Dunlea Slams DiNapoli for Refusal to Audit Cuomo on Percoco, Sign off on Crystal Run Contract
Mark Dunlea, the Green Party candidate for State Comptroller, said today that State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s failure to investigate possible illegal expenditures by the Cuomo administration highlights the need to elect an independent Comptroller to clean up the corruption in Albany.
“Corruption is rampant in Albany, and Tom DiNapoli apparently sees none of it. We need a Comptroller who is less interested in being everyone’s best friend in Albany and instead aggressively protects the taxpayers from being robbed by crooked politicians,” noted Dunlea.
DiNapoli recently announced that he will not audit the Governor’s office over its apparent illegal use by recently convicted Cuomo top aide Joe Percoco while he was serving as Cuomo’s campaign manager, saying that the case is still under appeal even though the appeal does not address the illegal use of the office space. The audit had been requested by the Republican candidate for Governor. Percoco continued to operate out of the Governor’s office while he was running Cuomo’s re-election campaign in clear violation of the law and Cuomo failed to take any action to stop it while Percoco was illegally selling his access to the Governor.
The Times Union has been reporting on the ongoing federal investigation of health firm Crystal Run. The health company received $25 million in state contracts shortly after making $400,000 in campaign contributions to Cuomo. The Times Union reported today that the “two projects were fully built and open to the public before Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office signed off on the contracts allowing the company to be reimbursed for its building expenses in December 2016. Under the terms of those contracts, the company was allowed to seek reimbursements from state taxpayers for its expenses back to October 2015.”
As a law student, Dunlea drafted the Citizen Taxpayer Lawsuit act which gives New York residents to right to file suit to challenge the illegal expenditure of tax dollars. His push as a Town Board member in Poestenkill to put the Town Insurance Contract out for bid resulted in the Rensselaer County Democratic Chairperson going to federal prison for two years after it was discovered that he was the unnamed co-insurer on the contract. Working for Ralph Nader, Dunlea unsuccessfully argued in the State Court of Appeals that state lawmakers awarding themselves a pay raise in a lame duck session after they were elected violated the state constitution restriction against raising their pay after they were elected.
Dunlea noted that Cuomo quickly moved to shut down the Moreland Commission once they began to ask questions about the millions in campaign donations he was receiving from the real estate industry.
Cuomo’s aide Alain Kaloyeros was recently convicted of rigging the bid for a $750 million contract for the Buffalo Billion project, Cuomo’s signature economic development effort. Cuomo got the state legislature to remove oversight of the contract by the Comptroller’s office shortly before it was awarded. When earlier this year the Republicans in the State Senate – in retaliation to Cuomo’s efforts to get the IDC to rejoin the mainstream Democrats – suddenly passed Assembly proposals to restore oversight of such contracts and increase information related to the massive economic development corporate welfare program, DiNapoli did not fight back when Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie decided to protect Cuomo by not allowing the bills to be voted upon.
“Cuomo has abused pay-to-play, taking massive donations from those seeking favors from the state. As Comptroller, I will pay especial attention to any contract awarded to a campaign donor. My first responsibility will be to protect taxpayers, not politicians like Cuomo,” said Dunlea.
“We need a Green to watch the green,” he added.