The Justice Department announced public corruption charges on Thursday against nine people, including two former top aides to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a senior state official, and six others allegedly involved in bribery and state contracts. After pleading guilty to eight counts including extortion, conspiracy, and wire fraud, one of Gov. Cuomo’s former aides is currently cooperating with investigators and will be expected to testify against his co-conspirators.
Before working as an aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Todd Howe also worked with his father, Gov. Mario Cuomo, while serving as the secretary of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to court documents, Howe and another aide to Andrew Cuomo, Joseph Percoco, had accepted bribes in exchange for the approval of state-funded development projects.
Between 2012 and 2016, Percoco and his wife allegedly accepted more than $315,000 in bribes from companies seeking political favors. According to the complaint, representatives from Competitive Power Ventures, COR Development, and LPCiminelli conspired to bribe Cuomo’s aides in order to receive lucrative state contracts. Since 2012, Percoco’s wife, Lisa Toscano-Percoco worked as a consultant to Competitive Power Ventures while the company allegedly bribed her in order to gain approval to build a power plant in the Hudson Valley.
Besides charging two former Cuomo aides with multiple counts of bribery, extortion, and fraud, federal prosecutors also announced public corruption charges against state official, Alain Kaloyeros, president of the State University of New York (SUNY) Polytechnic Institute. Due to his longstanding friendship with Cuomo, Kaloyeros has reportedly overseen millions of dollars in state funding.
Other defendants named in the complaint include Competitive Power Ventures lobbyist Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr., COR Development President Steven Aiello, COR executive Joseph Gerardi, LPCiminelli founder Louis Ciminelli, and LPCiminelli executives Michael Laipple and Kevin Schuler. Kelly is accused of delivering bribes to Percoco’s wife, while Aiello and Gerardi allegedly paid Percoco $35,000 in bribes to promote COR’s development projects.
After serving as Cuomo’s executive deputy secretary, Percoco resigned earlier this year to accept a position at Madison Square Garden. Cuomo’s other former aide, Howe, left the administration to become a lobbyist.
Despite the fact that Howe has pleaded guilty to eight counts including extortion, conspiracy, and wire fraud, Percoco’s attorney, Barry Bohrer, announced on Thursday that his client will plead not guilty to the federal corruption charges.
Howe’s lawyer recently told The Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Howe has accepted responsibility for his actions and will testify truthfully if called upon.”