Bharara Says Corruption Probes Are Not Done; Cuomo Says Life in State Capitol More Complicated
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says his corruption probes are hardly done, and that has the governor admitting life in the state capital is even more complicated than normal. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Governor Andrew Cuomo smiles about Albany.
"Government can work. Gridlock doesn't have to be the way," he said.
Four hours later and seven blocks north, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara took to a darkened stage.
"The problem of corruption in New York is systemic, not merely episodic," Bharara said.
Under Bharara, another episode is unfolding. He's probing whether the state's top Republican used political power to help his son. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos says he's cooperating.
Cuomo seems to admit the investigation is distracting, for one, even how to fix a common tax perk.
"If it was a different time in Albany, frankly, and Albany was a little bit more of a stable situation, I would normally take those negotiations to Albany," Cuomo said.
Speaking afterward, Cuomo seemed to downplay the noise.
"It's the hardest single thing we do all year, is passing the budget, he said. "So the proof is in the pudding. We got it done."
Bharara didn't take questions, but he says the investigations aren't over.
"By now, I think people are familiar with our record on public corruption, which record is not yet complete," he said.
Bharara was speaking at a conference on transportation and infrastructure. Not exactly his normal porfolio, but the prosecutor made the case that corruption is holding back the city and the state.
"How can New Yorkers fix big problems or dream big things if corruption is a draining distraction?" he said.
New Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie hopes not. The New York Times reports that almost 16 years ago, Heastie ignored a judge's order to sell a home prosecutors said his mother bought with embezzled money.
In his first extensive comments, Heastie calls it "yellow journalism."
"I would have been a fool to attempt to become a speaker if I believed that there was something in my past that would come back to bite me," he said.
Heastie said he invested substantially in the home and followed his mother's attorney's advice.
"He says, 'You don't have any personal obligation to deal with your mother's situation. Go live your life.' And that's what I tried to do," Heastie said.