The Real Deal New York

Moreland Commission says corruption is rampant in Albany

Report looked at communications between politicians and developers including Extell, Silverstein and Thor Equities

December 03, 2013 09:52AM

From left: Moreland Commission Executive Director Regina Calcaterra and Co-Chair William Fitzpatrick

From left: Moreland Commission Executive Director Regina Calcaterra and Co-Chair William Fitzpatrick

A panel appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to investigate corruption at the state level said in a report issued Monday that it had found evidence of likely wrongdoing and called for an overhaul of New York’s elections and campaign finance laws.

The Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption slapped several of New York City’s biggest developers — including Gary Barnett, Joseph Sitt and Larry Silverstein — with subpoenas back in August, demanding correspondence concerning tax breaks they received to build luxury condominiums such as One57 and 30 Park Place

“The commission’s preliminary observation is that both the general state of our political system, and the way business is transacted within it, cry out urgently for reform,” the report stated. “New York needs comprehensive reform to restore the public trust.”

The commission said it had found “deplorable conduct, some of it perfectly legal yet profoundly wrong; some of it potentially illegal.” It also described “a pay-to-play political culture driven by large checks,” according to a report from the New York Times. It recommended an overhaul of campaign fundraising laws, such as tighter limits on campaign contributions and the implementation of public financing for state elections.

Cuomo said in a statement to the Times that he looked forward to “continuing to work with the Legislature to enact systemic reform.” [NYT]  – Hiten Samtani

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