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A chronology of the Buffalo Billion and the federal probe into it

Here’s a timeline showing the history of the Buffalo Billion and the public corruption investigation involving officials in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration and executives with LPCiminelli, a Buffalo contracting firm.

Jan. 5, 2012: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announces vague $1 billion economic development pledge for Buffalo over five years as part of State of the State Address. Will include cash, tax incentives and low-cost power. First $100 million included in state budget.

September 2012: WNY Regional Economic Development Council picks 24 projects for regional priorities for state funding, while working with UB Regional Institute, McKinsey & Co. and Brookings Institution on Buffalo Billion plan.

December 4, 2012: Cuomo announces first “downpayment” of Buffalo Billion with $50 million investment in biomedical equipment and facilities for AMRI to expand to Buffalo.

February 2013: WNY REDC unveils overall plan for Buffalo Billion, focused on targeted industries of advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences, and tourism.

October 2013: State begins seeking bids from developers for proposed high-tech campus at undisclosed location in Buffalo.

November 20, 2013: Cuomo announces $225 million clean-energy campus at Riverbend in South Buffalo that will host facilities for two California companies, solar-panel maker Silevo and LED-lighting manufacturer Soraa.

January 2014: State agrees on terms to buy 88-acre Riverbend site from BUDC for $2.5 million.

February 13, 2014: SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering selects LPCiminelli and McGuire Development Group as preferred developers for future high-tech research and manufacturing facilities, with five-year contracts. Ciminelli and its executives had contributed to Cuomo’s campaigns.

February 24, 2014: Cuomo announces new computer-information technology center in downtown Buffalo with 500 new jobs, anchored by IBM, and $55 million in Buffalo Billion funding for facility and equipment.

March 27, 2014: State announces LPCiminelli will be responsible for Riverbend construction, while McGuire handles the IBM-anchored technology hub. Cites Ciminelli’s size and experience.

June 17, 2014: SolarCity agrees to buy Silevo and expand the proposed Riverbend solar-panel manufacturing plant five-fold.

July 2014: LPCiminelli begins work on Riverbend site, with redesigned plans for fewer but larger facilities. State agrees to buy 96 more acres at Riverbend.

September 23, 2014: LPCiminelli, state officials break ground on Riverbend, while SolarCity pledges 1,460 jobs onsite and state raises investment to $750 million.

October 2014: SolarCity under investigation by federal officials for possibly inflating the value of solar products.

September 2015: U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara begins federal probe into Buffalo Billion, Buffalo Schools Construction Project and other developments, with subpoenas issued to LPCiminelli, McGuire, SUNY and ESDC for information. Both LPCiminelli and McGuire deny they are targets of probe. Cuomo said he has not been subpoenaed, either.

October 2015: SolarCity increases direct job pledge from 3,500 to 5,000 statewide.

December 2015: SolarCity pushed back start of production at new factory by six months.

March 2016: LPCiminelli hires Albany lobbyist, but says it’s not for SolarCity or schools projects.

April 29, 2016: Cuomo’s office receives subpoenas from Bharara in criminal probe focused on Buffalo Billion, Cuomo’s former executive deputy secretary Joseph Percoco and lobbyist Todd Howe. Cuomo orders review of Buffalo Billion program amid questions of “improper lobbying and undisclosed conflicts of interest” that may involve fraud. SolarCity also received requests for information.

May 26, 2016: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman raids SUNY Poly in Albany as part of separate bid-rigging investigation.

June 2016: State narrowly averts more layoffs at Riverbend project by speeding up delayed payments. Tesla agrees to buy SolarCity.

July 2016: Cuomo hires former federal prosecutor Bart Schwartz to scrutinize Buffalo Billion spending.

August 2016: SolarCity moves up opening date in Buffalo to June 2017, as construction of building nears completion.

Sept. 22, 2016: Bharara announces the arrest of nine people related to his statewide public corruption probe, including SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros, Percoco, Howe, Louis P. Ciminelli and two other LPCiminelli executives, and two executives of COR Development, a Syracuse area firm that was one of Cuomo’s biggest contributors and which received state contracts from Cuomo’s administration.

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