Cuomo-Farkas friendship has opponent Paladino crying foul

October 15, 2010 04:00PM

From left: Andrew Farkas, Andrew Cuomo

State Attorney General and democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo is facing criticism for his relationship with Andrew Farkas, a real estate magnate whose former company, Insignia Financial Group, was once the target of an investigation by Cuomo, according to the New York Times. The two were purported enemies in 1997, when Cuomo began investigating Insignia for reportedly handing over millions of dollars in kickbacks to a landlord. Insignia claimed that it’s activity was par for the course in the industry, but Cuomo cried foul — until 1998, when Cuomo dropped the case and Insignia was able to sell its apartment business for $910 million. Since that time, opponents say that Cuomo has profited handsomely from his unlikely friendship with Farkas, who has given Cuomo hundreds of thousands in campaign donations. Farkas even employed Cuomo for three years, reportedly to the shock of some Insignia staffers, paying him a salary upwards of $2.5 million. The relationship has Carl Paladino, Cuomo’s republican challenger, up in arms. “Here’s a man who stole millions of dollars, and Andrew gives him a pass,” Paladino said. Farkas, meanwhile, said that the kerfuffle is unwarranted. “The truth is, there’s a friendship here, a love and a respect here, and a bond that surmounts all of this stuff,” Farkas said. [NYT]