Corruption charges unveiled in NY

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Bharara emphasized that he was not accusing Gov. Andrew Cuomo of any wrongdoing, despite the involvement of one of Cuomo's closest aides, Joseph Percoco.

There's Herb - the affectionate nickname given to Joe Percoco, a former aide to Cuomo that the governor has referred to as a brother. Like my father before me, I believe public integrity is paramount.

As executive deputy secretary to the governor, prosecutors allege, Percoco abused "his official position and extensive influence within the executive branch by seeking and accepting bribe payments from executives at companies that were seeking benefits and business from the state in exchange for use of Percoco's official authority and influence to benefit those companies".

It said one scheme involved efforts by Percoco, Cuomo's "right-hand-man", to obtain bribes from company executives, which he sometimes funneled through bank accounts and a shell company Howe set up. The New York Times reports that Howe has been cooperating with the investigation.

"If the allegations are true, I am saddened and profoundly disappointed", Cuomo said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the public's trust in government erodes. If anything, a friend should be held to an even higher standard.

In a statement, Howe's attorney, Richard Morvillo, said his client "has accepted responsibility for his actions and will testify truthfully if he is called upon". The apparent conflict-of-interest tied to the NY governor troubled the company's CEO, but Kelly agreed to a Thursday meeting at Percoco's house to discuss the job, according to the emails flagged in the complaint. COR was a major donor to Cuomo, giving his campaign $500,000 this year, and more than $300,000 since he became governor in 2010.

Percoco is accused of taking bribes upwards of $315,000 between 2012 and 2016.

Also being charged today: president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute Alain Kaloyeros, whose 2014 state salary was just short of $1 million. Those bribes were allegedly arranged by Howe.

Percoco and five of the six charged with him were arrested Thursday morning.

Others charged in the probe were two top upstate developers, Steven Aiello of Syracuse and Louis Ciminelli of Buffalo. LPCiminelli said company officials "acted appropriately and legally" and will be vindicated.

Ciminelli and COR didn't respond to requests for comment.

The charges are the result of a lengthy federal investigation into business practices inside the governor's office.

Kaloyeros is scheduled to be arraigned in Albany City Court on Friday.

They are accused of paying Percoco $35,000 in "exchange for Percoco's assistance for the Syracuse developer on an as-needed basis".

Kaloyeros has always been one of the highest paid state employees, bringing in close to $1 million annually.

The state will change the way it awards future projects, Cuomo said.

Kaloyeros and an Albany-area developer named in the indictment, Joseph Nicolla of Columbia Development, are alleged to have colluded in order to ensure that Nicolla's company would win the bids to build facilities at SUNY Polytechnic. According to the felony complaint, Kaloyeros' compensation was determined in part by the amount of research grants awarded to SUNY Poly.

Prosecutors unsealed a 79-page indictment on Thursday that names Joseph Percoco and Todd Howe, Cuomo's former advisers, as defendants. "Today, there's an excitement about the future of West New York", the agent said.