Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not have much to say about Republican State Senate Leader Dean Skelos today.
Mr. Cuomo didn’t mention Mr. Skelos in a speech to the Association for a Better New York—despite discussing at length the state budget that Mr. Skelos helped negotiate—and afterward, would not comment on a federal investigation into Mr. Skelos and his son.
“You’d have to ask the U.S. Attorney,” Mr. Cuomo told the Observer when asked for his reaction to the investigation.
The probe from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was first reported by the New York Times, and focuses on a $12 million contract awarded to a firm where his son worked. Neither Mr. Skelos nor his son, Adam, have been charged with any crime. But Mr. Skelos seemed to confirm the investigation in a statement earlier this months: “I have and will continue to cooperate with any inquiry.”
The news comes at a chaotic time in Albany. Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was forced to step down from his leadership post after Mr. Bharara hit him with corruption charges. If Mr. Skelos is also eventually indicted, it would mean two of Albany’s three men in a room had been hit with corruption charges—and the third, Mr. Cuomo, is also being reportedly investigated by Mr. Bharara for his role in ending the corruption-busting Moreland Commission.
Mr. Silver stepping down led to the ascension of new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who Mr. Cuomo praised today, offering up anecdotes about Mr. Heastie’s bargaining tactics. But he didn’t tell any similar stories about Mr. Skelos, and referred only to “Senate Republicans,” not their leader, when talking about upcoming legislative battles.
He did, however, make reference the tumultuous time in Albany, noting “we’ve had a serious of ethical issues in Albany.”
Mr. Cuomo later said he would like to conduct deeper negotiations surrounding changes to the 421a tax credit—which he said he believed must be renewed—but that Albany is not quite stable enough to hash out major changes.
“Albany is somewhat—has a lot going on right now,” he said.