Former Cuomo Economic Guru Sentenced To Prison
NEW YORK (AP) — The former head of the State University of New York's Polytechnic Institute was sentenced Tuesday to 3½ years in prison for his role in corrupting the state's Buffalo Billion project.
Alain Kaloyeros, 62, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by Judge Valerie E. Caproni, who noted that the Beirut-born scientist was "living the American dream" until he wandered into corruption that stretched into the office of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
She also fined him $100,000. The judge said he can remain free on bail pending appeal because there was a substantial legal question that the appeals court must consider.
However, she said he must report to prison two months after the appeals court rules, if it upholds the conviction and sentence.
Kaloyeros, who apologized to New York state residents, was convicted in July of conspiracy and wire fraud.
His lawyers said afterward they still believe him to be "an innocent man."
Kaloyeros was the president of New York's Polytechnic Institute when Cuomo tapped him to help a quest to create high-tech jobs in upstate New York.
His lawyers say Cuomo looked to Kaloyeros for expertise after the administration of Republican ex-Gov. George Pataki successfully teamed up with Kaloyeros years earlier to bring semiconductor manufacturing to the Albany area.
Kaloyeros, who led the Polytechnic Institute until he resigned in October 2016, was convicted in July after prosecutors presented evidence that the bidding process for the project was rigged to benefit a Buffalo developer and a Syracuse development company.
His co-defendants — three developers — were sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to three years.
In a defense submission, lawyers for Kaloyeros urged the judge to consider alternatives to incarceration or as little as four months of incarceration if prison is necessary. They noted his tough life, including being the victim in a terrorist attack in war-torn Beirut and being wounded by shrapnel while driving a Red Cross van of injured militiamen before coming to the United States in 1980 to pursue a doctorate in physics.
They cited their client's longtime dedication to teaching and advising students, and said he had made a difference in their lives and in promoting science education in upstate New York.
Even since his arrest, he has continued to work on research, co-authoring five scientific articles and submitting four patent applications, his lawyers said.
The prosecution of Kaloyeros was part of a broader case that involved bribes paid to a former top aide to Cuomo who ran the governor's 2014 re-election campaign.
Cuomo once called Kaloyeros his "economic guru" and the governor invited him to appear at the announcement of various economic development projects.
Cuomo was not accused of wrongdoing himself in either case, but the corruption allegations have left a cloud over his administration.