FBI probe into Cuomo’s hiring sparks $1.2 million legal contract

ALBANY — A law firm hired by the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in 2016 amid the sprawling “Buffalo Billion” investigation received a $1.2 million contract extension in February.

But the original purpose for contracting with the criminal defense firm has quietly morphed. It’s now being used to pay the pricey legal bills for a different criminal probe that’s gotten far less attention: An FBI investigation of the Executive Chamber’s hiring practices.

In December 2017, the Times Union reported on the existence of the FBI probe into the Cuomo administration’s practice of placing new Executive Chamber hires on the payrolls of various state agencies and public authorities. The practice obscures the true size and cost of the Executive Chamber staff.

Two years ago, the FBI was in the midst of interviewing Executive Chamber staffers hired in that manner as part of the probe. A Cuomo spokesman at the time dismissed the FBI inquiry as “absurd” and noted that governors had for decades engaged in the practice. Since late 2017, little more has been revealed about the FBI investigation.

Times Union – Capital Dist.

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