It’s music to the ears – a beautiful symphony of synchronicity. The chairman of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s board of directors has made a gift of $1 million to the institution he loves.
It was a sort of reverse birthday present: On his 60th birthday, Louis P. Ciminelli opened his wallet and pulled out a million of his own dollars as a gift to the orchestra. It was an extraordinarily generous donation that will push the orchestra closer to its fundraising goal of $30 million.
With his gift, Ciminelli is helping to ensure that the orchestra can remain financially secure for decades to come.
The gift was announced last week at the orchestra’s season-opening gala concert. With it, Ciminelli and the BPO launched a fundraising effort called the Crescendo Campaign with its $30 million goal.
The campaign’s aim is to secure the orchestra’s financial future (in part by reaching out to the youth of Western New York), to fund operational needs and to secure new commitments. Encouragingly, a silent phase of the campaign has already brought in $17 million. Another big gift is pending; the Tower Family Fund has promised to give $1 million if the orchestra secures another $1 million in donations.
This community seems to overflow with generous people who support its critical social and economic infrastructure. With his gift, Ciminelli has shown again that he is among those citizens who go far beyond the extra mile in their devotion to Buffalo.
What a nice story - it comes in the Buffalo News two days after this one:
Federal prosecutor Preet Bharara’s investigation into the Buffalo Billion is part of a larger probe into other development projects, including the Buffalo Schools Construction Project, sources close to the investigation said Friday
The first hint of an investigation by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney came in the form of subpoenas demanding information on several large-scale state initiatives, many of them with close ties to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany.
Sources said the subpoenas went out across the state and seek documents and records regarding the bidding process on those projects, as well as any communication between state officials and private contractors.
The Post, in its story, said Bharara’s office is looking at multimillion-dollar state contracts that led to the construction of high-tech, drug-development and clean-energy businesses.
“It’s a comprehensive look at the bidding process,” a source told the Post. “They’re looking at communications between contractors and state officials.”
Sources familiar with the investigation told The Buffalo News that the subpoenas also demand records and documents connected to the Buffalo Schools Construction Project, an 11-year, $1.3 billion program to renovate 48 city schools.
Even though the renovations are complete, Buffalo school board members Carl Paladino and Larry Quinn have criticized the fixed-price contract used on the project and suggested tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money remain unaccounted for.
LP Ciminelli, the chief contractor on the schools project, called the criticism part of a personal vendetta directed at Louis P. Ciminelli, the company’s chairman and CEO.
Ciminelli, a major contributor to Cuomo’s political campaigns, is also the general contractor on SolarCity, a $900 million solar panel factory being built at South Buffalo’s RiverBend complex. The plant is the centerpiece of Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion.
Daniel C. Oliverio, a well-known white-collar defense attorney, confirmed he’s representing Ciminelli but declined to comment on Bharara’s investigation.
Yes, Buffalo is a community that seems to overflow with generous people.
Ciminelli in particular is very generous.
He's also given money to education causes like scholarships and education institutions.
Of course it's easy to be so generous when you're on the other end of a $1.3 billion dollar school construction renovation project that's reported to be missing tens of millions of dollars in funds and a rigged bidding process for a $900 million factory that is the centerpiece of Governor Cuomo's Western New York economic redevelopment plan.
And of course some of the generosity of the community returns to you when you're so generous to politicians like Governor Cuomo with campaign donations and campaign propaganda in the form of opinion pieces touting the governor's economic agenda for Buffalo in the newspaper.
You have to be "generous" to enjoy generosity in return.
This chart at Little Sis shows how this all works.
Here's part of what Ciminelli wrote in his propaganda piece for Governor Cuomo in June 2014:
It’s time for us to shed the self-doubt and allow ourselves to dream and to appreciate living in the moment that saw this community head down the right path. We are at the beginning of something great and it’s time we embrace it – and thank Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for making it happen.
Unlike previous leaders who would blow into town to announce some pie-in-the-sky initiative, usually around election time, and then leave to never be seen again (at least not until the next election) Cuomo laid out a vision and then actually followed through.
The Buffalo Billion initiative was met with skepticism in some corners. But then the governor came back to town … again and again and again. He remained committed to creating a new, sustainable economy in Buffalo. And now it’s happening.
Buffalo is now on the cusp of becoming a national leader in several emerging market sectors. From the Medical Innovation and Commercialization Hub at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, to the IT Innovation and Commercialization Hub anchored by IBM to the High-Tech Innovation and Commercialization Hub at RiverBend, this is real economic development that many business leaders and economic development professionals long hoped for but seemed to happen only in other places.
I can attest as I travel across the state and nation, people are taking notice of what Cuomo is doing. Maybe that’s why companies not only on the other side of the country but on the other side of the globe now want to be in Buffalo.
Perhaps the easiest way to judge progress is to count the number of cranes. Right now, there are three large tower cranes in Buffalo working day and night on projects. There could be two more by year’s end. To those outside construction, that might not mean much, but trust me, it’s a big deal.
So, fellow Buffalonians, allow yourselves to get a little excited. Things are happening. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion is delivering and there is more to come.
There's more to come, all right.
With the feds looking into Ciminelli for both the Buffalo Billion project and the Buffalo Schools Construction project, perhaps we'll start to understand just how all the money and contracts got doled out, what was given in return, and, if some of the cash is proven to be missing as is alleged in the Buffalo Schools Contruction Project, just where it went.
And maybe, just maybe, we'll get a better glimpse of the shadiness at the core of Cuomo's Buffalo Billion project.