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Local lawmaker, government watchdog representative respond to Kaloyeros conviction

July 12, 2018 11:28 PM

Alain Kaloyeros, former president of SUNY Polytechnic and top aid to Governor Andrew Cuomo, was convicted on two counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy on Thursday.

The jury found him guilty of rigging bids for state-funded construction jobs in Buffalo and Syracuse to favor contractors who were allied with Gov.Cuomo.

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Kaloyeros is one of four people convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy on Thursday. Two of those defendants, Joseph Gerardi and Steve Aiello were also convicted in the Joseph Percoco case in March.

Local lawmakers and government watchdog groups are now saying it's time for the state legislature to do something.

"It's another earthquake, political earthquake in Albany,” Executive Director of New York Public Interest Research Group.

Horner said Kaloyeros' conviction should make New Yorkers feel bad. He said that's because after Percoco's conviction in March, corruption is seemingly widespread across New York.

"This is a huge problem and the governor and the legislature is not even trying to deal with it,” Horner said. “We think that they should and they should come back specially to come back to deal with this.”

Assemblyman John McDonald (D-Cohoes) agrees.

"What this truly should do is set a heightened urgency that we need to go back and review this process and include the state comptroller in the review of these contracts,” McDonald said. "It's something that was in place several years ago it was taken away during the budget process to expedite projects, but obviously it's one thing to expedite projects but not at public expense."

Horner said both the Senate and Assembly have come up with proposals looking to prevent corruption, but weren't able to come to a consensus. He believes there are three things they need to work out as soon as possible.

"Strengthen independent oversight over independent contractors, have a more transparent process, eliminate the secrecy,” Horner said “And thirdly, limit campaign contributions from those seeking government contracts.”

SUNY Press Secretary Holly Liapis released this statement in response to the Kaloyeros conviction:

“The verdict confirms that Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, former president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, breached the public trust. This is unacceptable of any public servant, but especially one who was trusted with leading a world-class public institution.

“Since the time these charges came to light, SUNY Poly has instituted significant protocols to reform its operations, oversight, and transparency. SUNY continues to reform its policies and procedures in order to restore the public’s trust in our world-class polytechnic institution.

“It is imperative we do not allow the actions of one person to distract from the educational mission, ground-breaking research, and academic operation of SUNY Poly or negatively impact the thousands of students, faculty, researchers, and staff the campus serves.

“We are proud of the ground-breaking work being done at SUNY Poly especially in nanotechnology and silicon integrated photonics that led to the fabrication at scale of the world’s smallest transistor. SUNY Poly will continue its mission to serve the people of the State.

“Dr. Kaloyeros was suspended without pay immediately upon arrest in September 2016. Shortly thereafter, he resigned his position as president of SUNY Poly. Following the Federal District Court’s verdict, SUNY will now seek his removal from his tenured faculty position.”

Gov. Cuomo issued this statement in response:

"The jury has spoken and justice has been done. There can be no tolerance for those who seek to defraud the system to advance their own personal interests. Anyone who has committed such an egregious act should be punished to the full extent of the law."

Sentencing for all four men is scheduled for October.

Credits

Emily Burkhard

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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