April 22, 2008

Another Power Authority Fiasco

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is probing allegations that Daniel Wiese, a former top State Police official, used a Power Authority security contract to dig up dirt on the political foes of former Govs. Eliot Spitzer and George Pataki, The Post has learned.

At least "several hundred" individuals were investigated under the contract, and Cuomo's probers are seeking to determine if every investigation was part of legitimate Power Authority business, sources said.

"If a PA contract was used for political spying on anybody, people will be going to jail," a Power Authority source said.

Cuomo's ongoing criminal probe of the State Police - authorized by Gov. Paterson in the wake of the Dirty Tricks Scandal and claims by state lawmakers that they were also targeted - comes as aides to Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Rensselaer) were told separately that Wiese used a security contract to target political enemies.

Wiese, who has been suspended as the authority's inspector general, is a one-time State Police colonel and friend of Pataki's and Spitzer's. "We've been told that the contract was used to investigate people perceived as political enemies of former Govs. Pataki and Spitzer," said an aide to Bruno, who was targeted last summer by the State Police in a plot orchestrated by Spitzer and his top advisers.

"We were told by a Power Authority employee who really knows what's going on that, 'When you look at that security contract, you'll really hit the bull's-eye.' "

Investigators are focusing on a $656,000 contract awarded to Suffolk County-based CARCO Group Inc. - a major investigations and security firm once headed by former Police Commissioner William Bratton - on Wiese's recommendation in January 2006.

A Power Authority document shows that the contract was for "background investigation services."

Minutes of an authority meeting show the contract was supposed to be part of a post-9/11 effort to gather more detailed information on potential authority employees, as well as on authority contractors and their employees.

Repeated attempts to reach Wiese, a Pataki neighbor and longtime Spitzer associate who was a behind-the-scenes figure in the Dirty Tricks Scandal, were unsuccessful.

Wiese, stripped of his security clearance and state car earlier this month but allowed to keep his $180,000-a-year salary after the Power Authority received several subpoenas from Cuomo, recently hired a criminal defense lawyer, a source said.

The authority operates 18 electrical generating plants and controls the huge Niagara River/Niagara Falls hydro-electric complex in Western New York.

NY Post


Pete M said...

From the Buffalo News on 04/16..."ALBANY — State Sen. Dale Volker believes he was followed by someone in law enforcement last summer at the time Senate Republicans were beginning an investigation of a scheme by the former Spitzer administration to use the State Police to smear a top GOP lawmaker."

If a couple hundred people were targeted, maybe Volker was on to something.

Frank DeGeorge said...

I remember thinking Senator Bruno was a little whacky when he said the state police were tracking him but it turned out to be true. This is a huge scandal that involves governors from both parties and could blow up the statre police as we know them.

Anonymous said...

It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you.

dark knight said...

The Power Authority is one more of Robert Moses' authoritarian power grabs in New York State. It's time we remove his name from the Parkway and Power Plant and name them after people we should be proud of.

Anonymous said...

dark knight, forget renaming the RMP, just rip the darn thing out.

rob clark said...

Dark Knight, I couldn`t agree more