NY Thruway Authority Nominee Is Big Cuomo Campaign Donor

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(New York, NY - WNYC) Governor Andrew Cuomo is tapping real estate and banking mogul Howard Milstein to be chairman of the New York State Thruway Authority, an unpaid position. The Governor says Milstein, who has no previous experience in running a transportation agency, was tapped for his business acumen.

Milstein has been a generous contributor to the governor's re-election campaign.

In the past, governors have frequently appointed campaign contributors and fundraisers to run state authorities or serve on authority boards.

While running for Governor last year, Cuomo had promised to end "business as usual" in Albany and reform the state capital's notoriously porous ethical practices. Indeed, Cuomo is believed to be hammering out a deal right now to close some of the loopholes.

Milstein made 42 contributions in the last five years to candidates from both parties, according to state records. The largest were two $25,000 contributions to Andrew Cuomo's 2014 campaign.

The governor routinely announces his political appointments with a press release. But he nominated Milstein earlier this month with no public notice. The Buffalo News first reported the nomination.

If confirmed by the New York State Senate, Milstein will preside over the authority's nearly billion dollar annual budget, which is used to operate thruways, bridges and canals.

Milstein is president and CEO of Emigrant Savings Bank. Forbes magazine estimated his family wealth in 2010 at $3.8 billion.