Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo today didn’t indicate whether he has or will recommend jail time for former Comptroller Alan Hevesi, a Democrat who pleaded guilty earlier this month in a pay-to-play scandal while he was in office.
“He is cooperating with an ongoing investigation, and we’ll let that investigation proceed and then see where we are,” Cuomo, the attorney general, said after a rally in Ballston Lake, Saratoga County.
On Oct. 7, Hevesi admitted that about $1 million from a pension-fund investor went to fund trips for him and his family and fund campaign contributions to him and others while he had sole control of the state’s pension fund.
Cuomo’s conviction of Hevesi was the culmination of his three-year investigation into alleged corruption at the state Comptroller’s Office under Hevesi. Hevesi faces up to four years in state prison when he is sentenced Dec. 16.
Cuomo’s Republican opponent Carl Paladino in recent days has made a steady line of attack out of questions about whether Cuomo will seek jail time for Hevesi, who has agreed to cooperate with Cuomo’s ongoing probe.
Cuomo “gave him a walk so we could make a political announcement,” Paladino charged yesterday at a campaign stop in Saratoga. “He gave a criminal a walk so that he can say I convicted Hevesi and then they keep it a big secret.”
Paladino has also questioned why Cuomo didn’t investigate the scandal over alleged favoritism by state Democratic leaders to award a lucrative gaming contract for Aqueduct Race Track to a politically connected firm.
Cuomo said today that he didn’t investigate because there was already a federal investigation. The state Inspector General’s Office, meanwhile, released its scathing report earlier this month and forwarded its findings to federal and state prosecutors.