Thursday, September 22, 2016
Federal charges have been filed against nine people connected to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s upstate development projects, including his former top aide, Joseph Percoco, and his longtime family confidante, Todd Howe, prosecutors announced Thursday.
Seven others were also charged in the alleged bribery scheme tied to a slew of state-funded upstate development projects — including the so-called Buffalo Billion economic plan, according to a criminal indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court.
SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros was among those named in the 80-page indictment in connection with fraudulently awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts and other official state business, the documents allege.
The governor was not named as a defendant in the complaint.
Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District, will announce the charges against the nine defendants at a press conference scheduled for noon today.
According to the indictment, Percoco asked for and accepted about $315,000 in bribes from an energy company trying to get state approval to erect a power plant and a developer that won several state-funded projects.
Howe organized the bribes for Percoco and the two companies, identified by sources as Competitive Power Ventures and COR Development.
Howe, a disgraced Washington lobbyist, has been cooperating with the feds throughout the probe and has already pleaded guilty to fraud charges.
Others charged in the case were Competitive’s PR rep Peter Galbraith Kelly, COR President Steven Aiello, COR exec Joseph Gerardi and three officials from a large construction company, LPCiminelli, including founder Louis Ciminelli.
Kelly allegedly gave out the bribes to Percoco in return for Percoco’s assistance in developing the power plant. But Percoco’s wife, Lisa Toscano-Percoco, who worked as a consultant for Competitive Power Ventures, allegedly received the kickbacks. She, too, is not named as a defendant.
Percoco would use a code name, “Herb,” and the word “ziti” in place of cash in several email correspondences referring to the shady deals, according to the complaint.
Percoco, Kelly and Kaloyaros will appear before a judge in Manhattan Federal Court later today.
Ciminelli and his two execs Michael Laipelle and Kevin Schuler were arrested Thursday morning in Buffalo and will be presented in Western District Federal Court.
The status of the other defendants was unclear.
Read the charges against Joseph Percoco:
Read the charges against Todd Howe: