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Hawley: Pay-to-play scheme in Buffalo Billion shows state’s ‘dysfunctional economic development programs’

Staff Reports Posted 23 September 2016 at 9:56 am

Charges of a massive scheme involving bid rigging with hundreds of millions of dollars in state funds in the Buffalo Billion program shows the need for reform in Albany, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, said.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara outlined a federal case on Thursday that includes long-time advisors and donors of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The case alleges bribery, extortion and tax evasion. Bharara said there is no sign of wrongdoing by the governor.

Cuomo issued this statement on Thursday:

“I learned this morning of the charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office that include a former member of my administration. If the allegations are true, I am saddened and profoundly disappointed. I hold my administration to the highest level of integrity. I have zero tolerance for abuse of the public trust from anyone. If anything, a friend should be held to an even higher standard. Like my father before me, I believe public integrity is paramount. This sort of breach, if true, should be and will be punished.

“SUNY has rightly relieved Alain Kaloyeros from his duties and has suspended him without pay, effective immediately.

“This matter is now in the hands of the court, which is exactly where it belongs. My administration will continue to be fully cooperative in the matter as we have been since it began.”

Assemblyman Hawley issued this statement after the charges were announced:

“In recent months we have watched details surrounding the state’s dysfunctional economic development programs unfold. Today, two individuals with close ties to the governor and his administration have been charged with alleged bid-rigging and bribery.

“The time for change – dramatic change – is now.

“Every investigation surrounding public officials, now one including Joseph Percoco and Alain Kaloyeros, has highlighted a desperate need for reform. Entrusted with the public’s confidence to effect positive change, I am calling for a comprehensive and meaningful response to these issues.

“I will continue to fight for increased accountability and transparency; the status quo must be changed.”