Buffalo Billion indictments issued

Nov 23, 2016

A former top adviser for Governor Andrew Cuomo, three executives from LPCiminelli and three other people have been indicted in their federal corruption case.

The indictment was unsealed Tuesday in New York City. It charges Joseph Percoco and his co-defendants with crimes including fraud conspiracy, bribery and extortion.

Joseph Percoco (left) is a former top aide to Governor Cuomo.
Credit Associated Press

The case's most serious allegations are against Percoco, formerly Cuomo's executive deputy secretary and one of his most loyal advisers. A criminal complaint from September alleges Percoco took more than $315,000 in bribes from 2012 through 2016 from Syracuse-based COR Development and Competitive Power Ventures, an energy company looking to build a power plant in the Hudson Valley.

Percoco's attorney says the case is "a real turkey." No arraignment date has been set. Cuomo has not been accused of wrongdoing in connection with the case.

Also among those indicted are former SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros, who resigned amid the scandal, and three executives of LPCiminelli development: Louis Ciminelli, Michael Laipple and Kevin Schuler.

Michael Laipple (right) and his attorney leave court.
Credit WBFO's Michael Mroziak

The LPCiminelli trio are charged with paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to Todd Howe, a consultant hired by Kaloyeros to help administer the state’s “Buffalo Billion” initiative and related programs. In exchange for the bribe payments, the indictments charge that Howe and Kaloyeros secretly rigged the bids on lucrative state-funded contracts to ensure that both the Syracuse developer and LPCiminelli would win the contracts.

Attorneys for all say they are innocent of the charges.

NYS GOP Chairman Edward Cox issued a statement in response to the indictments:

"Today is indeed a sad day for the people of New York who are suffering under a corrupt administration that operates with an insatiable appetite for power and control. Joe Percoco - who Governor Cuomo has described as a 'brother' - was long known as the Governor's enforcer, and under his direction and blessing, brazenly wielded power to mete out punishments to enemies and reward friends and donors. Cuomo's call for ethics reform is nothing more than lipstick on a pig timed to feign virtuousness. New Yorkers will see through this charade for what it really is and hold the Governor accountable for his corrupt administration."