|Releases: Reaction to Kaloyeros conviction from Reinvent Albany, NYPIRG, CBC, Fiscal Policy Institute, Teachout, Kolb, Molinaro, Cox, Bharara.|
|Text of releases.|
John Kaehny, Reinvent Albany, 917-941-9865
Blair Horner, NYPIRG, 518-727-4506
Dave Friedfel, Citizens Budget Commission 518-469-9822
Ron Deutsch, Fiscal Policy Institute, 518-469-6769
For immediate release
Friday, July 13, 2018
After Guilty Verdicts in Upstate Bid Rigging Trial
Watchdogs Warn of Continuing Risk of Abuse of
State Economic Development Programs
Guilty Verdicts a wake-up call. Groups once again urge Governor Cuomo to stop using state- controlled non-profits to award state contracts and to adopt basic Clean Contracting reforms.
According to fiscal and government watchdog groups, evidence introduced at the federal trial of Alain Kaloyeros, the governor's former nano-czar, and executives from LP Ciminelli and COR Development highlight the vulnerability of the state’s economic development programs to corruption and abuse.
The groups say the state’s use of state- controlled nonprofits like the Fort Schuyler and Fuller Road Management Corporations and SUNY Research Foundation to award billions in taxpayer- funded grants is ripe for abuse, pay to play and corruption. The groups cite the lack of independent oversight by the comptroller, lax contracting rules that do not appear to require competitive bidding, and an overall lack of transparency.
The groups repeated their call to Governor Cuomo to adopt Clean Contracting reforms and recommends that New York :
Require competitive and transparent contracting for the award of state funds by all state agencies, authorities, and affiliates.
End economic development awards by state non-profits and SUNY, and transfer this responsibility to Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC).
Empower the comptroller to review and approve all state contracts over $250K.
Prohibit state authorities, state corporations and state non-profits from doing business with their board members.
Create a ‘Database of Deals’ that allows the public to see the total value of all forms of subsidies awarded to a business – as six states have done.
Governor Cuomo refused to support these reforms during the legislative session, even while the State Senate passed the measures which were in the Comptroller’s Procurement Integrity Act and a Database of Deals legislation, and over seventy Assemblymembers co-sponsored the bills. Yet Speaker Heastie has refused to bring the bill to the floor for a vote because the Governor was not supportive, ignoring the widespread support from his conference, twenty watchdog and civic groups, numerous editorial boards, and his own support for the bills.
The Database of Deals is a fundamental transparency reform listing all of the taxpayer subsidies received by a corporation including the type of subsidy, jobs created or retained, and the cost per job to taxpayers. The state spends $4 billion in economic development annually, yet the public has no way of accounting for which programs work best or whether the state is getting a sufficient return on its investment in jobs produced or retained. Florida, Maryland, Indiana and New York City, among others, have a Database of Deals.
The Procurement Integrity Act was introduced at the request of Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to restore the comptroller’s authority to review contracts before they are executed for SUNY/CUNY construction and construction services, materials and printing contracts, and OGS centralized contracts. The bill also:
requires Comptroller approval of state-funded SUNY Research Foundation contracts of over $1 million;
forbids state-controlled nonprofit organizations from contracting on behalf of the state unless specifically allowed by the legislature (state-controlled nonprofits like Fort Schuyler Management Corporation are at the center of the Upstate bid-rigging scandal); and
requires state authorities to use procurement guidelines consistent with state agencies.
For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 12
Contact: Cristina Gonzalez, firstname.lastname@example.org and 917-520-5156
Teachout on Kaloyeros Verdict: I Will Go After Play to Play Culture as AG
NEW YORK, NY-- Today a Federal jury in Manhattan convicted Alain Kaloyeros of bid rigging on state contracts worth more than $850 million that were part of Governor Cuomo's Buffalo Billion initiative. Louis Ciminelli, Steve Aiello, and Joseph Gerardi were also found guilty on charges of wire fraud.
“The Kaloyeros verdict is a searing indictment of the rampant culture of pay to play in New York State where politicians reward their corporate donors with our tax dollars. That’s why I’m not accepting any corporate money, and as Attorney General I will be relentless about going after corruption in Albany.”
For Release: IMMEDIATELY, July 12, 2018
Contact: Mike Fraser, office: (518) 455-3751; cell: (518) 859-8518
STATEMENT FROM ASSEMBLY MINORITY LEADER
BRIAN M. KOLB (R,C,I,REF-CANANDAIGUA)
ON THE CONVICTION OF ALAIN KALOYEROS
“The conviction of Alain Kaloyeros on corruption crimes is business as usual in Andrew Cuomo’s Albany. Friends get favors, campaign accounts get fatter and taxpayers get the bill. Where do we go from here? New Yorkers might look to Gov. Cuomo’s own words from 2016, since they apply perfectly to the blatant corruption outlined in the Buffalo Billion trial:
‘… management failed to understand that taxpayer money deserves the highest protection.’
‘Scandal seldom begins with evil, but with temptation, and temptation usually begins
with a lack of watchfulness.’
‘Honesty is a virtue, but in organizations, it is a culture,
and it starts at the top, with leadership.’
‘When leadership forgets this, it’s time to change leadership.’
Couldn’t agree more.
Change in Albany is long overdue. Despite the governor’s prior soundbites, corruption has only become more prevalent on his watch. Each guilty verdict is not only an indictment of the individuals abusing their power and position, but a reflection on the pay-to-play culture which enables the behavior. There appears to be no end in sight for Albany’s corruption crisis.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Katherine Delgado (914-960-6050)
Molinaro Statement on Buffalo Billion Verdict
Andrew Cuomo's economic development czar, Alain Kalayeros, today joined Joe Percoco and Todd Howe, guilty on all counts, by a jury of peers. While these men stood trial, make no question what was really found guilty was the reckless pay to play, incompetence of Andrew Cuomo's administration. He has empowered, emboldened and encouraged individuals to bend the rules, rig the system and defrauded taxpayers. New Yorkers have paid the price of the Cuomo administration's arrogant and blatant disregard for the law. The people of our state deserve better and as Governor I will enact the Albany Accountability Act, to give them a government that puts the people of New York first.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jessica Proud (914) 438-5325
Statement from the NYGOP on Guilty Convictions in Cuomo Buffalo Billion Corruption Trial
July 12, 2018
"Today's new round of guilty convictions and the facts that have been revealed in the two trials indisputably prove that Cuomo is the most crooked, corrupt Governor New Yorkers have seen in more than a century. It is said that things happen in three's, and there is most certainly another shoe that must drop. The facts of these cases--and other brazen examples of pay-to-play, such as Crystal Run Healthcare that is currently the subject of another FBI investigation--directly implicate the Governor in committing federal and state crimes. The only way to restore the integrity of the Executive Branch is to hold him accountable."
The convictions in the "Buffalo Billion" trial underscore the huge corruption risks that continue to plague Albany. The Governor 's failure to produce meaningful reforms, coupled with the Legislature's inability to come to an agreement on its own, highlight the failures of the state's elected leadership to grapple with unending scandals.
Scandals that have ripped through the Legislature and toppled top aides to the governor.
New Yorkers deserve better. Governor Cuomo must immediately convene a Special Session to address Albany's Watergate moments.
Twitter post by Preet Bharara
All four Buffalo Billion defendants guilty on all counts. Congratulations to the team at SDNY for continuing to strike big blows against corruption in New York State.