Nine officials, including SUNY Polytechnic Institute president Alain Kaloyeros and a onetime top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are charged criminally in what federal prosecutors say are two overlapping fraud and bribery schemes related to signature Cuomo-administration economic development initiatives.
Kaloyeros, a key figure in the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics initiative in Rochester, has been relieved of his duties, state officials said Thursday. One of the nine, a consultant linked to Kaloyeros, has entered a guilty plea.
The photonics initiative “remains a strong priority for our community. I expect it to move forward based upon the strength of its economic development potential and its many public and private partners,” said Robert Duffy, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.
Duffy had served as lieutenant governor during Cuomo’s first term.
“If the allegations are true, I am saddened and profoundly disappointed. I hold my administration to the highest level of integrity,” Cuomo said. “This sort of breach, if true, should be and will be punished.”
The indictments, handed up on charges brought by Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, center on alleged bribes related to Cuomo’s signature Buffalo Billion program and state contract awards.
In one alleged scheme, Joseph Percoco, a former Cuomo administration executive deputy secretary, is charged with taking bribes totaling $315,000 in exchange for state boons extended to energy company Competitive Power Ventures, and a Syracuse development firm, COR Development. Charged along with Percoco are energy company official Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr., and two executives of the COR Development, Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi.
In the second alleged scheme, Aiello and Gerardi are alleged to have cooperated with three officers of a Buffalo company LPCiminelli Inc.—Louis Ciminelli, Michael Laipple and Kevin Schuler—to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to a consultant hired by Kaloyeros to administer Buffalo Billion initiative.
The Buffalo Billions consultant, Todd Howe, and Kaloyeros conspired to rig bids in the alleged schemes, prosecutors claim. Howe is cooperating with the government.
Howe has pled guilty to fraud and bribery charges related to both schemes, Bharara said. Kaloyeros is charged with wire fraud.
The charges and Howe’s pleas “shine a light on yet another sordid side of the show-me-the money culture that has so plagued Albany. Corruption and fraud allegedly infected signature state development projects like the Buffalo Billion program,” Bharara said.
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