Senator DeFrancisco: Andrew Cuomo’s Economic Development Schemes Carry Stench of Shake-Down Scheme

February 14, 2018

Programs Facilitated Millions in Pay-to-Play Donations and Hundreds of Millions in Taxpayer-Paid Self-Promotional TV Ads

“Percoco Trial Revealing Breathtaking, Machiavellian Thinking in Cuomo-World”

New York — State Senator and gubernatorial candidate John A. DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) today charged that Governor Andrew Cuomo, and aides closest to him, including former Chief of Staff and campaign manager Joseph Percoco, designed elaborate “economic development”schemes in New York soon after his 201o election that would reap the governor millions of dollars in pay-to-play political donations and allow him to run hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-paid television ads — in New York and around the nation — designed to further Governor Cuomo’s political reputation and positioning.

New York State Senate Majority members yesterday called for an end to Governor Cuomo’s “economic development” advertising campaigns that have cost New York taxpayers $354 million since 2011. Governor Cuomo’s Start-Up NY Program spent $44.5 million on advertising alone to create 756 jobs over five years.

“The ongoing corruption trial in New York is demonstrating exactly how this governor and his inner circle of advisors think,” Senator DeFrancisco said. “I’ll come right out and say it: Mr. Cuomo’s economic development programs carry the stench of a shake-down scheme. Bidders on state projects were encouraged to donate generously to the governor’s campaigns, while taxpayers were made to foot the bill for TV ads extolling progress in New York that wasn’t actually occurring. You couldn’t draw this up any better on a chalkboard.”

Senator DeFrancisco joined his colleagues in the State Senate in demanding that Governor Cuomo suspend all taxpayer-paid television advertising, calling it, “an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars — at best.”

“New Yorkers have shelled out $354 million for television ads under this governor,” Senator DeFrancisco continued. “They must ask themselves, ‘who other than Andrew Cuomo has benefitted from these ads?’ I can think of almost no one.”