US: Quid Pro Quo Between NY Governor and Healthcare Company

Emails allegedly obtained by Times Union cast suspicions over the process by which Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo gave US$25 million in state grants to a healthcare company which previously donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign.

544px-Andrew Cuomo by Pat ArnowAndrew Cuomo (CC 2.0)The correspondence shows that the $25 million was given after representatives of the healthcare company, Crystal Run Healthcare, had a private sit-down with Cuomo in April 2015, shortly after New York began to seek applications for a $1.2 billion grant program.

Officials insisted that the grant--and the projects for which the grant was given--were not on the table at the meeting.

"To be clear, the meeting was not related to the CRFP grant process,” said Gary Holmes, the state’s Department of Health spokesman. "Any suggestion that this meeting influenced the grant process is completely false."

However, emails from Crystal Run’s chief legal officer Douglas Sansted say that Crystal Run executives had “shared our vision for growth” at the meeting--including two projects for which the company was later given a grant.

Cuomo is currently under investigation over $400,000 of donations his campaign received from Crystal Run executives and their associates. Though made by individuals, these donations allegedly were reimbursed to the executives by the company through bonuses.

Cuomo meanwhile insists there was nothing fishy about the grant process.

"It's done on objective criteria, pursuant to a 2014 law," he told the Albany-based local paper in early September.

"There is no suggestion that they got the grant from (the Department of) Health because of the contribution."

Cuomo’s opponents have accused him of cultivating a “pay-to-play” fundraising culture. He is now running for his third term in office.

 

 

 

Emails allegedly obtained by Times Union cast suspicions over the process by which Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo gave US$25 million in state grants to a healthcare company which previously donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign.