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Cuomo says he has not scrutinized Buffalo Billion contracts


Gov. Andrew Cuomo, facing questions about the ongoing federal probe of contracts associated with his Buffalo Billion economic development project, was reluctant to say much about the progress of the investigation.

Cuomo was asked by journalists whether he or anyone on his staff has been questioned or subpoenaed by federal prosecutors looking into the awarding of state contracts as part of the massive economic development protect in western New York.

“I have not,” said Cuomo. “But I don’t want to get into commenting on the U.S. Attorney’s investigation.”

A Cuomo spokesman later clarified that, “Neither the governor, nor his staff has been questioned or subpoenaed on the Buffalo Billion project.” Spokesman Rich Azzopardi says all future questions should be referred to the U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. 

The governor’s economic development authority, Empire State Development Corporation, has been subpoenaed as has the State University of New York’s Polytechnic Institute.

Cuomo says when he was attorney general he issued hundreds of subpoenas, but very few turned out to reveal any actual wrong doing.

The governor was also asked if he’s confident that the Buffalo Billion contracts were awarded properly. He says he “has no reason” not to think so, but says he has not personally scrutinized the details. And Cuomo says he does not think any of the projects will be delayed due to the federal probe.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.