Ex-Cuomo aide, others indicted in New York bribery case


By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former top aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is among eight men who have been indicted in a bribery and fraud case tied to efforts to spur the upstate economy, federal prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Joseph Percoco, a former executive deputy secretary to Cuomo, was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts each of bribery solicitation, extortion and conspiracy, mirroring charges announced on Sept. 22.

The 14-count indictment also includes new wire fraud charges against several defendants including Alain Kaloyeros, formerly president of the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute.

Kaloyeros still faces a separate conspiracy charge. Cuomo has not been accused of wrongdoing.

Prosecutors said the public corruption case arose from two separate, overlapping schemes in the awarding of hundreds of millions of dollars of contracts.

This included alleged efforts by Percoco and another former Cuomo aide, Todd Howe, to enrich themselves through bribery intended to benefit favored companies. Howe has pleaded guilty.

In one scheme, Percoco was accused of taking $315,000 in bribes in exchange for helping an energy company and real estate developer that were clients of Howe.

The other scheme involved bribes paid to Howe in connection with Buffalo Billion, a $1 billion project that Kaloyeros helped administer and which was intended to revitalize the area around that city, prosecutors said.

Arraignment dates for the eight defendants have not been set.

"This case is a real turkey. We will knock the stuffing out of it at trial," Percoco's lawyer, Barry Bohrer, said in a statement. "Mr. Percoco is innocent and will enter a plea of not guilty."

Michael Miller, a lawyer for Kaloyeros, in a statement said his client is innocent and looks forward to being exonerated.

"Dr. Kaloyeros has dedicated his life to training young scientists, developing cutting-edge research and attracting outstanding tech companies, economic development and jobs to upstate New York," Miller said.

Kaloyeros resigned his SUNY post last month, nearly three weeks after charges were announced.

The case is U.S. v. Percoco et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-mj-06005.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, additional reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)