The former president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute and three real estate developers and close confidants of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have been found guilty on fraud and conspiracy charges in connection to rigging bids regarding the Buffalo Billion construction project, which is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Alain Kaloyeros, a former member of the Cuomo administration, was convicted of all three counts against him in court, including conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud this week. Three of Kaloyeros’ co-conspirators, upstate real estate developers Louis Ciminelli, Steven Aiello and Joe Gerardi, were also convicted on similar charges.
According to Geoffrey Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Kaloyeros conspired with the three developers to deceive Fort Schuyler Management, a state-funded organization that awards state contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, by rigging the bidding process so the contracts would be awarded to them.
Kaloyeros oversaw the application process for many of the grants, and retained infamous lobbyist Todd Howe - who recently made national news as the disgraced star witness in a corruption case against fellow Cuomo crony Joseph Percoco - to help identity developers for the projects.
The group was found guilty of “working together to deceive Fort Schuyler by, among other things, secretly tailoring the required qualifications for those development deals so that (they) would be awarded contracts in Syracuse and Buffalo without any meaningful competition, while falsely representing to Fort Schuyler that the bidding process was fair, open, and competitive.”
Each of the four men were convicted of charges that include conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. Gerardi was also convicted of making false statements. Each of them face at least 20 years in prison when they are sentenced in October, though appeals are anticipated.
Berman offered a lengthy statement about justice following the convictions of the former Cuomo associates.
“The inscription, ‘The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government,’ is set in stone in the New York County courthouse. Those words have never been more poignant for the citizens of New York, as in quick succession less than four months apart they have seen this Office secure convictions in separate prosecutions against the State Assembly Speaker, a close confidant and executive aide to the governor, and now the president of SUNY Polytech, the executive leading the expansive ‘Buffalo Billion’ initiative.
“The guiding principle of the Southern District holds that true justice can only be achieved through independence from politics or influence, and that has never been more important than today. I commend the career prosecutors of our Public Corruption unit for their enduring commitment to true justice in our government.”
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