The players in state corruption case

Buffalo Billion: Ciminelli & others indicted in public corruption probe

ALBANY – How broad was Thursday's corruption case in New York? The nine defendants were appearing in federal courts in Buffalo, Syracuse and Manhattan.

A corruption-busting probe led to criminal charges Thursday against current and former state officials, upstate developers in Syracuse and Buffalo and an energy company executive building a power plant in Orange County.

"The charges in this complaint stem from two overlapping criminal schemes involving bribery, corruption and fraud in the award of hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts and other official state benefits," the criminal charges state.

Here's a look at the nine people charged:

Alain Kaloyeros

Known as "Dr. K," Kaloyeros has been the architect of the SUNY Poly empire that has expanded from the sprawling college in Albany to Buffalo, Syracuse, Utica and Rochester.

Kaloyeros has long been one of the highest paid state employees, bringing in close to $1 million annually.

The criminal complaint alleges that Kaloyeros oversaw the applications for private developers, Ciminelli in Buffalo and COR Development in Syracuse, and worked with Howe in "secretly tailoring" contracts for the two companies.

Joseph Percoco

At Mario Cuomo's funeral in January 2015, the current governor called Percoco "my father's third son, who I sometimes think he loved the most."

He was with Cuomo for decades: first working under him during Cuomo's days as federal housing and urban development secretary in the 1990s.

Percoco, who lives in South Salem, Westchester County, later served as one of Cuomo's top aides at the Capitol.

Percoco, who briefly left state office in 2014 to run Cuomo's re-election campaign, is accused of accepting $315,000 in bribes paid to him and his wife from companies that had business before the state.

That included money from COR and CPV, an energy company building an Orange County power plant.
Percoco's attorney called the charges "an overreach of classic proportions."

Todd Howe

Howe also had close ties to Cuomo, working as his deputy chief of staff at HUD.

He then served as president of WOH Government Solutions, the Washington-based subsidiary of Albany-based lobbying firm Whiteman Osterman & Hanna.

Howe is cooperating with federal prosecutors, but also faces his own eight-count indictment on corruption charges.

Howe is accused of serving as essentially the middle man in the whole scheme -- serving as a lobbyist for SUNY Poly and working with Percoco and the private firms.

Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr.

Kelly, known as "Braith," oversaw lobbying and public relations for Competitive Power Ventures, a Maryland-based firm that has been seeking to build a $900 million power plant in Orange County.

Percoco’s wife, meanwhile, listed receiving between $80,000 and $120,000 from an entity called Chris Pitts LLC in 2012 and 2014.

The LLC is associated with Competitive Power Ventures.

The complaint said Kelly arranged for more than $287,000 in "bribe payments from the energy company in exchange for Percoco's official assistance for the energy company's on an as-needed basis."

Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi

Aiello is the president of COR Development in Syracuse, and Gerardi is its general counsel.

The company in 2013 was picked by SUNY Poly's real-estate arm, Fort Schuyler Management, as the "preferred developer" for local projects.

The company then received two contracts: to build a $15 million film studio and to build a $90 million manufacturing plant in Syracuse.

They are accused of paying Percoco $35,000 in "exchange for Percoco's assistance for the Syracuse developer on an as-needed basis."

Louis Ciminelli, Michael Laipple and Kevin Schuler

Ciminelli is the the founder of LPCiminelli, one of the largest construction firms in Buffalo.

Laipple and Schuler are two top executives there.

The company also received "preferred developer" status through Fort Schuyler as part of the Buffalo Billion, which is Cuomo's $1 billion effort to revitalize the state's largest upstate city.

The complaint alleges that the three company officials provided "bribe payments" to Howe and then benefited from SUNY Poly contracts -- specifically $750 million for Buffalo's Riverbend project.

"Howe worked with Kaloyeros to deceive Fort Schuyler by secretly tailoring the required qualifications for those development deals so that the Syracuse developer and the Buffalo developer would be awarded the contracts, in Syracuse and Buffalo, respectively, without any meaningful competition," the complaint states.

Beginning in 2014, our partner, Investigative Post, has tried to obtain records/information on the process of awarding contracts, but were refused.   You can watch our previous stories here: 


 


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