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In N.Y., Changes To Bidding In Response To Scandals Will Be Delayed

Mike Groll
In October construction work was ongoing at the Riverbend high tech manufacturing site in Buffalo, N.Y., as part of the Buffalo Billion investment project.

Recommendations on how to go forward with some of Governor Cuomo’s economic development contracts tainted by scandal have been delayed for another few weeks, says Howard Zemsky, Buffalo businessman and the governor’s economic development chair.

Zemsky is trying to pick up the pieces after nine criminal complaints have been issued against two former Cuomo associates, including a top former aide, along with the former head of SUNY Polytechnic, who oversaw the contracts for the Buffalo Billion and other projects.  

Zemsky, in an interview with public radio and television, says some contracts may need to be rebid, but won’t say which ones. He says some vendors chosen by SUNY Poly as a “preferred supplier” where the contract has not been finalized, might be scrapped for other arrangements.

But he defends the governor’s economic development programs and says the “vast majority” of the programs will be completed, though he admits there’s a cloud hanging over it all.

“I know what it’s like when somebody does something wrong and kind of casts a shadow,” Zemsky said. “Or someone potentially does something wrong, and that kind of casts a shadow on a lot of good work by a lot of good people.”

Zemsky says the new rules and changes that he says will prevent corruption in the future will be out in time for the next Empire State Development board meeting in mid-November.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.