Share this article

print logo

Timeline of Buffalo Billion and federal investigation

January 2012: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announces the Buffalo Billion program in his State of the State speech. It becomes the centerpiece of his efforts to revive the upstate economy.

October 2013: New York State advertises for company with “credentials, experience and capacity” to build a facility that state will own and lease to high-tech manufacturer.

November 2013: Cuomo administration commits $225 million – as part of the Buffalo Billion – to build clean energy manufacturing facility at old Republic Steel site. Dubbed RiverBend, Cuomo labels it a “game changer” for Western New York.

November 2013: Cuomo raises campaign funds in Buffalo at event hosted by developer Louis P. Ciminelli, president of LPCiminelli.

November 2013: Solar power manufacturer Silevo and LED light manufacturer Soraa commit to locate at RiverBend with hopes of attracting billions of dollars in investment and 850 jobs. Soraa later shifts to Syracuse.

January 2014: State selects LPCiminelli of Buffalo as construction contractor to build state-owned plant at RiverBend.

• June 2014: Elon Musk’s SolarCity buys Silevo, expanding the RiverBend project into one the world’s largest solar panel manufacturing facilities.

July 2014: LPCiminelli construction begins work on SolarCity complex. State investment grows to $750 million.

September 2014: Cuomo announces a 1.2 million-square-foot project will be built at RiverBend with SolarCity as the occupant creating 3,000 jobs.

September 2015: It becomes public that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued subpoenas sometime in June to scrutinize state’s lack of competitive bidding for construction at  RiverBend,  and whether campaign donations or political considerations figured into awarding of contracts.

April 2016: Bharara subpoenas Cuomo’s office. Alphonso David, counsel to the governor, acknowledges “questions of improper lobbying and undisclosed conflicts of interest by some individuals” that may involve cases in which the state was “defrauded.”