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Cuomo says he knew former aide was accepting consulting money, but did not know from who


Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke for the first time since news broke that his former close associate is under federal investigation for possibly taking illegal payments from developers working on state economic development projects.

Former top aide Joe Percoco left his state job for several months in 2014 when he managed Cuomo’s reelection campaign. Cuomo says  Percoco told him that he might do some other consulting work while he was off the state payroll, but Percoco did not tell him who the clients were and the governor said he did not ask.

“I knew he might be accepting consulting arrangements with other companies, but beyond that no,” Cuomo told reporters in New York City.

Cuomo says he doesn’t know what happened, but says Percoco is a “good man” and that Percoco and his family are “distraught” by the reports of the U.S. attorney’s investigation.

“It’s terrible, I don’t know another word for it,” Cuomo said.

The governor says nevertheless his own investigation is continuing, and his staff is also cooperating with the U.S. attorney’s probe. He says it’s important for him to be able to say that the Buffalo Billion and other economic development projects in his administration are “run well and that tax dollars are being protected.”

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.