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Update: State AG’s Office Raids SUNY Polytechnic Institute

(Update, May 26) -Officials from the New York State Attorney General’s Office reportedly raided the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, in Albany, May 26.

Todd Howe, a lobbyist and former Gov. Cuomo staffer in the middle of an investigation regarding SUNY Poly’s alleged bid-rigging of the state’s development projects, used the office.

“SUNY Poly cooperated fully today with the NYAG’s office request to search an office previously used by Todd Howe, at our Albany campus,” the school said in a statement Thursday. “We continue to cooperate fully with their investigation.”

Gov. Cuomo’s office is also conducting an investigation into SUNY Poly. 

(From May 6) – Amid the ongoing probe of the state Capitol, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office issued legal memos this week that effectively dissociated the governor with a prominent energy company. The memo also took back the authority of approval for Buffalo Billion projects from the SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

The federal probe has resulted in a great deal of action taken by Cuomo and his counsel Alphonso David. This week alone, Cuomo and David laid out a series of restrictions for state agencies and entities in three separate letters. These letters were in response to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation regarding multiple statewide economic development initiatives spearheaded by Cuomo’s administration.

Although U.S. Senators are elected once every six years, with one-third of this legislative body up for election every two years, the rules aren’t so clear cut for many state officials, some of whom are chosen by leaders rather than by the people. In these letters, David cracks down on both the organizations orchestrating these projects and the state officials suspected of unethical activity.

In one letter, David prohibited SUNY Poly and the SUNY Research Foundation from making decisions regarding New York’s Buffalo Billions nanotechnology initiatives without first being reviewed and approved through a new set of guidelines to be established by Bart Schwartz, the former federal prosecutor leading Cuomo’s probe into the situation.

In a different memo, David ordered the state Public Service Commission, the Power Authority, and the Department of Environmental Conservation to cut ties with Competitive Power Ventures, which is currently building a major gas plant in New York’s Organe County.

According to Democrat and Chronicle, David also ordered the state regulators to “immediately suspend or discontinue” all “activities in support of any regulatory approvals for CPV” or any “ongoing regulatory proceedings related.”

“We are taking these measures because we value the public trust and must take all actions necessary to avoid any actual or perceived violation of that trust,” David wrote. “Should you have any questions, please contact my office.