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U.S. Attorney investigating the Buffalo Billion

Posted: 9:58 AM, Sep 19, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-19 13:58:10Z

Plastered on the front page of the New York Post is a report about U.S. Attorney Preet Bahrara, digging into Governor Cuomo's Buffalo Billion project.

Cuomo said, "Yeah, I don't know anything about that."

While the governor deflects, the Post reports the investigation is focused on "multi-million dollar contracts, awarded to build facilities for high tech, drug development and clean energy businesses."

In other words, the construction contract for Solar City is in the government's cross hairs.

"Doesn't mean because there's an investigation there's anything wrong," Cuomo said.

Construction of Solar City, a green energy company owned by Elon Musk, is being paid for with taxpayer dollars as part of the Buffalo Billion.

The contract was awarded to LP Ciminelli. Louis P. Ciminelli, the owner, has been a major donor to the Cuomo camp over the last five years.

The governor insists campaign contributions had nothing to do with awarding this deal.

"What you have seen people go to jail for is called bribery, which happens to be a crime," Cuomo said. "Anyone who takes a bribe should go to jail that's what you've seen, not people who contribute to campaigns."

The governor announced the Buffalo Billion revitalization project during his 2012 State of the State address, to spur the region's lagging economy. He touts accomplishments of this program that is now under a great deal of scrutiny.

7 Eyewitness News has reached out to LP Ciminelli for comment. No one returned our calls.

Another developer mentioned in the Post article is McGuire Development. A spokesperson says they are cooperating fully with the government's request for information.

U.S. Attorney William Hochul's office also had no comment.

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