State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office is investigating potential bid-rigging in the development of a dormitory on the campus of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.
SUNY Poly’s CEO Alain Kaloyeros, the state’s highest-paid employee and a major player in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s upstate high-tech development blueprint, is a key focus of the investigation, according to the source.
Subpoenas were issued in September to SUNY Poly as well as its development arm, Fuller Road Management Corp., as well as two Albany-based companies involved in the dorm project, Columbia Development and EYP Architecture & Engineering.
The Attorney General’s subpoenas were not the only ones received by SUNY Poly last fall.
The same month, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara’s office subpoenaed records from the school as part of its investigation into the Buffalo Billion program.
At the time, Cuomo said, “You can have investigations but that does not mean there’s any ‘there’ there, or that anyone did anything wrong.”
This SUNY case mirrored the Buffalo Billion case wherein a bid was rigged for a Cuomo donor to win:
A request-for-proposals issued by the school asked that the dorms be located within a 10-minute walk of SUNY Poly’s Fuller Road campus and required that the developer be based in the Capital Region and have experience in dorm construction.
The requirements matched the abilities of Columbia Development, which had been buying land along Loughlin Street adjacent to the SUNY Poly campus. Columbia is also the lead developer of the $190 million ZEN building on the campus, and the company said that it planned to become a tenant in that building.
SUNY Poly later said that Columbia had won the bid and would likely build three dormitories and parking on land that included the Loughlin Street properties.
Columbia and its various entities have given the governor’s campaign at least $200,000 over the past three years. Half of that sum was donated to Cuomo’s political operation on a single day — June 17, 2014 — by two Columbia LLCs that each made $50,000 donations.
The same day, Nicolla’s wife, Jessica Nicolla, made a $50,000 donation to the governor’s campaign that, according to Board of Elections records, was made using her maiden name and an address in Muncie, Ind., her home town.
The same scam was worked in the Buffalo Billion with LP Ciminelli:
Not content with just building a factory for Solar City, the Cuomo administration appears to have rigged the bid by putting in the RFP (request for proposals) a stipulation that only a company with 50 years in business could bid. Well..... interestingly there is only one company in Buffalo that fit that bill, L.P. Ciminelli. Even more interesting is that Ciminelli is one of Cuomo's top 100 donors. Wow! What a coincidence!Ciminelli was of course a Cuomo donor:
When the information came out about the 50 year requirement the excuse was that it "was a typographical error" and it had been corrected and it should have said 15 years. But, Ciminelli was still awarded the contract.
Take a look at your keyboard. How does someone mistakenly type
50 instead of 15? I believe that excuse like I believe Cuomo supports education or your 2nd amendment rights.
LPCiminelli, whose chairman and chief executive, Louis P. Ciminelli, is a financial backer of Mr. Cuomo’s, was ultimately selected to construct the SolarCity factory.
Records show that the Ciminelli family was supportive of the governor’s campaign during the period when developers were being sought for Buffalo Billion projects.On Nov. 19, 2013, Mr. Cuomo traveled to Buffalo for a fund-raiser. Campaign finance records show that Mr. Ciminelli’s wife provided facilities or services to the Cuomo campaign that day worth $2,350 — known as an in-kind contribution. A Cuomo campaign spokesman said the contribution paid for a private gathering that Mr. Ciminelli hosted for the governor that night.Three weeks later, on Dec. 10, LPCiminelli submitted its proposal for development work as part of the Buffalo Billion. In early January, Mr. Ciminelli and his wife gave more money to the governor — $29,200 in total. Mr. Ciminelli was so generous, he donated more to Mr. Cuomo than was allowed by law, so a portion of his donation was refunded.Later that month, LPCiminelli was selected as one of the winning developers, and would eventually build the SolarCity factory.The subpoena to SUNY Polytechnic sought records related to monetary and in-kind donations to any state elected official.
A pattern of quid pro quo - bid rigging for Cuomo's donors, donations coming Cuomo's way?