New report critical of Buffalo Billion process

ESD chief says state has made changes
Posted at 4:40 PM, Jun 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-16 16:40:47-04

New questions are being raised about the Buffalo Billion project following a report by a lawyer who was hired by the governor to look into the program.

A new report from investigator Bart Schwartz faults New York State for a "sloppy process" in the rewarding of key contracts for the Buffalo Billion.

An internal investigation ordered by Governor Cuomo found some bills for the new Solar City plant in South Buffalo should not be paid to vendors because proper rules were not followed by the state.

But the report stopped short of saying the mistakes were criminal, which is one of the allegations in last year's indictments of the CEO of LP Ciminelli, two of his vice presidents and a former top aide to the governor.

Howard Zemsky, the governor's economic development commissioner, wrote in a letter to  Schwartz that the majority of the $49 million in question has been documented with receipts and that new changes have been made.

Zemsky said, "We share your goal of preventing fraud, waste and abuse."

The Buffalo Billion criminal trial is set to begin in Manhattan at the end of October.