NY governor's ex-top aide among 8 charged in bribery case

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23 September, 2016

Joseph Percoco, Cuomo's former executive deputy secretary and one of his most loyal advisers, and Todd Howe, a longtime family confidante, were among the nine people named in the complaint which was filed in USA federal court in Manhattan, according to the New York Post.

NY1 has also reached out to both Percoco and Governor Cuomo for comment.

According the complaint, the criminal charges stemmed from two overlapping schemes involving bribes, corruption and fraud in the awarding of contracts and other state benefits.

The charges stem from state-funded projects incubated by the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, created to take advantage of Cuomo's $1 billion program to revitalize the economy of Buffalo, New York.

The document also names two executives at COR Development as well as Buffalo developer Louis Ciminelli, whose company LPCiminelli stood to make millions off Cuomo's efforts to revitalize the upstate economy. "Through rigged bids, state contracts worth billions of dollars in public development monies, meant to revitalize and renew upstate NY, were instead just another way to corruptly award cronies who were willing to pay to play".

In the fall of 2012, Howe and Percoco exchanged emails referring to Percoco's troubled personal finances, according to the complaint. He was Andrew Cuomo's $156,000-a-year executive secretary when he resigned in 2014 to lead Cuomo's re-election campaign.

Cuomo issued a statement shortly after the complaint was made public, saying in part he is "saddened and profoundly disappointed", and that he has "zero tolerance for abuse of the public trust".

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In an odd twist, Percoco used the codeword "ziti" with the company as a way to covertly say money, because it was used on The Sopranos.

Federal investigators released a complaint alleging Kaloyeros steered millions in state contracts to two other developers based in Buffalo and Syracuse.

Cuomo said Percoco told him he might take consulting clients.

Percoco was Cuomo's executive deputy secretary and Howe was an effective lobbyist and close adviser to the governor.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says the extortion and conspiracy charges against Joe Percoco expose another "sordid" case of Albany corruption.

The bribes were allegedly arranged by Howe, who The Times said is cooperating with the investigation.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is expected to announce the charges Thursday at a noon news conference. He was the verbal assassin, tearing down relationships one day and asking favors the next; the governor's combination lieutenant and fishing buddy, to whom Mr. Cuomo could turn for a soothing dose of guy talk - and, when the job required, for political warfare. As the leader of SUNY Polytechnic, Kaloyeros was instrumental to Cuomo's efforts to bring high-tech jobs to upstate NY.


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