Louis Ciminelli among eight indicted in connection to state projects

Posted at 3:37 PM, Nov 22, 2016

Eight indictments were handed up in Manhattan on Tuesday involving the head of Buffalo's largest construction company.

The indictment comes almost two months after U.S. Attorney Preet Bahara outlined a web of corruption with people - all with ties to Governor Cuomo - who bribed for their benefit.

According to investigators, the suspicion began when the bidding process for the SolarCity construction project was called into question, believing there was a rigging process to give the job to LPCiminelli. But prosecutors say the cases against all of those indicted span several projects and illegal bribing schemes.

The eight indicted are: Joseph Percoco, Alain Kaloyeros, Peter Galbraith Kelly, Jr., Steven Aiello, Joseph Gerardi, Louis Ciminelli, Michael Laipple and Kevin Schuler.

Joseph Percoco, one of Cuomo's close friends, played a role as Cuomo's right-hand man as his Executive Deputy Secretary and the governor's reelection campaign manager. He received bribes in exchange for the use of his official position and influence  to provide favors to the Syracuse Developer (Seven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi) and the Energy Company (Peter Galbraith Kelly).

Ciminelli, the head of LPCiminelli, Michael Laipple of Orchard Park and Kevin Schuler of North Tonawanda were charged with payment of bribes and wire fraud conspiracy.

Steven Aiello, Joseph Gerardi and the Syracuse Developer were part of the scheme that extended into Central New York.

Todd Howe, a Washington-based lobbyist who advised bidders in the scheme, already pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the investigation.

There has been no indication that Cuomo is part of the investigation.

Cuomo's office responded Tuesday evening with this statement:

“As I said two months ago when the US Attorney first made this case public, this is a profoundly sad situation for me personally. Now the justice system must take its course, and any of those found guilty of abusing the public's trust should and will be punished. Changes need to be made to restore faith at every level of government. My administration has taken a number of steps in the past several months to reform the procurement process, and has proposed additional measures for the Legislature to take up when they return.”