Buffalo Billion real estate exec sentenced to 28 months
A Manhattan federal judge Monday blasted a real-estate executive for playing dumb about bid-rigging contracts paid for by Gov. Cuomo’s “Buffallo Billion” economic-development program before sentencing him to 28 months in prison.
Manhattan federal Judge Valerie Caproni said ex-LPCiminelli CEO Louis Ciminelli was “deeply corrupt” in rigging bids for multimillion-dollar development contracts paid for by taxpayers.
As the judge said this, Ciminelli — who maintains his innocence — tilted his head, prompting the judge to accuse him for playing dumb about his dirty deeds.
“Mr. Ciminelli, you can cock your head and look like you don’t know what I’m talking about, but you do know what I’m talking about. That’s why you deleted your Gmail account,” the judge said.
“I hope the sentence will be heard around the state,” the judge said. “When you compete for state projects, you are competing for taxpayer dollars. You should be purer than Caesar’s wife.”
“I intend to keep fighting to clear my name — I hope you don’t hold that against me,” Ciminelli told the judge before he sentenced her.
The sentence was slightly below the recommendation by the court’s probation office for three years.
Ciminelli’s lawyer begged for leniency in part because his client was given eight years to live due to a bone-cancer diagnosis. “A three-year sentence … is almost half a life sentence,” defense lawyer Paul Shechtman told the judge.
The contract LPCiminelli won, with the help of lobbyist Todd Howe and Cuomo’s point man on the project Alain Kaloyeros, allowed LPCiminelli to build a facility in Buffalo that now houses a Tesla factory along the Buffalo River.
Ciminelli, 63, was the first to be sentenced in the scheme. Also convicted following trial were two Syracuse real-estate executives, Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, and Kaloyeros, who was then head of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute.
This content was originally published here.