Ex-Cuomo Aide Charged in Bribery Scheme

Rockland native Joseph Percoco has been indicted alongside eight others

Federal charges have been filed against Rockland native Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and eight other former government employees, lobbyists, and developers in an alleged bribery scheme tied to Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” plan to revitalize upstate New York’s economy.

According to the indictment, Percoco accepted bribes totaling approximately $315,000 between 2012 and 2016 from an energy company, Competitive Power Ventures (CPV), as well as COR Development Company (COR), a Syracuse-based developer, “in exchange for official actions taken and agreed to be taken by Percoco,” namely getting approval for the energy company to erect a power plant and having the developer awarded several state-funded projects.  

Earlier today, Cuomo released a statement in which he said, “I have zero tolerance for abuse of the public trust from anyone. If anything, a friend should be held to an even higher standard.”

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Kaloyeros’ Ferrari on his Facebook page.

Also charged in the bribery scheme were Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr., a vice president of external affairs at CPV, Steven Aiello, COR’s president, Joseph Gerardi, COR’s co-founder, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros. Todd Howe, a former Washington lobbyist, has pleaded guilty on separate fraud charges, and is reportedly cooperating with investigators.

According to the indictment, Howe organized the bribes Kelly made to Percoco, who leaned on CPV to hire his wife, Lisa Toscana-Percoco. (Toscana-Percoco allegedly benefited from said bribes, though she is not named as a defendant.) Additionally, the indictment states Kaloyeros, who has been noted posting photos of a $300,000 Ferrari on Facebook, abetted corruption and bribery in order to keep his position at the school, where he was paid upward of $1 million a year. 

Percoco—who per the indictment was referred to by the code name “Herb” and used the word “ziti” instead of cash in several e-mail correspondences—along with Kelly and Kaloyaros are expected to appear before a judge in Manhattan Federal Court today. We will update this story as we have more information.

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