The Cordo firm’s most recent filing with the state’s Public Integrity Commission lists Cunningham and Cordo as the new lobbyists for Genting, the Asian gaming company that won the scandal-ridden and extraordinarily lucrative Aqueduct casino contract. SKDKnickerbocker , a public relations firm where Cunningham also works, is now also handling press inquiries for Genting, an indication, perhaps, that the big spenders can smell the perfume.

Chris Del Giudice, the son of Mario Cuomo’s former secretary and Andrew’s current top policy adviser, Mike Del Giudice, recently joined Wilson Elser, the firm that always takes first place in the New York Public Interest Group’s annual revenue and campaign contribution rankings. So did Jerry Jennings, the son of Albany’s mayor, another reliable Cuomo ally. Wilson Elser, which hosted two receptions for Cuomo since 2008 and gave $68,856 to him, did an intimate fundraiser for him last fall in the ninth-floor conference room at its Albany office. Then Cuomo went to the Fort Orange Club, the gothic, wood-paneled, male-and-pale deal mausoleum, where he was introduced by the senior Jennings to an overflowing crowd of handlers and wirepullers.

In fact, it’s stunning how many leftovers from the Mario days are lobbyists and major Andrew donors now—Tonio Burgos, Jerry Weiss, Rick Ostroff, Pat Brown and his partner, David Weinraub. James Featherstonhaugh, the legendary 66-year-old dean of Albany lobbyists who represented Mario Cuomo personally in civil litigation, and was subsequently represented by Mario’s law firm,  has taken on an Andrew aide, Frank Hoare, as a new partner. Burgos was Mario’s appointments secretary, and Weiss created the law firm Andrew ended up joining. Brown was a highly respected senior counsel to Mario Cuomo for many years. Weinraub and Ostroff, now at competing lobbying firms, ran intergovernmental affairs for Mario. This pack from the past combined to donate $213,080 to Andrew’s coffers since 2008.

Hank Sheinkopf
Hank Sheinkopf
Caleb Ferguson

Charlie King, the former top aide to Andrew at HUD who took a leave from his own two small lobbying outfits to serve as Cuomo’s executive director of the state party during this campaign, may return to his companies or to Bolton St. John’s, one of the state’s premier firms where he once worked. King was Andrew’s running mate in his failed 2002 bid for governor, and partnered for years with Al Sharpton, who has functioned as a lobbyist in David Paterson’s Albany without registering as one, collecting hundreds of thousands in state-connected donations to the National Action Network that he and King ran. King is a Cuomo and Sharpton loyalist, well positioned to become one of Albany’s most significant minority lobbyists.

The other “Al,” former Republican senator Al D’Amato, has tried to position himself as a key Cuomo ally, denouncing Carl Paladino as “not fit” to serve at the outset of the general election campaign. D’Amato sees himself as the kingmaker in picking the next GOP state chair after the election, and as an intermediary between Cuomo and the new Senate Republican majority. He hung on to his Republican credentials by loudly championing Dan Donovan, the party’s losing candidate for attorney general, even as he embraced Cuomo and Kirsten Gillibrand, the Democratic senator whose father, Doug Rutnik, is an Albany lobbyist himself and a longtime D’Amato and Featherstonhaugh sidekick.

D’Amato recruited former Staten Island Congressman Vito Fossella as a new partner in his Park Strategies lobbying firm at the same time that Fossella was featuring Paladino, rather than Rick Lazio, at a pre-primary rally in Staten Island against the so-called Ground Zero mosque. That September 11 appearance, combined with the timing of D’Amato’s post-primary denunciations of Paladino, may be the best indicators that Cuomo wanted to face Paladino, a deck D’Amato helped stack.

When D’Amato was in the senate and was the state’s official top Republican, and Mario Cuomo was the state’s top Democrat, the two had what Senator Patrick Moynihan called “a nonaggression pact,” with D’Amato serving up weak Republican challengers for governor in 1986 and 1990. As the unofficial leader of the party now, whose connections help bankroll it, D’Amato may hope to use that leverage to establish a similar tie to the son.

The D’Amato firm’s stable of prominent Republicans includes the son of Congressman Peter King (a potential formidable Cuomo opponent), the ex- Erie County executive Joel Giambra, and Fossella, whose career was undercut by the DUI-related revelations of a second, Washington-area, family. While D’Amato, who was once famously paid $500,000  for a single call to a state official, is not listed as a Cuomo donor. But his partners gave $9000, and D’Amato hosted a Cuomo fundraiser. D’Amato has also long been closely tied to another lobbying firm, Mercury Public Affairs, and one of its principals, Michael McKeon, ran Cuomo’s outreach effort to Republicans.

Mel Miller, the former Democratic Assembly speaker, recently joined D’Amato’s firm as special counsel. Miller sold his firm, Bolton St. John’s, to the staff a couple of years ago. He’d already established a strong D’Amato relationship by recruiting Armand D’Amato, the senator’s brother, as Bolton’s general counsel years earlier. Armand left Bolton to join Park Strategies in 2004, and now the D’Amatos have returned the favor.

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