Local State Lawmakers React To Percoco Guilty Verdict

Nellie Chapman
March 14, 2018

Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was found guilty Tuesday of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and solicitation of bribes, a rebuke of Albany's murky backroom dealings that were laid bare during the almost eight-week trial.

As for the others defendants on trial with Percoco; Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, both executives of the Syracuse construction firm COR Development, Aiello was found guilty of conspiracy and not guilty of solicitation of a bribe.

He was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and one count of soliciting bribes. They say that included a $35,000 payment from Cor Development to secure the governor's help redeveloping a state-owned tract of land in Syracuse known as the Inner Harbor, and a $90,000-a-year "low-show" job for Percoco's wife from Kelly, a former executive at Competitive Power Ventures, to clear hurdles with the state to build power plants. The jury found Percoco received $35,000 in bribes in exchange for helping the company beat back a labor agreement and get reimbursed for funds owed to them by the state.

The judge in the case, Valerie Caproni, declared a mistrial for Kelly. The verdict followed a multi-week trial that put a spotlight on the attempts of several private companies to gain influence with Cuomo, a Democrat who once likened Percoco to a brother.

There was testimony about how administration officials used private email addresses to conduct state business in secret and about how Percoco continued to work out of a state office even after he was supposed to have left government to lead Cuomo's 2014 re-election campaign.

"The suggestion that he knew nothing about it when everybody, everybody understands that he is a micromanager of the first degree", said DeFrancisco.

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And the head of the state's Republican Party, Ed Cox, renewed calls for probes by the Manhattan District Attorney's office and state ethics commission on whether Cuomo himself was involved any wrong doing. A message left with his spokesman following the verdict was not immediately returned.

"The jury has reached a verdict and I respect that decision", Cuomo said.

"By any definition, Albany has a corruption problem", Horner said.

Percoco, once described by the governor as his father Mario's "third son", faces up to 50 years in prison at his sentencing, which is set for June 11. At one point, the key prosecution witness, a long-time lobbyist and supposed bribe-intermediary named Todd Howe, was arrested for credit card fraud, almost blowing up the whole case against Percoco.

Jurors informed the court twice that they were deadlocked in the case against Percoco and three businessmen accused of bribing him.

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