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Four regions linked by corruption allegations

Buffalo

• In 2012, Alain Kaloyeros – the head of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, hired Todd Howe, a longtime confidant to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, to serve as a consultant for the college and for Fort Schuyler Management Corp., a state-run company that manages investment projects across the state. Howe’s pay: $25,000 a month.

• In January 2013 – just as LPCiminelli Development of Buffalo began seeking state contracts tied to Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” initiative – Ciminelli executive Kevin Schuler hired Howe for a $100,000 a year job providing “strategic advice and counsel regarding business generation initiatives across New York State.”

• Meantime, Louis Ciminelli and his family continued their long-term policy of giving campaign cash to Cuomo – a total of $100,000 between 2009 and 2014 – as Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco pressed Howe to seek contributions from Ciminelli.

• On Aug. 13, 2013, Kaloyeros contacted Howe about developing a “request for proposal” for a major state development project in Buffalo.

• On or about Aug. 23, 2013, Howe sent Kaloyeros an email about the Buffalo project that included a section that, Howe said, came from Ciminelli. Ciminelli’s sentiment? “Selecting based on qualifications not price is important.”

• At about the same time, Howe sent Ciminelli executive Michael Laipple a PowerPoint presentation specifying the location of a major state development initiative: Buffalo’s RiverBend area.

• In November 2013, Ciminelli hosted a fundraising event for Cuomo that raised $250,000 for the governor’s re-election campaign.

• On Nov. 21, 2013, Cuomo announces the RiverBend project – three months after Ciminelli got exclusive word on its location.

• On Dec. 10, 2013, Ciminelli delivers its proposal for the RiverBend project.

• In March 2014, Ciminelli is named the sole developer of the RiverBend site, receiving a $225 million contract that was later expanded to $750 million.

• Sept. 22, 2016: Ciminelli, Schuler, Laipple, Kaloyeros and Percoco are charged in a federal criminal complaint after Howe pleaded guilty to extortion, wire fraud and related conspiracy charges and agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

Orange County

• Competitive Power Ventures, which planned to build a $900 million gas-fired power plant in Wawayanda, hired Todd Howe – a close aide to Andrew Cuomo – back in 2010 when Cuomo was in the midst of his race for governor.

• Meantime, the power company started making overtures to Joseph Percoco, another top Cuomo aide.

• In 2012, Percoco asked Peter Galbraith Kelly, a top executive at the energy company, to hire Percoco’s wife. Kelly agreed, creating a $90,000 a year position for her. The federal complaint charges that her $7,500 monthly paychecks were, in essence, bribes for Percoco to do favors for the company.
Percoco then started using his influence to try to pressure the state to buy all of the power from the Wawayanda power plant for the next 15 years.

• Howe – who collected $474,000 from Competitive
Power Ventures in the five years ending in April 2015
– arranged for the energy company to filter the bribes through Percoco’s wife.

• Percoco and Howe referred to money from Kelly as “ziti” (also spelled “zitti” in the complaint)– a term from “The Sopranos” that means money. They also referred to Kelly as “Fat Boy.”

• Kelly finally cut off the payments when he learned in the spring of 2015 that Competitive Power Ventures would not get the favored treatment it was seeking for its Wawayanda power plant.

• Kelly was charged in the federal criminal complaint on Thursday, as were Percoco and Howe.

Syracuse

• Joseph Percoco, a top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, joined with Cuomo confidant Todd Howe to develop a bribery scheme involving COR Development Co., a major Syracuse developer, in the spring of 2015.

• Percoco and Howe arranged for Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, top executives at COR, to make tens of thousands of dollars in bribery payments to Percoco, using Howe as a pass-through.

• As payback, Percoco agreed to help COR with a costly labor problem, to help free up a backlog of funds the state owed the developer, and to arrange a $5,000 raise for Aiello’s son, who worked in Cuomo’s executive chamber.

• Percoco took a total of about $35,000 in bribes from COR, the federal criminal complaint said.

• Aiello and Gerardi were charged in the criminal complaint on Thursday, as were Percoco and Howe.

Albany

• State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman charged that Alain Kaloyeros – the head of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering – engaged in a series of bid-rigging schemes dating back to 2010.

• The first alleged scheme, in 2010 and 2011, involved the construction of the so-called NanoFab West research building. According to the felony complaint, Kaloyeros awarded the most lucrative contract on the project to a contractor who agreed to provide a $50 million loan to a nonprofit controlled by Kaloyeros. In addition, the contractor offered to provide a $3 million research grant to Kaloyeros’ university – which could boost Kaloyeros’ compensation, which is determined in part by the number of research grants he lands.

• The second, in 2014, involved a contract for the development of a SUNY Poly student housing complex that was awarded to a company named Columbia Development. According to the felony complaint, Kaloyeros colluded with Columbia president Joseph Nicolla to give the company an unfair competitive advantage in the bidding process for the project – a move that led to a felony charge against Nicolla as well.

• The third alleged scheme, in 2015, involved a deal Kaloyeros cut with an architectural firm in which it agreed to lease space in a university building in exchange for future work on projects for the university.

• Under the criminal complaint filed by Schneiderman’s office on Thursday, Kaloyeros faces three felony counts of combination in restraint of trade and competition.

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