“Elon Musk’s behavior is causing taxpayers grave concern,” Independent Democrat says
Independent gubernatorial candidate Stephanie Miner is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to ‘come clean’ on his signature economic development project with Solar City, now part of Tesla. Secret lease modifications inserted sweepingly broad language that would make it easier for Tesla to break Solar City’s hiring commitments to New Yorkers, made quietly just ahead of the firms’ merger in late 2016.
Miner is demanding that Cuomo provides public testimony regarding his signature Buffalo Billion economic development program before the State Legislature’s Joint Commission On Public Ethics (JCOPE).
“Now that the criminal prosecutions of Joe Percoco and Lou Ciminelli are complete, it’s time for the State Legislature to do it’s own investigation into how this corruption in our public procurement could have happened – and to identify what steps the Legislature needs to take to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” Miner explains.
CEO Elon Musk’s erratic behavior in recent months is compounding Miner’s concerns.
In a settlement agreement last week, Musk agreed to pay a $20 million dollar fine and to relinquish the chairmanship of the firm for three years. He has been criticized for his inappropriate use of social media, appearing to smoke marijuana in a public interview, and making misleading statements that the SEC characterized as securities fraud.
“Elon’s troubling behavior is causing grave concern to New York taxpayers, who have invested so much hope, aspiration, and capital into this project. I have concerns about his judgment, and I have concerns about the Governor’s judgment,” Miner explains.
She contends that the fragile economic predicament is the product of the Administration’s politically motivated approach to development projects that rarely deliver promised job creation. The state should reform how it approaches ‘economic development’ – particularly the process of identifying, evaluating, and investing in potential projects – she argues.
When first elected, Cuomo took nearly unilateral control over the process of awarding economic development dollars with the launch of his ‘Regional Councils,’ in which political allies are appointed to a volunteer board that ‘identifies’ funding priorities. Economic development projects had been influenced more heavily by the Legislature under previous administrations, providing a crucial oversight role that has been lacking in recent years.
“Governor Cuomo runs New York the way that Elon Musk runs Tesla – and that should concern all of us,” Miner adds. “Just like Musk needs more Board oversight, Cuomo’s economic development apparatus needs more oversight from the State Legislators.”