If you go to the website of the powerful lobbying firm Bolton St. John’s, the first lobbyist on the list of its large “team” is Giorgio DeRosa.
His biography notes; “As a lobbyist, Giorgio has worked on several successful procurement projects, including the New York State Prescription Drug Program, valued at $1 billion per year, and the New York State Mental Health Contract, valued at $120 million per year. He spearheaded efforts leading to the deregulation of the cellular telephone industry, and secured $20 million for a soccer stadium in Rochester, New York, and for a project with the New York Botanical Gardens.”
The biography can now be updated to include the fact that as of yesterday, his daughter is the top aide to the governor.
Melissa DeRosa now serves as secretary to the governor, the tippy-top of Governor Cuomo’s food chain on the second floor of the State Capitol. Her job will be particularly challenging because you’ll need a Venn diagram to chart the overlapping interests of her father’s business, state business, the business of her lobbyist brother, and the business of her husband, Matt Wing, who’s a top executive at the ride-sharing company Uber, which just won a legislative victory to help expand its services upstate.
Cuomo’s team is quick to say that there’s no swamp to be drained here because DeRosa, who was serving as the governor’s chief of staff, has recused herself whenever family business came up in government discussions.
Cuomo spokesman Dani Lever told The New York Times that DeRosa “has been and remains recused from any issue involving her father, brother and husband.”
That seems like an awful lot of meetings to be skipping given the extent of her relatives’ portfolios. And if there’s a list of all of those skipped meetings, it would be an ethically-pleasant surprise to see it.
This appearance of a serious conflict of interest would certainly be one of many questions that would be asked to a Trump administration so it’s only fair to ask them here. If it’s not a swamp that needs some clever navigating through, it sure looks like a bayou.