A construction executive was sentenced to 28 months in prison on Monday for his role in the “Buffalo Billion” bid-rigging scheme.
Louis Ciminelli, former CEO of LPCiminelli, was the first to be sentenced in the scheme, in which he and others helped steer state contracts in Buffalo and Syracuse to LPCiminelli and Cor Development. During the hearing, Manhattan federal Judge Valerie Caproni called Ciminelli “deeply corrupt” and then scolded him for tilting his head in response, the New York Post reported.
“Mr. Ciminelli, you can cock your head and look like you don’t know what I’m talking about, but you do know what I’m talking about,” the judge said. “When you compete for state projects, you are competing for taxpayer dollars. You should be purer than Caesar’s wife.”
Ciminelli maintains his innocence. He, along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s point person on the “Buffalo Billion” program, Alain Kaloyeros, and two Syracuse real estate executives, Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, were convicted in July. Kaloyeros’ conviction marked the second time a member of the Cuomo administration was found guilty in a public corruption case this year. Former Cuomo aide Joe Percoco was the first.
Ciminelli’s sentence is slightly lower than the three years recommended by the court. His attorney had asked the judge for leniency, noting that Ciminelli had been diagnosed with bone cancer and had an estimated eight years to live.
“A three-year sentence … is almost half a life sentence,” lawyer Paul Shechtman told the judge. [NYP] — Kathryn Brenzel