Gov. Cuomo’s $750 Million $olar Bust Would Have Been Better Spent on 20,000 Ventilators


On Tuesday Gov. Andrew Cuomo upped the ante in his call for more ventilators for New York.  The latest number is now 30,000 and he’s pressuring the feds to deliver, claiming they should release the 20,000 machines they have in reserve.  “It’s a matter of life and death,” says he.

President Trump, who’s been very accommodating towards Cuomo, promptly meeting virtually all of his realistic requests, seemed appropriately put off by this latest call out.  The president, in relatively gentle terms, pointed out that the governor had the opportunity to purchase 16,000 ventilators “for a very good price” in 2015 and failed to do so.

We say gently because if push comes to shove, Trump can apply some very simple math to highlight how $750 million spent on Cuomo’s scandal-plagued “Buffalo Billion” solar power scheme, is not the federal government’s fault and would have been better spent buying critical equipment.

First, corruption:

In July of 2018, Four men accused of rigging bids in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” program to revitalize upstate New York were convicted of all charges against them.  They included Albany scientist, former administration “rock star” Alain Kaloyeros, who Cuomo tapped to help him build in Buffalo and Syracuse.  Kaloyeros was convicted of conspiracy and 2 counts of wire fraud.

Also convicted were Kaloyeros’ three co-conspirators, all upstate developers: Louis Ciminelli, the ex-CEO of construction company LPCiminelli, and Steven Aiello and Joe Gerardi of Cor Development.

Kaloyeros steered the lucrative state contracts for projects in Buffalo and Syracuse to LPCiminelli and Cor Development.

In June of 2017, the Buffalo News reported,  “Backed by $750 million in taxpayer money, the nearly $1 billion factory is the centerpiece of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative and meant to be a beacon of hope for an economically depressed city.”

“So here’s the $750 million question:  When will Solar City deliver on its promise?”

The answer was never, really.

Second, The Application of Some Very Simple Math:

The governor had been warned in 2015 that, given a pandemic, New York’s stockpile of ventilators was 16,000 short. The purchase price then was around $36,000 per unit. Cuomo passed on those purchases, and instead tasked  NY health commissioner, Howard Zucker to assemble a task force and develop rules for rationing the machines they already had.

Right around that time, with things going from bad to worse in Buffalo, Andrew was shoveling hard-earned taxpayer money into the Solar City debacle. Now for some basic arithmetic.

If you take $750,000,000 and divide it by $36,000, you come up with about 20,000 ventilators that could have been added to New York State’s stockpile.  Gee, that’s the number he wants from the feds!

Perhaps if Governor Cuomo continues to poke President Trump on this matter, the prez will do a little long division of his own.  In which case Andrew could explain how gambling almost a billion dollars on a shaky solar scheme was a better use of New Yorker’s money than an investment in life-saving machinery.

A prudent, forward-thinking leader, back in 2015, heeding dire warnings, would have understood that the extra ventilators would, someday, be needed to save lives. Tragically that day is today, and it is very much “a matter of life and death.”

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