenever the two finally meet, it’s beyond time for them to end it. Their real policy and political differences won’t be resolved by a simple meeting, but the diminishment that they’re now both receiving can end. Both look increasingly petty, but there’s a simple way for at least one of them to staunch that diminution and look “grown up” – just drive over to the other’s office, go in and say hello.
Update – Photo Gallery:
Zephyr Teachout’s attempt to say hello to Andrew Cuomo at the Labor Day Parade on Saturday September 6th, drew a great deal of negative attention for Governor Cuomo. Cuomo later denied seeing Teachout or deliberately ignoring her, but in this newly published video Cuomo appears to notice Teachout and advise his chief aide of Teachout’s presence. Continue reading Teachout & Cuomo: The Prequel