A Federal jury in New York convicted has important players such as Steven Aiello, left, corruption in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Buffalo billion” economic reconstruction program. Alain Kaloyeros, the former President of the State University of New York, Polytechnic Institute, right, was charged with bid-rigging in the revitalization program. (AP Photo/Seth Little / Mary Altaffer)
A Federal jury in New York convicted the key players on Thursday on charges related to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Buffalo billion” economic-reconstruction-program, so that some lawyers grumble outside court that it was a bad time to face allegations of corruption.
The jury in Manhattan gave its verdict after a monthlong trial put a spotlight on how lucrative contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars were awarded for the rehabilitation of projects to revitalize upstate New York, especially Syracuse and Buffalo.
“We are absolutely heartsick about the verdict,” said Michael Miller, a lawyer Alain Kaloyeros, previously the President of the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute.
Prosecutors said Kaloyeros to win arranged for a Buffalo developer Louis Ciminelli, and his company, LPCiminelli, a development Jobs in Buffalo in the value of a half a billion dollars.
Kaloyeros, praised Cuomo for his ability to high-tech jobs to Albany, and counted by government officials to repeat the success of the Buffalo billion project.
The charges in connection with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Buffalo billion” economic-reconstruction-program.
Prosecutors received the tender are corrupt, and the offers were directed to favored developers. A criminal lawyer said it was.
As the guilty verdicts foreman were read by the jury, Ciminelli shook his head. Kaloyeros looked down.
“I’m just speechless,” Ciminelli’s lawyer, Paul Shechtman, told his clients outside the courtroom.
He referred to his client as “a very, very good man.”
Prosecutors said Kaloyeros arranged for Ciminelli to win, and his company, LPCiminelli, a development Jobs in Buffalo in the value of a half a billion dollars.
They said two other developers and co-defendant, Steven Aiello, 60, and Joe Gerardi, 58, unfairly won a $100 million job in Syracuse. The men are executives of Syracuse-based cor development.
All four defendants were convicted on all counts.
Kaloyeros was fraud for conspiracy to commit wire and two counts of wire fraud. Aiello was charged with conspiracy to commit wire and wire fraud. Gerardi was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making a false statement. Ciminelli was fraud for conspiracy to commit wire and wire fraud.
It was unclear how much prison time were to bear the fees probably. Conspiracy to commit wire fraud alone carries a potential sentence of 20 years in prison.
Stephen Coffey, a lawyer for Aiello, said outside court that he was “shocked by this verdict. Guilty at all.”
He blamed the current political climate and assumptions about civil servants and business people who work with them.
“These are not good times to try this case,” Coffey said.
Cuomo, a Democrat, had praised Kaloyeros, which led many to lure of Cuomo’s efforts in high-tech investments in the Hinterland. Cuomo once Kaloyeros referred to as his “economic guru” and the Governor asked him to appear at the announcement of the various economic development projects.
After the verdict, Cuomo a star gave a statement: “The jury has spoken and justice has been done. There is no tolerance for those who try to promote cheating the system to can, your own, personal interests. Who has committed such an egregious act should be punished to the full extent of the law.”
Cuomo was not charged in the case or accused of any wrongdoing, but the attempt is marred, that a program had the Governor made a centerpiece of his efforts, the lifting of the upstate economy.
Prosecutors said Kaloyeros was part of a plot to secretly make it easier for developers have been gaining big contributors to Cuomo’s campaigns, lucrative contracts.
Ciminelli and others in his company wore nearly $100,000 Cuomo’s campaign, while COR executives and their families $125,000 contributed to Cuomo’s 2014 re-election campaign.
Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging Cuomo in September put the primaries in question Cuomo not insist that he knew about Kaloyeros’ actions, saying that he either damaged”, or he is spectacularly incompetent.”
“Are we to believe that the master architect of the Governor’s economic development plan dealt almost a billion dollars, without the Governor’s knowledge or guidance?”, she said. “I don’t think. But if the Governor doesn’t really know what his top aides and the highest-paid public employees were to do, which is probably worse.”
Defense lawyers insisted during the monthlong study, the developers were given no advantages in the selection process for the Buffalo billion project, and that other future developers win each way to the jobs.
Sentencing dates were set for October.
Brian Kolb, the minority leader of the state Assembly, said the convictions are “business as usual” in Andrew Cuomo’s Albany,” and show the two-term Governor did not address New York state’s chronic corruption problem, even if it is within his own administration.
“Friends, the favors, the campaign accounts of fat, and the taxpayers get the bill,” he said. “Change in Albany is long overdue. Despite the governor’s prior to a couple of auditions, the corruption has more and more frequently at his watch.”
A watchdog group, the New York Public Interest Research Group, called for an immediate special session of the legislature to consider ethics reforms that have been long stalled in Albany. They include stricter limits on campaign contributions, a robust ethics enforcement, and more transparency in spending by the state on economic development.
“The Governor’s failure to have meaningful reforms, coupled with the legislature with the inability to come to an agreement on his own, the mark you have chosen the failures of the state to fight the guide with endless scandals,” the group said in a statement.