The overarching scandal here wasn’t bid-rigging or the pay-to-play pattern in the developers’ contributions to the governor’s reelection campaign. At the root was a simply awful public policy — corporate welfare on steroids — that neither Cuomo nor most of his critics have definitively renounced, even now.
This new timeline traces five legal battles the Empire Center has fought since 2009 against public agencies that refuse to allow taxpayers to see where their money is going.
The pork may be returning to the state budget.
State lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo quietly have stashed away $1.2 billion for pet projects, and they are starting to spend it: about $187 million for 588 projects across New York, a report from the Empire Center, a watchdog group in Albany found.
New York State’s $1 billion capital project slush fund is dispensing borrowed money across the state outside public scrutiny, but two local governments have inadvertently given New Yorkers a glimpse of its inner workings.
A fiscal watchdog group says it’s uncovered what it calls a “secret slush fund”, used by Governor Cuomo and state legislators to fund pet projects around the state, but the governor’s budget office says the grants are subject to oversight.
Gov. Cuomo’s payment of $16 million to keep CBS’s “The Late Show” in New York, when there was zero real threat of it leaving, is the kind of boondoggle Stephen Colbert might mock in his monologue — if he weren’t the one cashing the check.
But that gratuitous giveaway of tax dollars, announced last year, turns out to have been the tip of a very big and ugly iceberg.
The Cuomo administration and the state Legislature have begun dishing out grants from a secretive $1.1 billion capital slush fund—all of which will be borrowed money—with no disclosure of project sponsorship or award criteria.
State leaders are planning to borrow $5 million to help CBS pay for renovations at the Ed Sullivan Theatre, the home for the "Late Show with Stephen Colbert," according to state records.
That means state taxpayers are on the hook for $5 million, plus interest.