NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A former top aide for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and several others are under investigation over improper lobbying tactics and conflicts of interest in connection to the “Buffalo Billion” project.
The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office has launched an investigation into the practices of Joseph Percoco, who served as Cuomo’s executive deputy secretary, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported. The probe will focus on whether Percoco failed to report potential conflicts of interest and thousands of dollars he received from outside companies while doing business with the state.
Although the governor’s office was served for documents, no individual person in the office — including Cuomo — were served. In a statement, Cuomo’s counsel said the probe has raised questions of improper lobbying and undisclosed conflicts of interest and may have defrauded the state.
The project was announced by Cuomo in 2012 and includes a medical campus and solar panel facility.
The “Buffalo Billion” project was investigated by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in September 2015. That probe focused on whether there was any connection between developers winning contracts for the project – which is intended to draw manufacturing, health care and other business to Buffalo – and contributions to Cuomo’s campaigns.