The Port Authority is pouring at least $4.1 billion into the renovation of La Guardia Airport’s main terminal. Gov. Cuomo first announced plans to redesign the terminal in October 2014 and the bi-state PA approved a lease with a public-private partnership to build and run the terminal in March.
Now, reports Aharon Short for the New York Post, Cuomo’s friends are circling the airport as the PA prepares to put out lucrative bids for the project that the public-private partnership will select.
One airport food vendor, OTG, wants to expand its restaurants, bars, and Wi-Fi services in the new terminal and add electronic gaming in the region’s airports, according to its SEC fillings.
The company hired former Cuomo secretary Larry Schwartz as its chief strategy officer in March 2015; retained lobbyist David Weinraub, a former legislative director under Gov. Mario Cuomo, and plans to add New York Racing Association chairman Michael Del Giudice, a former chief-of-staff to Mario Cuomo, to its board.
Another company, airport newstand retailer Hudson Group, hired Cuomo-connected lobbyist Todd Howe last year to help them promote and expand their business in the state, according to state ethics filings.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues are at stake when the PA selects its airport concessionaires, and Cuomo is in the middle of it, reports the Post.
“Cuomo likes to take control of a project, dump taxpayer money into it, and oddly enough, all the same people seem to be the beneficiaries of the contracts,” said GOP Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, according to the Post.
“We need to ensure that contracts are going to those who will do the best job for the taxpayer and not to people because of their relationships,” said Staten Island GOP Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.