Great job exposing this, Propublica! And yes, any politician, regardless of political party, can be brought and paid for and lose his or her integrity.
FYI: Zephyr Teachout who is constitutional law professor and organizer is running against Cuomo. She co-founded A New Way Forward, an organization built to break up the power of big banks. It will be interesting..
Howard Glaser was brought on to help then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo on his mortgage industry investigation. Glaser was working for the industry at the same time.
A version of this story was co-published with the Albany Times-Union.
In early 2007, when he was New York State attorney general, Andrew Cuomo brought on a longtime confidant as a consultant on mortgage industry investigations, a move that has gone undisclosed until now.
Glaser, who went on to become a top state official in Cuomo’s gubernatorial administration, was operating a lucrative consulting firm, the Glaser Group, with a host of mortgage industry clients.
Later that year, Glaser provided insights on Cuomo’s investigations to industry players on a conference call hosted by an investment bank.
Cuomo’s office ended up giving immunity to one of Glaser’s clients a year into his term as attorney general.
In the end, experts say, the mortgage investigations Cuomo touted as “wide-ranging” came to little, even as he held one of the country’s most powerful prosecutorial positions through the financial crisis and its aftermath.
Glaser’s role in the attorney general’s investigations was disclosed to ProPublica in response to a public records request. The extent of his work is unclear, as is how long it lasted. Glaser told ProPublica the scope of the work was limited. While it was a formal arrangement, it was unpaid.
Cuomo’s office referred questions to Steven Cohen, who was chief of staff when Cuomo was attorney general. “There is no doubt Glaser provided advice to the governor when he was attorney general,” said Cohen. “The role he served was as a general consultant on the industry overall. He did not provide advice on specific investigations.”
Glaser also said that, despite the investment bank conference call, he never advised clients on Cuomo investigations.
One person who worked in the mortgage industry during that time said Glaser had a reputation as having Cuomo’s ear.
“If you needed to get to Cuomo, Glaser was the guy to go to,” the person said.
Before becoming a lobbyist for the mortgage industry, Glaser worked in the late 1990s under Cuomo at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he was known as Cuomo’s “right-hand man” and “hammer.”
Glaser declined to release a list of his clients from the period he worked for the attorney general.