The FBI stormed the residences of two allies linked to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the latest leg of the government’s probe into corruption charges entangling top Democrats in the state.
The New York Post reported Monday:
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Agents carted off evidence from the Westchester home of former top Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco and the Washington, D.C.-area home of lobbyist Todd Howe, who was fired last week after Cuomo’s office barred state officials from any contact with him, sources said. A Manhattan federal judge approved search warrants for at least three locations, and the raids were carried out two weeks ago, a law enforcement source said.
Cuomo’s office has said that the investigation surrounds "questions of improper lobbying and undisclosed conflicts of interest by some individuals which may have deceived state employees involved in the respective programs and may have defrauded the state," according to the New York Post.
Howe and Percoco are longtime aides to Cuomo and both served for his late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
The federal government is investigating Percoco to determine whether the former senior aide failed to disclose thousands of dollars in outside income he received from companies connected to Cuomo’s signature economic development program called Buffalo Billion.
Percoco allegedly became connected to the companies through Howe, who was formally the president of D.C.-based lobbying firm WOH Government Solutions before he was fired.
Howe's lawyer denied wrongdoing to the New York Post, arguing that he "received expert advice to ensure that the activities…were appropriate."
Both men have reportedly struggled financially.
The New York Post reported last week that Percoco secured an $800,000 mortgage for an $815,000 house in Westchester "through a shady lender with close ties to the state capitol."
Howe meanwhile has a history of negligent financial dealings, filing for bankruptcy in 2003 and amassing $400,000 in tax liens, according to the New York Times.