It was a bad week by many accounts for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and not just because of the heat he’s taking for freezing Mayor Bill de Blasio out of the decision to shut down the city’s transit system for the blizzard that bypassed the boroughs.
No, the real bad news were the two words uttered by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara after he nuked Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Lower East Side) last Thursday in a $4 million bribery and kickback scheme: “Stay Tuned.”
The implication: more heads will roll.
The New York Post’s veteran Albany scribe Fred Dicker has written that Cuomo, also a Democrat, is “on edge” because of the shadow Bharara’s cast over Albany. Cuomo is “freaked-out and furious,” Dicker wrote, and “obsessed with fear.’’
“I think all of Albany is worried,” Business Insider political reporter Colin Campbell told Metro. “Silver has been one of the most stable things about Albany politics for decades so the power vacuum definitely has the potential to shake things up in an unpredictable fashion.”
Bharara has openly criticized Cuomo’s decision to disband the Moreland Commission, a panel established to investigate what The Post’s Michael Goodwin calls “Albany’s rotten pay-to-play culture.”
The panel was reportedly stonewalled when it started looking into Silver’s business dealings. And then, out of the blue, Cuomo shut the whole thing down. Bharara has repeatedly criticized the move.
Cuomo’s office did not return a request for comment Thursday, but the governor told The Daily News’ Ken Lovett that Bharara was better able to build his case against Silver, whose final day as speaker is expected to be Monday.
Bharara mocked that suggestion: “I don’t know who you’re talking about,” he told reporters of Cuomo’s assertion.
“I’m very confused about the Moreland Commission, as I think a lot of people are. And various people have, I think over time, I’ll put this delicately: have given maybe 18 or 19 different explanations depending on the time as to what its powers were, what its level of independence was or should be.”
Observers have also noted that Bharara’s Silver takedown came on the same day as Cuomo’s State of the State address, something Dicker said really irked the governor. The prosecutor has also slammed the so-called “three men in a room” reputation, the long reality that power is centered with the govenor, speaker, and head of the state senate.
PJ Tatler political blogger Michael Walsh may have caught best what Cuomo’s week has been like with this headline: “The Tick-Tock Begins for Andrew Cuomo.”