It's been two days since Governor Cuomo told reporters that he has "never" talked about rent regulations with real estate company Glenwood Management—one of the state's largest political donors, best known these days for allegedly passing favors under the table to both Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Today, however, Capital reports that Cuomo appears to be suffering from selective memory loss: According to the Governor's public schedule, he actually met with Glenwood three times back in 2011 to discuss, you guessed it, "rent regulations."
In one of those meetings, the only people in the room were the governor, Glenwood President Leonard Litwin, and Senior VP Charles Dorego, the guy who just signed a non-prosecution agreement with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and consequently has Albany lawmakers shaking in their loafers.
New York City's rent regulation law is set to expire June 15th, along with 421-a, a '70s-era tax subsidy that favors large developers like Glenwood. For the past few months, housing advocates have been pushing for stronger rent regulation laws, and the abolishment of 421-a. Cuomo has spoken out in favor of renewing both.
It's worth noting that Cuomo received a combined $1.5 million in donations from Glenwood and Litwin, in his last election cycle. Just this week, an indictment against Skelos accused the Senate majority leader of supporting developer-friendly rent control legislation, in exchange for Glenwood paying his son, Adam, for doing very little.
And in January, Silver was accused of sending Glenwood business to law firm Goldberg & Iryami, P.C. in exchange for referral fees. Of Albany's notorious three men in a room, Cuomo is the last one standing.
As if all this doesn't look bad enough, Capital notes that Cuomo's Glenwood meetings took place in the leadup to June 2011, the last time rent control laws and 421-a were up for renewal.
A Cuomo spokesman offered a defensive statement about his boss's memory lapse:
"The Governor did not remember off the top of his head three meetings from five years ago, two of which also included many other industry advocates. What is clear to everyone is that we emerged that year with the strongest rent regulation laws in decades, which included the creation of a tenant protection unit that has returned more than 37,000 unlawfully deregulated apartments to rent regulation.”
Cuomo told reporters earlier this week, "I don't believe anyone said Glenwood has done anything wrong. If somebody did something wrong, then obviously I wouldn't associate with them politically." Obviously.