For the first time, it has become clear that AG Andrew Cuomo’s pay-to-play pension fund investigation has extended to include activities undertaken during the tenure of the current state comptroller, and Cuomo’s potential statewide ticket mate this fall, Tom DiNapoli.

During a telephone press conference this morning, Cuomo and his special counsel, Linda Lacewell, confirmed an April 5, 2007 meeting between Global Strategy Group’s Jon Silvan, a partner from Intermedia (a private equity investment firm seeking pension fund investments) and a MirRam Executive and DiNapoli at his Manhattan office is part of the AG’s probe.

The meeting was referenced in the settlement between Global and the AG in which the firm agreed to pay $2 million for acting as an unlicensed placement agent.

“In the investigation we investigate facts not people,” Lacewell said. “We’re pursuing the facts of the case. Those facts that we’re reviewing and trying to understand include the facts and circumstances of what is set forth in that agreement and that meeting.”

When pressed by the DN’s Ken Lovett as to whether this indicates the AG’s office is indeed “looking into possible improprieties in the current comptroller’s office,” Lacewell replied: “As a matter of logic.”

Later in the call, Cuomo pointedly refused to say that he supports DiNapoli’s campaign to retain the seat to which he was elevated by his former Assembly colleagues in February 2007 following the Chauffeurgate-related resignation of former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi in December 2006.

“The politics and the work of this office do not mix well,” Cuomo said. “…So, I work very hard to keep them separate…The politics we will deal with at a time down the road.”

“The investigation of the comptroller’s office has been proceeding for many years. The investigation predated Mr. DiNapoli’s tenure and, as Ms. Lacewell said, the investigation is about situations. In this case, it’s about a meeting and participant at a meeting and what happened in that situation.”

Cuomo has long been beating the drum to end the sole trusteeship of the pension fund – the chief power of the comptroller’s office – and replace it with a board oversight system. However, he has never before gone this far in seeking to relegate DiNapoli to the political sidelines.

As for his relationship with Global, Cuomo acknowledged that he had used the firm for his successful 2006 AG campaign, but insisted he has “no relationship” with them since. He also said that Global partner and pollster Jef Pollock was the firm’s primary point person on that race.

GSG AOD