The closed-door deal would benefit the employer of Governor Hochul’s husband in an apparent violation of the Public Officers Law, as critics raise questions about the administration’s ties to the controversial lobbying firm Bolton St. Johns.
New York, NY — April 2, 2022 — The Republican nominee for New York State Attorney General, Michael Henry, is calling on the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) to investigate Governor Kathy Hochul’s dealings with the Buffalo Bills and its stadium concession contractor, Delaware North.
Delaware North employs Hochul’s husband, William C. Hochul. Hochul serves as the general counsel and senior vice president at the multi-billion dollar concessionaire and casino operator. The company operates vending, dining, and box services at the stadium.
Henry is also calling for an investigation into Hochul’s top aide, Karen Persichilli Keogh, whose husband works as a lobbyist for Bolton St. Johns — the powerful Albany law firm that was founded by Giorgio DeRosa, the father of Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa.
DeRosa has long been considered the ‘puppetmaster’ of the Cuomo administration. He was Lou Ciminelli‘s lobbyist on the now-infamous Buffalo Billion program — which sent seven people to prison, including high-profile figures in the Cuomo administration.
The deal violates Governor Hochul’s own recusal memorandum filed with JCOPE and further appears to breach Section 74 of the Public Officers Law.
“Under one-party control, we no longer have an Attorney General willing to call out the apparent broad daylight corruption occurring on her ticker. Today, I am requesting that JCOPE open a full investigation into the violations of the Public Officers Law in relation to the secret Buffalo Bills deal,” Henry said.
Three days before the April 1st budget deadline, Governor Hochul announced a $1.4 billion deal to construct a new Bills stadium in Orchard Park. It came one day after she froze Seneca Nation bank accounts, which tribal leaders describe as extortion and ransom money, relating to an unresolved gaming dispute, leaving residents living on the Seneca Nation’s reservations without access to money for food and necessities.
DeRosa has been lobbying Hochul to freeze those bank accounts, despite being hired by the Seneca Nation to represent their interests as a lobbyist. Several Seneca political figures are calling that behavior honest services fraud and want the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of Justice to investigate.