Investigators rumored to be ‘probing’ top Cuomo aide, Melissa DeRosa

Governor Andrew Cuomo with Melissa DeRosa at an editorial board meeting with The New York Times.

A source familiar with investigations initiated under former United States Attorney Preet Bharara has told The Chronicle that there is an “ongoing probe” of Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s top aide and her family.

This week, Chief of Staff Melissa DeRosa has been promoted to the position of Secretary to the Governor, Cuomo’s top aide — a position formerly held by the indicted political enforcer Joe Percoco, Cuomo’s longtime friend and confidant.

DeRosa, 34, is the daughter of Giorgio DeRosa, called “the best lobbyist in town” by the Albany Times-Union, and the senior partner of the Albany-based lobbying firm Bolton St. Johns. Giorgio is credited with securing several major procurement projects. He led the industry effort to deregulate the state’s telecommunications laws, and secured $20 million for a soccer stadium in Rochester.

Prior to joining Bolton-St. Johns, Giorgio was Legislative and Political Director for the 55,000-member Public Employees Federation (PEF), where he handled contract negotiations for the union and ‘restructured’ the PEF PAC. He began his career working as a political and union organizer, and once served as District Director for Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.

The New York Times reports that DeRosa operates her own political consulting firm.  Following her graduation from Cornell University in 2004, DeRosa worked as a lobbyist for Bolton St. Johns from 2005 to 2006.   Her brother, Joseph DeRosa, currently works at the firm.

From February 2011 to March 2013 she served as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Attorney General before being hired by Cuomo in April 2013 as Director of Communications.

The ‘probe,’ as the source describes it, stems from ‘candid email exchanges’ recovered in the 2015 raid of the home of G. Steven Pigeon.  Two Bolton St. Johns lobbyists are longtime Pigeon associates: Jack O’Donnell, the son of State Supreme Court Judge John O’Donnell and former US Attorney Denise O’Donnell; and Camille Brandon, whose husband works for State Senator Tim Kennedy.

Kennedy contributed $87,000 to the WNY Progressive Caucus, a fundraising vehicle that is alleged to have engaged in flagrant violations of the state’s campaign finance law.  Pigeon and two associates, Kristy Mazurek and David Pfaff, were recently indicted for illegal campaign coordination.

DeRosa is married to Matthew Wing, who currently works as Corporate Communications Lead at Uber. He served in communications roles inside the Cuomo administration from October 2011 to November 2014.  When the two were married in 2013, United States District Court Judge Jed Rakoff officiated.

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