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Guilty verdicts in Buffalo Billion trial

A federal jury in New York has convicted key players of corruption in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" economic redevelopment program.

ALBANY — Alain Kaloyeros, who oversaw some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top economic-development projects as president of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute, was convicted Thursday of illegally steering hundreds of millions of dollars worth of state-funded contracts to allies of the governor.

A Manhattan federal jury found Kaloyeros guilty of two counts of wire fraud and one count of wire fraud conspiracy after two days of deliberation, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for New York's Southern District.

Louis Ciminelli, the former president of Buffalo-based contractor LPCiminelli, and COR Development's Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi were also found guilty Thursday.

LPCiminelli received a $750 million contract to build a solar-panel manufacturing facility in Buffalo, which was the centerpiece of Cuomo's Buffalo Billion economic-development program.

COR, which is based near Syracuse, received a $115 million contract to build a film hub and light manufacturing plant in central New York.

Kaloyeros, Ciminelli, Aiello and Gerardi were all convicted after a 3 1/2 week trial at the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse in Manhattan.

Aiello and Ciminelli were convicted of wire fraud conspiracy and wire fraud, while Gerardi was convicted of the same plus a false statement charge.

Kaloyeros built SUNY Poly from its humble beginnings as a small nanoscience college in Albany to overseer of major high-tech facilities in Albany, Utica, Buffalo, Rochester and beyond.

He will face sentencing in October.

Cuomo, a Democrat, was not accused of any legal wrongdoing.

Jim Heaney with Investigative Post started looking into the Buffalo Billion in 2014.

"I got my hands on the RFP, the RFP showed a fifty year requirement for a developer, only one company met that eligibility," said Heaney.

That company was LPCiminelli.

Heaney told 2 On Your Side where he thinks the case will go from here.

"I think the first step's going to be appeals, you know, there's always appeals. I think the most interesting part of the testimony had to do with how the Governor's office installed Todd Howe in Kaloyeros' office to be the Governor's eyes and ears. That, to me, draws a direct line between the Governor's office and Kaloyeros through Todd Howe, and to me it's implausible that the Governor's people would not be, at a minimum, aware of what was going on, if not orchestrating it themselves," says Heaney.

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