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Christie and Cuomo – Partners in Crony Corruption?

BL England Coal Plant and Pinelands Pipeline have links to NY Gov. Cuomo’s People

[Update below]

I’ve been closely following the $500 million BL England power plant and Pinelands pipeline controversy and knew that Rockland Capital (owner of BL England) was from New York State, but, because I focus on the Jersey side of the river,  I had no idea that the behind the scenes lobbying and political deals involved in the project were linked to powerful NY players.

Award winning investigative reporter Wayne Barrett connects those dots in a must read killer story today in the New York Daily News.

That story sheds new light on not only the BL England/Pinelands controversy, but other deep political connections that involve the Port Authority, David Samson, NY Gov. Cuomo, and Gov. Christie’s BFF Rudy Giuliani, see:

But our backyard is, like Samson’s two-state Port Authority, overrun not only with Christie underbrush, but with connections to that other master of the multi-billion-dollar Authority, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Rockland’s chairman is Michael Del Giudice. He oversaw Andrew Cuomo’s transition committee in 2010, just as Samson chaired Christie’s in 2009.

Del Giudice, the lead independent director at Con Ed, was chief-of-staff to Andrew’s father, former governor Mario Cuomo, and more recently, the elder Cuomo has been an investor in and chairman of a Del Giudice banking company. Rockland is run out of the same Carnegie Hall Tower office as a state scholarship fund that Andrew Cuomo named Del Giudice to lead. Rockland’s vice-chair is Jerry Crotty, who once was counsel and secretary to Mario Cuomo and is now the president of an investment firm that owns more of Rockland than any other investor.

When Rockland acquired the plant for a $12 million pittance in 2006, it promised DEP it would complete the mandated expensive, pollution-reducing retrofitting that prompted the prior owners to sell.

It also hired Tony Burgos as its lobbyist. Burgos is another former top Mario Cuomo assistant whose installation years ago as Port Authority vice-chair positioned him to become the connected bi-state lobbyist he is today. Burgos, Crotty and Del Giudice are major Andrew Cuomo donors and fundraisers, accounting for hundreds of thousands in contributions over the years (they do not give to Christie). There is no indication that the Cuomo administration has done anything to benefit Rockland, which does have New York operations.

Please read the whole story.

I’ve always wondered why NY Gov. Cuomo and the NY faction have been silent, as NJ Gov. Christie and his crony David Samson milked the Port Authority of billions of dollars for NJ projects, at the direct expense of Port projects in NY. Also see:

Perhaps Cuomo and Christie have shared friends and/or shared interests – and perhaps some intrepid investigative reporters out there will begin looking into those connections.

[End Note: I am extremely pleased that Barrett got the BL England enforcement story right.

The NJ press corps has missed that or given the Christie DEP a pass on how they not only extended the compliance deadlines in prior DEP enforcement Orders, but shifted the focus from shut down or upgrade the pollution controls at the plant, to promoting repowering of the plant.

That was huge and is strong evidence of how in the tank the Christie DEP is.]

[Update – 3/31/14 – In another must read story, Mark Magyar of NJ Spotlight outlines the Christie & Cuomo scheme to destroy the Port Authority, see: 

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