ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Accusations of bid-rigging and bribery show more oversight and transparency is needed when it comes to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development initiatives, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Friday.
Speaking on public radio’s The Capitol Pressroom, the Democratic comptroller said better scrutiny of the way public dollars are spent could have prevented the acts alleged by federal prosecutors.
DiNapoli called on state leaders to consider reforms that would give his office more oversight of state economic development programs like the Buffalo Billion and Nano.
“If we took a little more time and did it right… you wouldn’t have these kinds of lapses that really shake public confidence,” he said. “If you had more robust oversight … it might have gotten them to think twice before they came up with these alleged schemes.”
Former top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros and executives at prominent development firms are charged in the case, which involved alleged bid-rigging and bribery in the Buffalo Billion and other upstate economic development initiatives. Attorneys for the men say their clients are innocent.
Cuomo has said he knew nothing of the alleged acts. In response to DiNapoli’s comments, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi noted unrelated corruption cases facing state lawmakers and said they all reveal some aspect of state law that could be improved to address corruption - including how state contracts are awarded.
“There is no doubt that after these cases we need to examine procurement of all executive and legislative contracts,” he said.
DiNapoli stopped short of criticizing Cuomo directly.
“I don’t know that it’s productive to finger-point at the governor,” he said.
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