Corruption Plagues Cuomo Admin; Ex-Aide & 9 Others Charged with Fraud & Bribery

Joseph Percoco

Governor Cuomo’s ex-aide charged with bribery and fraud along with 9 others.

Joseph Percoco was once New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive deputy secretary and was reportedly one of the governors most trusted and faithful advisers. The governor had compared him to a brother. When Mr. Percoco had worked for the governor’s father, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Mr. Percoco was, “my father’s third son, who sometimes I think he loved the most.”

It must be bitter then for the current governor to have to face the news that his “third brother” now faces bribery and fraud charges along with eight others arrested in a case that may cause difficulties in Governor Cuomo’s attempts to increase business in New York’s economy upstate and may tarnish the governor’s reputation overall.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who announced the charges being filed against the nine men, which included another former aide to Governor Cuomo, has been cagey when asked whether Governor Cuomo could be involved at all simply stating that, “There are no allegations of wrongdoing on the part of the governor.”

The corruption case against the nine defendants, which include the President of Polytechnic Institute of the State University of New York, Alain Kaloyeros, is two-fold. First: Joseph Percoco is charged with asking for and accepting more than $315,000 in bribes in exchange for favors involving an energy company and a real estate developer in Syracuse.  The bribes were arranged to be paid by Peter Galbraith Kelly, Jr. an Energy Company executive, and Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, Syracuse Developer executives. 

The second part of the corruption scene for which the nine men have been arrested involves Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi (in collusion with executives at a Buffalo-based development company named Louis Ciminelli, Michael Laipple, and Kevin Schuler) paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to Todd Howe. Mr. Howe, who was hired by Alain Kaloyeros to help manage New York State’s “Buffalo Billion” (an attempt to attract businesses to Buffalo, NY) and programs related to it; is accused of fixing bids to make certain that only developers from Syracuse and Buffalo would win extremely profitable state-funded real-estate contracts.  Todd Howe pleaded guilty for his involvement in both corruption schemes.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released the following statement, “I learned this morning [Thursday, 9/22/16] 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.”

By Anat Ghelber

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