Two of Gov. Cuomo’s top female aides, who’ve covered for him during a snowballing sexual harassment scandal, have family ties to high-powered lobbyists whose firms rake in millions of dollars lobbying the governor and those in his orbit.
Cuomo’s powerful secretary, Melissa DeRosa, is married to Matthew Wing, Cuomo’s former press secretary, who now serves as a top communications exec for Uber. Her father, Giorgio DeRosa, is a partner and chief Albany lobbyist for the influential Bolton St. Johns firm. Brother Joseph and sister Jessica also work at the firm.
Not to be outdone, Andrew’s current Chief of staff Jill DesRosiers, is the life partner of Harry Giannoulis, president and co-founder of the Parkside Group — another Empire State lobbying giant.
Here’s a thumbnail preview of how just some of the money flowed.
“The DeRosa Connection”- According to filings with the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), in 2019 and 2020, Matthew Wing’s Uber spent more than $1.1 million lobbying in New York, including “direct” talks with Cuomo.
The family’s good fortune continued with daddy’s firm making big bucks while shilling for some of America’s most powerful corporations. The Durst Organization paid $60,000; United Airlines $30,000, and Pfizer $33,000 to lobby Cuomo’s office.
“The DesRosiers Connection”- Giannoulis’ Parkside Group likewise cashed in on their primo connections inside the executive mansion. Fanduel, a sports betting company, dropped at least $52,500 in 2020 for an exhaustive slate of lobbying services, which included “direct lobbying” of Cuomo’s office and his executive chamber.
Another A-list client, the energy investment firm LS Power Associates, cut Parkside a $75,000 check to directly lobby Cuomo’s executive council and his office. Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association dropped $35,850 and $32,700 respectively for access to the governor’s inner circle.
In a statement, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi dismissed any criticism as “sexist and offensive.” He refused to speak about his boss’ potential conflicts of interest. Of course.
As parents, siblings, and partners got rich, both DeRosa and DesRosiers went all out to protect their boss. But we’re to believe there’s nothing to see here.
John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany has a very different take. “People are married to, and the children of, top lobbyists. So the potential for conflicts of interest abound. The sexual harassment accusations are really just a facet of an overall abuse of power. It’s just part of it.”
We’re strongly leaning toward Mr. Kaehny’s take on what may be another budding Cuomo scandal. And why wouldn’t we?