Congressman Tom Reed is calling on the United States Department of Justice to investigate Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s dealings with the Seneca Nation of Indians. Reed thinks that, by withholding federal funds with such obvious malice against the Nation, the Governor is using federal monies for political purposes.
Reed is concerned that the conditions of the roadway present such a significant threat to public safety that it must be fixed immediately. But Governor Cuomo’s behavior, he suggests, constitutes a misuse of federal funds and is an abuse of power.
“Governor Cuomo is exacting political revenge on the Seneca Nation at the peril of public safety. The federal funds have been delivered to repair the Seneca Nation portion of I-90, and it is time to fix the road before someone dies,” Reed wrote to Facebook followers this afternoon.
“I have requested the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the Governor and his office for the misuse of federal funds, the abuse of power and any and all other federal crimes, related or unrelated, uncovered in this investigation,” he explained.
Early in his first term, Governor Cuomo helped Delaware North Companies effectively defraud the Senecas of gaming exclusivity rights, stealing in effect more than a billion dollars in lost revenue. The Nation at the time withheld the exclusivity payments until the Governor agreed to extend the term of the Compact — which he did, without reading the agreement.
That Agreement ended exclusivity payments in 2014, but exclusivity had been effectively defrauded of the Nation many years before that.
Many observers suspect that political operatives inside the Governor’s office improperly influenced the arbitration process that was engaged in earlier this year, and is currently pending in the federal courts.
In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, Reed explains that is concerned for the safety of the traveling public along the stretch of Interstate 90 which runs through the Seneca Nation.
“From the public’s view, this appears to be nothing more than the Governor exacting political revenge on the Seneca Nation at the peril of public safety. The federal funds have been delivered to repair the road, and it is time to fix the road before someone dies,” he writes.
Reed’s office cites Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul‘s recent public statements concerning his decision not to repair the Thruway, explicitly blaming the unrelated political dispute over gaming revenue.
“The dangerous conditions of disrepair on this stretch of the Thruway is a threat to the safety and property of all who use it — including thousand of Chautauqua County residents and our neighbors on the Seneca Nation,” Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello has said in public statements.