Prosecutors’ star witness in opposition to one-time Gov. Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco stated Tuesday afternoon that he bossed round government chamber workers even after he left the governor’s workplace.
Todd Howe, a Cuomo crony-turned-lobbyist, is testifying within the Manhattan Federal Courtroom bribery trial in opposition to Percoco, who for years was an in depth buddy and adviser to the governor.
Whereas Percoco left the state payroll from April to December 2014 to go Cuomo’s re-election, prosecutors have charged that he “continued to perform in a senior advisory and supervisory function with regard to the Governor’s Workplace throughout that point interval.”
In summer season 2014, when Percoco was managing Cuomo’s marketing campaign, Howe stated “I witnessed Joe decide up the telephone and name the governor’s workers … for marketing campaign and non-campaign.”
“On a couple of cases, I noticed him speak to state staff and instruct them on varied matters,” Howe stated.
When a number of key Cuomo staffers wished to go away, Howe stated, Percoco acted to dam their departures even though he was on the marketing campaign.
Earlier testimony from an FBI agent additionally hinted at Percoco’s energetic presence within the governor’s workplace through the marketing campaign.
“Between Could 1, 2014, and December 7, 2014, there have been 837 calls on 68 days from Percoco’s government chamber desk phone in New York Metropolis,” an FBI agent testified on Jan. 29.
Percoco’s alleged conduct presents potential ethics violations, stated Blair Horner, government director of the New York Public Curiosity Analysis Group.
In line with New York’s Joint Fee on Public Ethic (JCOPE), “No State assets of any sort could also be utilized in furtherance of actions, together with, however not restricted to, telephones, workplace provides, postage, photocopying machines, computer systems and help workers. Nor could marketing campaign actions be carried out from a State workplace or throughout State enterprise hours until depart is taken.”
Howe additionally stated that he wished to assist Syracuse builders Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, who’re additionally on trial for allegedly bribing Percoco, take advantage of out of their political contributions.
As a part of this “technique,” Howe stated he inspired the 2 COR Improvement execs to donate to Cuomo’s marketing campaign, saying sturdy donations would bolster their relationship.
Howe additionally described instructing a COR exec to speak to Cuomo about Corvettes at a Cuomo marketing campaign fund-raiser. The exec did, and he and the governor talked about vehicles for greater than half an hour.
Howe’s testimony additionally revealed that he and Percoco mocked Peter Galbraith Kelly, who’s on trial alongside Percoco for allegedly giving the Cuomo confidante’s spouse a $7,500-per-month low-show job.
Percoco, 48, was supposed to assist Kelly get a fascinating cope with the state to assist improvement of a controversial Orange County energy plant.
Kelly wished to fulfill Percoco’s spouse, Lisa, earlier than hiring her.
Percoco recommended he and Lisa have Kelly over for dinner, presumably for an Italian meal. Then, the one-liners rolled.
“Would you like fats man taking place for the depend in entrance of the women?” Howe stated in an electronic mail to Percoco, testimony revealed.
“Conceal all of the meals,” one other electronic mail stated of Kelly, in accordance with testimony.
Additionally they joked about whether or not to serve “meat and potatoes” or Italian meals.
“It is not like he is choosy,” an electronic mail stated of Kelly. The trade then referred to Kelly as “fatso.”
Howe, 57, copped to corruption counts in 2016. He has been working with the feds since June of that 12 months.
Prosecutors say Percoco pocketed greater than $300,000 in bribes from execs who have been pursuing fascinating contracts with the state.
With Glenn Blain