LOCAL POLITICAL LANDSCAPE

March 13, 2018 at 4:45 am

Former Nassau County Executive, Ed Mangano, was once one of the most powerful people on Long Island. Now the jury selection begins as he faces federal corruption charges. Does Governor Cuomo’s friendship with embattled former aide Joe Percoco show a weakness in judgment? Plus, the Governor’s reaction to a potential high profile rival for his job, former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon. City & State’s Editor-in-Chief, Jonathan Lentz, is here with an analysis.

Aired on March 12, 2018. 

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AND BUFFALO, WE WERE AT NO LOSS
FOR STORIES BREAKING AROUND THE
REGION.
JONATHAN, WELCOME BACK TO THE
PROGRAM.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
>> LET'S START OUT WITH TODAY'S
BIGGEST STORY.
JURY SELECTION BEGAN IN THE
CORRUPTION TRIAL AGAINST FORMER
NASSAU COUNTY EXECUTIVE, EDWARD
MAN BEGAN/.
-- MANGANO.
HIS WIFE WILL ALSO BE ON TRIAL
ALONG WITH JOHN VENDITTO.
THEY HAVE PLED NOT GUILTY TO
EXTORTION, BRIBERY AND MORE.
WHAT'S HAPPENING?
>> IT'S THE LATEST IN A STRING
OF CORRUPTION CHARGES ON LONG
ISLAND.
THIS INVOLVES ALLEGED BRIBES, A
NO-SHOW JOB FOR THE FORMER
COUNTY EXECUTIVE'S WIFE,
VACATIONS, ET CETERA, ITS.
OF.
>> WITH SO MUCH MONEY THAT SEEMS
TO BE FLOATING AROUND LONG
ISLAND, WHAT KIND OF INFLUENCE
WAS LOOKING TO BE BOUGHT IN THIS
CORRUPTION TRIAL?
WHAT WAS THE HOPE?
WHAT WERE THE GAINS TO GET FROM
PERHAPS INFLUENCING MR. MANGANO
AND OF COURSE HIS WIFE?
>> PROSECUTORS HAVE SAID AND
DOCUMENTED IS THAT THERE WERE
THESE LOAN GUARANTEES TO THIS
RESTAURANT AND RESTAURANT OWNER
WHICH THEY SAY IS COMPLETELY
ILLEGAL, SOMETHING THAT WOULDN'T
BE ALLOWED.
IN FACT, ALLEGEDLY THE COUNTY
EXECUTIVE FOUND A DIFFERENT
LAWYER, WENT OUTSIDE THE AREA
FOR A LAWYER FOR THIS
TRANSACTION.
>> WITH THE TRIAL GETTING
STARTED, I WOULD BE REMISS IF I
DIDN'T MENTION THE OTHER BIG
TRIAL IN STATE POLITICS WITH JOE
ROCOCO.
NOW REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENS
WITH MR. ROCOCO AND THE OUTCOME
OF THIS TRIAL, WHAT DO WE KNOW
ABOUT WHAT'S BEING ALLEGED?
BECAUSE IN THE ARTICLE THAT YOUR
MAGAZINE RECENTLY LAID OUT, IT
REALLY SOUNDS LIKE THERE WAS
ALMOST A GROSS AMOUNT OF LACK OF
OVERSIGHT OR SUPERVISION OF WHAT
WAS GOING ON IN THE EXECUTIVE
BRANCH.
>> WHAT'S REALLY INTERESTING,
ACTUALLY, BOTH WITH THE MANGANO
CASE AND THIS ROCOCO CASE ARE
THE POLITICAL RAMIFICATIONS.
GOING BACK TO THE MANGANO CASE
FOR A SECOND, THE PERSON WHO IS
ALLEGEDLY BEEN GIVING THESE
BRIBES ALSO ALLEGEDLY GAVE
BRIBES TO MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO.
SO HE HAS A LOT TO WATCH HERE
POLITICALLY, AND MANGANO IS A
CLOSE ASSOCIATE OF GOVERNOR
CUOMO.
IT TIES DIRECTLY TO THE
GOVERNOR.
AND THERE ARE ETHICS COMPLAINTS
THAT CAME OUT OF THE TESTIMONY
THAT WILL BE INTERESTING TO
WATCH.
MOST NOTABLY, ROCOCO, WHILE HE
HAD LEFT THE ADMINISTRATION, HE
WAS STILL SHOWING UP IN THE
GOVERNOR'S OFFICES, HE WAS
WORKING ON THE CAMPAIGN, BUT
STILL SEEMING TO RUN THINGS,
WHICH IS A REAL QUESTION MARK.
WAS HE ALLOWED TO DO THAT?
WAS HE FOLLOWING THE ETHICS
GUIDELINES?
>> WELL, OF COURSE WITH GOVERNOR
CUOMO BEING TIED TO EVERYTHING
IN NEW YORK STATE, HE IS FACING
A CHALLENGE NOW FROM THE LEFT,
FROM THE ACTRESS, WHO IS BEST
KNOWN FOR HER ROLE AS MIRANDA ON
"SEX IN THE CITY," CYNTHIA
NIXON.
WAS THE GOVERNOR RIGHT TO LAUGH
OFF THIS POSSIBLE CHALLENGER?
>> HE MADE A COMMENT THAT
POSSIBLY VLADIMIR PUTIN IS
BEHIND HER GIVING HER THE RACE.
AND SHE HASN'T JUMPED IN YET.
SHE HAS MADE KEY HIRES.
SHE'S GETTING CLOSER.
BUT LET'S GO BACK FOUR YEARS.
PEOPLE DIDN'T KNOW THE NAME OF
THIS PERSON AT ALL.
SHE GOT IN FAIRLY LATE AND
ACTUALLY ENDED UP GETTING A
THIRD OF THE VOTE IN THE
DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY.
SO CYNTHIA NIXON, AGAIN, HAS
THAT NAME RECOGNITION.
IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE
HOW THAT PLAYS OUT.
WE'LL STAY TUNED.
>> OF COURSE NIXON IS COMING
WITH A VERY STRONG BACKGROUND IN
EDUCATION ADVOCACY, AND I
UNDERSTAND SHE'S GOING TO BE
LOOKING INTO ISSUES LIKE FIX
BEING THE BELEAGUERED MT.
-- MTA.
>> COMMON CORE WAS A BIG ISSUE.
THAT'S IN THE PAST RIGHT NOW.
SO THERE'S MAYBE LESS
VULNERABILITY FOR THE GOVERNOR.
THAT SAID, WHEN THE GOVERNOR
CRITICIZED HER FOR BEING A
CELEBRITY AND SAYING MAYBE BRAD
PITT SHOULD RUN OR ANGELINA
JOLIE SHOULD RUN.
WE SAW DONALD TRUMP RUN.
AND AS YOU NOTED, CYNTHIA NIXON
HAS BACKGROUND WITH EDUCATION
ISSUES.
>> WE SAW ACROSS THE RIVER WHEN
THERE WAS THE BRIDGE GATE TRIAL
AND HOW THE PEOPLE IN THEN
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE'S CIRCLE
HELPED BRING DOWN HIS POLITICAL
CAREER, EVEN THOUGH HE WAS NOT
OFFICIALLY CHARGED WITH ANYTHING
IN THAT TRIAL.
IS THERE A CHANCE THAT ANYTHING
GOING ON WITH THESE CORRUPTION
TRIALS THAT ARE SO CLOSE TO THE
GOVERNOR'S INNER CIRCLE COULD
ACTUALLY STICK TO HIM AND
PREVENT HIM FROM MOVING ON TO
ANOTHER TERM OR EVEN HIGHER
OFFICE?
>> PART OF IT'S JUST CUOMO'S
RUNNING FOR A THIRD TERM.
AND POLITICIANS TYPICALLY, THEY
DO FINE FOR THE FIRST TERM, THE
SECOND TERM.
YOU GET IN THE THIRD TERM,
YOU'VE BEEN IN OFFICE LONG
ENOUGH, THERE'S ENOUGH THAT ADDS
UP OR THINGS DO STICK, WHICH IS
WHAT HAPPENED WITH CHRIS
CHRISTIE.
HE SEEMED LIKE A STRONG
CONTENDER FOR PRESIDENT.
OBVIOUSLY, BRIDGE GATE CAME UP.
I BECAME, BY THE TIME HE LEFT
OFFICE, THE MOST UNPOPULAR
GOVERNOR IN THE STATE.
GOVERNOR CUOMO, RUNNING FOR A
THIRD TERM, IS HE STAYING ON TOO
LONG?
IT COULD HAPPEN.
LOOKS LIKE HE WANTS TO RUN FOR
PRESIDENT IN 2020.
BUT SOME OF THESE THINGS COULD
COME BACK TO HURT HIM.
>> EVERY FEW YEARS WE'LL SEE A
BUNCH OF CORRUPTION TRIALS
COMING OUT OF ALBANY OR NEW YORK
CITY OR LONG ISLAND.
AND THEN THERE'S THE FOLLOWUP
WITH THE CALL FOR MORE ETHICS
REFORM COMING IN ALBANY.
THE LAST TIME THAT HAPPENED,
NOTHING PASSED THROUGH THE
LEGISLATURE.
IS THERE A CHANCE THAT THIS TIME
SOMETHING COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN
ON THE ETHICS FRONT?
>> I WOULDN'T BET ON IT.
YOU HAVE SOME RETRIALS, THEY
WERE VERY HIGH-PROFILE TRIALS IN
RECENT YEARS AND NOTHING MAJOR
HAPPENED AS A RESULT OF THOSE.
I THINK IT'S REALLY, IF FOLKS
ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION NOW,
THEY'RE NOT GOING TO VOTE PEOPLE
OUT OF OFFICE.
NOT HOW MUCH IS GOING TO CHANGE.
>> IT'S IRONIC THAT GOVERNOR
CUOMO SUGGESTED IT WAS RUSSIAN
TROLLS PUTTING CYNTHIA NIXON UP
FOR HER RUN FOR GOVERNOR.
BUT THERE HAVE BEEN ARTICLES
WRITTEN THAT THERE ACTUALLY WERE
RUSSIANS TRYING TO INTERFERE
WITH SUPPRESSING THE ELECTORATE
IN BUFFALO AND KEEPING PEOPLE
FROM GETTING OUT TO THE POLLS
POLLS.
WE KNOW AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL
THERE'S BEEN A HANDS-OFF
APPROACH TO THIS.
BUT IS THERE ANYTHING AT THE
STATE LEVEL TO KEEP THIS KIND OF
MEDDLING FROM HAPPENING IN NEW
YORK?
>> THERE HAVE BEEN SOME THINGS,
HE'S SAYING LOOK, WE NEED TO
PROTECT AGAINST THIS.
THERE IS LEGISLATION PENDING IN
ALBANY THAT MIGHT STRENGTHEN THE
STATE'S ABILITIES TO COMBAT
THIS.
>> WELL, JONATHAN, I WANT TO
THANK YOU AGAIN FOR JOINING US
ON THE PROGRAM AND HELPING TO
GUIDE US THROUGH THE SEEMINGLY
ENDLESS QUAGMIRE OF NEW YORK
STATE POLITICS.