NY governor’s ex-aide among 9 charged with bribery, fraud

Preet Bharara

NEW YORK (NEWS10) – U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced public corruption charges against nine defendants, including a former aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the charges stem from two separate but overlapping schemes involving bribery, corruption, and fraud in the award of hundreds of millions of dollars in New York State contracts and other official state actions.

The office unsealed a complaint charging eight defendants with federal public corruption charges, including Joseph Percoco, the former Executive Secretary to the Governor of the State of New York, and Alain Kaloyeros, the President of Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly).

In the first scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says Percoco is accused of soliciting and accepting more than $315,000 in bribes in return for taking official state action to benefit an energy company and a Syracuse real estate developer. As part of the scheme, Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr., and executive at the Energy Company, and Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, executives at the Syracuse Developer, are accused of orchestrating the payment of bribes to Percoco.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says in the second scheme, Aiello and Gerardi, along with Louis Ciminelli, Michael Laipple, and Kevin Schuler, who are executives at a Buffalo-based development company are accused of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to Todd Howe. Howe is a consultant hired by Kaloyeros to help administer the state’s “Buffalo Billion” initiative and related programs.

Howe and Kaloyeros are also accused of secretly rigging bids on lucrative state-funded contracts to ensure that the Syracuse Developer and Buffalo Developer would win contracts.

Howe pleaded guilty on Tuesday for his participation in both the corruption schemes.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his office is filing felony complaint charging Kaloyeros and Joseph Nicolla, the president of Columbia Development, with one felony count of Combination in Restraint of Trade and Competition.

The felony complaint, according to the Attorney General’s Office, alleges that Kaloyeros steered, or agreed to steer, the awarding contracts to handpicked companies, including Nicolla’s Columbia Development.

In the first scheme, the Attorney General’s Office says it involved a contract for the development of a SUNY Poly student housing complex on Loughlin Street in Albany that was awarded to Nicolla’s company. Kaloyeros is accused of colluding with Columbia to give the company an unfair advantage in the bidding process for the project.

The Attorney General’s Office says in the second scheme, Kaloyeros orchestrated the hiring and firing of multiple firms participating in the NanoFab west research building project. He is accused of awarding the most lucrative contract to a contractor who agreed to provide a $50,000,000 loan to a non-profit organization connected to SUNY Poly and effectively controlled by Kaloyeros.

In the third scheme, Kaloyeros is accused of being involved in a collusive agreement with an agricultural firm where in exchange for the firm’s agreement to lease space in a SUNY Poly building, the Attorney General’s Office says he agreed to give the firm future work on projects at the school.

“The charges filed today outline a blatant and brazen abuse of taxpayer dollars and the public trust,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “This self-serving scheme alleged in the complaint was particularly egregious because it was aimed at enriching powerful people at the expense of the state’s public university system. We will continue to hold public officials accountable and ensure that all officials are held to the same high standard of integrity that New Yorkers deserve.”

Statement by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:

I learned this morning of the charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office that include a former member of my administration. If the allegations are true, I am saddened and profoundly disappointed. I hold my administration to the highest level of integrity. I have zero tolerance for abuse of the public trust from anyone. If anything, a friend should be held to an even higher standard. Like my father before me, I believe public integrity is paramount. This sort of breach, if true, should be and will be punished.

SUNY has rightly relieved Alain Kaloyeros from his duties and has suspended him without pay, effective immediately.

This matter is now in the hands of the court, which is exactly where it belongs. My administration will continue to be fully cooperative in the matter as we have been since it began.”

Statement by Todd Howe’s attorney:

“Mr. Howe has accepted responsibility for his actions and will testify truth fully if called upon.”

Statement by SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall and Chancellor Nancy Zimpher:

“It is imperative that any charges brought against SUNY Poly President Alain E. Kaloyeros today do not distract from the educational mission, ground-breaking research, and academic operation of SUNY Polytechnic Institute or negatively impact the thousands of students, faculty, researchers, and staff that the campus serves.

Effective immediately and until this matter is resolved, Dr. Kaloyeros has been suspended without pay. SUNY will review the charges against Dr. Kaloyeros and cooperate fully with prosecutors on any further action as state and federal investigations continue.

In order to ensure a seamless leadership transition for the entire campus community, we are directing executive staff at SUNY System Administration, under the leadership of Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright, to collectively serve in an officer-in-charge capacity for the campus until an individual can be appointed.”

The eight other defendants were arrested Thursday morning.

United States v. Joseph Percoco, et al. 16 Mag, 6005

DEFENDANT

AGE

RESIDENCE

CHARGE(S)

MAXIMUM SENTENCE(S)

JOSEPH PERCOCO 47 South Salem, NY Conspiracy to Commit Extortion Under the Color of Official Right,

18 U.S.C. § 1951 (Count One)

 

Extortion Under the Color of Official Right,

18 U.S.C. § 1951 (Counts Two and Three)

 

Conspiracy to Commit Honest Services Fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count Four)

 

Solicitation of Bribes and Gratuities,

18 U.S.C. § 666 (Counts Five and Six)

 

 

20 years

 

 

 

20 years

 

 

 

 

20 years

 

 

10 years (on each count)

ALAIN KALOYEROS 60 Slingerlands, NY Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud,

18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count Nine)

 

 

20 years
PETER GALBRAITH KELLY, JR. 53 Canterbury, CT Conspiracy to Commit Honest Services Fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count Four)

 

Payment of Bribes and Gratuities,

18 U.S.C. § 666 (Count Seven)

 

 

20 years

 

 

10 years

 

STEVEN AIELLO 58 Fayetteville, NY Conspiracy to Commit Honest Services Fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count Four)

 

Payment of Bribes and Gratuities,

18 U.S.C. § 666 (Counts Eight and Ten)

 

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud,

18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count Nine)

 

False Statements to Federal Officers,

18 U.S.C. § 1001 (Count Twelve)

 

 

20 years

 

 

10 years (on each count)

 

 

20 years

 

 

5 years

JOSEPH GERARDI 57 Fayetteville, NY Conspiracy to Commit Honest Services Fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count Four)

 

Payment of Bribes and Gratuities,

18 U.S.C. § 666 (Counts Eight and Ten)

 

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud,

18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count Nine)

 

False Statements to Federal Officers,

18 U.S.C. § 1001 (Count Twelve)

 

 

20 years

 

 

10 years (on each count)

 

 

20 years

 

 

5 years

 

LOUIS CIMINELLI 61 Buffalo, NY Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud,

18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count Nine)

 

Payment of Bribes and Gratuities,

18 U.S.C. § 666 (Count Eleven)

 

 

20 years

 

 

10 years

MICHAEL LAIPPLE 51 Orchard Park, NY Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud,

18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count Nine)

 

Payment of Bribes and Gratuities,

18 U.S.C. § 666 (Count Eleven)

 

 

20 years

 

 

10 years

KEVIN SCHULER 45 North Tonawanda, NY Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud,

18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count Nine)

 

Payment of Bribe and Gratuities,

18 U.S.C. § 666 (Count Eleven)

 

 

20 years

 

 

10 years

United States v. Todd Howe (Information)

TODD HOWE 56 Washington, DC Conspiracy to Commit Honest Services Fraud,

18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count One)

 

Conspiracy to Commit Extortion Under the Color of Official Right,

18 U.S.C. § 1951 (Count Two)

 

Extortion Under the Color of Official Right,

18 U.S.C. § 1951 (Count Three)

 

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

Wire Fraud,

18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count Four)

 

Wire Fraud,

18 U.S.C. § 1343 (Counts Five and Seven)

 

Conspiracy to Commit Bribery,

18 U.S.C. § 371 (Count Six)

 

Tax Fraud

26 U.S.C. § 7201 (Count Eight)

 

 

20 years

 

 

 

20 years

 

 

 

20 years

 

 

 

20 years

 

 

 

20 years (on each count)

 

 

5 years

 

 

5 years

Read the complaint.

Todd Howe Information.

NY Attorney General complaint.

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