23 September 2016
United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, announced corruption charges against two former close aides to New York Governor, Andrew M. Cuomo – Joseph Percoco and Todd R. Howe.Joseph Percoco was Governor Cuomo’s deputy executive secretary. He ran the Governor’s campaign in 2014. Todd Howe was a former Cuomo aide turned lobbyist. He pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the corruption probe by Preet Bharara.
They were charged with taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from companies seeking state-funded contracts incubated by the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, designed to take advantage of Cuomo’s $1 billion program to revitalize the economy of Buffalo, New York.
Alain Kaloyeros, the president of Polytechnic, was also charged. Percoco and his wife allegedly took $315,00 in bribes from a real-estate developer and an energy firm looking for state contracts. According to the complaint filed, Kaloyeros allegedly worked with Howe to rig bids so that two real-estate developers got lucrative deals. The developers were asked to make large donations to Cuomo’s re-election campaign.  There is no indication in the court papers that the governor was aware.
According to the papers, the charges come from “two overlapping criminal schemes involving bribery, corruption, and fraud in the award of hundreds of millions of dollars in State contracts and other official State benefits.”
The charges hit Mr. Cuomo indirectly because Percoco and Howe were both loyalists of Mr. Cuomo and his father, Governor Mario M. Cuomo, for whom they had also worked. Andrew Cuomo once referred to Mr. Percoco as “my father’s third son, who I sometimes think he loved the most.”Andrew Cuomo once referred to Mr. Percoco as “my father’s third son, who I sometimes think he loved the most.”
In a statement, Cuomo said he was “saddened and profoundly disappointed” by the allegations involving Percoco. “Like my father before me, I believe public integrity is paramount,” Cuomo said. “This sort of breach, if true, should be and will be punished.”