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SolarCity: Won't let corruption charges delay Buffalo project

Posted at 1:46 PM, Sep 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-23 09:00:36-04

Officials with SolarCity told 7 Eyewitness News they are still planning to move forward with the Buffalo project despite federal corruption charges surrounding executives with the construction company building its facility.

A spokesperson with the company provided the following statement:

"As we've said before, this has nothing to do with us, we were not involved in the selection of any of the vendors or construction of the facility described in the complaint.  We'll work closely with the state to try to avoid disruption to the project and bring the promised jobs and economic development to Buffalo."

Solarcity is the largest residential solar energy installer in the U.S.  It plans to use the Buffalo plant for manufacturing.  The facility is expected to create 1,460 jobs.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Thursday he doesn't "have any concerns" about the continuation of the SolarCity project in Buffalo.  LPCiminelli was one of the developers behind the construction and executives with the company are facing federal criminal charges related to the project.

Louis Ciminelli, Michael Laipple and Kevin Schuler are all charged in connection with Buffalo developer LPCiminelli.  The three are facing federal charges of wiretapping and bribery.  These charges are in connection to New York State officials granting LPCiminelli a $225 million contract to construct the SolarCity site.  The criminal complaint says that contract eventually expanded to $750 million.

Poloncarz says the project is almost completed and doesn't expect these charges to make any impact.

"The SolarCity building is done," he said Thursday.  "To my understanding the keys have been turned over to SolarCity and now they're starting to move over their equipment.  So I don't have any question as to the continuing of that project."