But unlike Cuomo’s relationship with Senate Republicans such as Dean Skelos (convicted last year on corruption charges) and John Flanagan, which he could at least justify under the guise of government functionality, the roots of his friendship with recently indicted Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano are far more complicated and perplexing.There's lots more, including questionable donations to a Republican club, favors apparently engineered by Cuomo, and lighter state oversight over Nassau.
Mangano, along with his wife, Linda, and Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, was charged in October with 13 counts of corruption for allegedly accepting bribes and kickbacks in exchange for funneling $437,000 in county contracts to a local restaurateur named Harendra Singh....
Mangano’s tenure as county executive has been marred by irresponsible fiscal stewardship, near blatant flouting of campaign finance laws and a pay-for-play contracting system largely rubber-stamped by hand-picked Cuomo allies.
What began for Cuomo as an association of convenience, competitiveness and expediency steadily evolved to full-on enabling of Mangano’s ethically murky behavior, particularly as it pertains to Nassau’s finances and contracting process, which a county district attorney in 2014 called “a recipe for corruption.”
At a time when Cuomo appears to be finally taking statewide ethics reform seriously after years of kicking the can down the road and blaming the Legislature for lacking the “appetite” to get it passed, it’s easy to wonder how much of Mangano’s behavior could have been avoided had the governor’s hunger for a “mandate” not taken precedent over sound fiscal management of one of New York’s most populous counties. Instead, Cuomo’s coziness with Mangano and his former aides is an indelible stain on his credibility in leading this renewed charge toward good government.And that's without a mention of Mangano's longtime relationship with Republican ex-Senator, now lobbyist, Alfonse D'Amato. Or the transactional relationship between D'Amato and Brooklyn developer Bruce Ratner, who made campaign contributions to D'Amato's PAC that, evidence suggests, were then routed to Mangano.