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'Buffalo Billions' Official Convicted Of Bid Rigging, Gets Jail Time

ALBANY, NY (WSKG) - The former head of key economic development programs for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, including the Buffalo Billion, was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison by a federal judge Tuesday.

Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, who was convicted in July of bid-rigging and other corruption charges, was sentenced Tuesday in Manhattan federal court by Judge Valerie Caproni. She also fined him $100,000.

The judge said Kaloyeros can remain free on bail pending appeal because there was a substantial legal question that the appeals court must consider.

However, she said he must report to prison two months after the appeals court rules, if it upholds the conviction and sentence.

Kaloyeros, who apologized to New York state residents, was convicted in July of conspiracy and wire fraud.

His lawyers said afterward that they still believe him to be "an innocent man.''

Kaloyeros was found guilty of helping steer hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded state contracts to favored developers.

The developers, Louis Ciminelli of Buffalo and Steven Aiello and Joe Gerardi of COR Development in Syracuse, all were sentenced to at least two years in prison earlier this month.

Kaloyeros, a Lebanese immigrant who survived the civil war in that country, rose to head the SUNY Polytechnic Institute. He is credited with jump-starting the nanotech industry in upstate New York.

Cuomo, who once called Kaloyeros his “economic guru” and a “genius,” said at the time of Kaloyeros’ conviction that he should be “punished to the full extent of the law.”

Cuomo was not implicated in the trials and said he did not know the bid-rigging was going on.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said:

“The Buffalo Billion program is an economic initiative intended to stimulate economic growth, and ultimately benefit the people of New York. But a well-connected group of Albany insiders exploited the project to benefit themselves instead. By manipulating the application process for awarding bids, these men effectively corrupted the bidding process to ensure that companies with which they had financial interests would be awarded the lucrative work. Public corruption — especially at such a disconcertingly high level in Albany — contributes to the frustration and eroding faith of the people of New York in the integrity of their government."