The Southern District corruption trial involving a Buffalo-based developer resumed Monday following the Fourth of July holiday.
U.S. vs. Kaloyeros, also known as the “Buffalo Billion corruption trial” centers around highly lucrative state construction bids, which the government claims were fixed and tailored to fit COR Development in Syracuse and LP Ciminelli in Buffalo.
Closing arguments began Monday and wrapped up Tuesday.
Wednesday, six male and six female jurors began deliberations in the wire fraud and conspiracy case against Buffalo developer Louis Ciminelli, Syracuse developers Joseph Gerardi and Steven Aiello, and the founder of SUNY Polytechnic, Dr. Alain Kaloyeros.
All four men are accused of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit to wire fraud.
Additionally, Joseph Gerardi is accused of lying to federal officials, which is attorney denies.
Federal prosecutors claim the developers worked with their then-consultant Todd Howe, a former aide to Governor Cuomo, and Dr. Kaloyeros, to rig the open-bidding process for RFPs in Buffalo and in Syracuse.
Howe became a government witness in a connected corruption case and was later arrested for violating terms of his agreement deal.
The project at the center of this case is the $750 million Innovation Hub at the Buffalo’s River Bend, awarded to LP Ciminelli.
The attorneys for all four defendants said in court the RFP process for both Syracuse and Buffalo was fair and competitive, and that their clients are innocent; the prosecution painted a picture for jurors of men who didn’t want to play by the rules.
A key government witness in this case is Kevin Schuler, a former executive at LP Ciminelli, who admitted to tailoring the RFPs along with her former boss Louis Ciminelli and Kaloyeros, who oversaw many upstate development projects at the time.
Jurors will resume deliberations Thursday morning.
News 4’s Jenn Schanz is in lower Manhattan covering this case.