Federal corruption charges were announced Thursday against two former close aides to New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a senior state official and six others, in a devastating blow to the governor’s innermost circle and a repudiation of how his prized upstate economic development programs were managed, says the New York Times. The charges against the former aides, Joseph Percoco and Todd R. Howe, and the state official, Alain Kaloyeros, were the culmination of a long-running federal investigation into the Cuomo administration’s attempts to lure jobs and businesses to upstate New York’s limping economy by furnishing billions of dollars in state funds to developers from Buffalo to Albany. Howe is cooperating with the investigation, according to a 79-page criminal complaint.
The charges stemmed from “two overlapping criminal schemes involving bribery, corruption and fraud in the award of hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts and other official state benefits,” federal prosecutors said in the complaint. Percoco, who had served as Mr. Cuomo’s executive deputy secretary, is accused of soliciting and taking more than $315,000 in bribes between 2012 and 2016 from two companies. The bribes were arranged by Howe. In emails and other correspondence, Percoco and Howe referred to the bribes as “ziti,” according to the complaint.