Alain Kaloyeros, the former president of SUNY Polytechnic who made the Capital Region a landmark for high tech job creation and was found guilty of rigging economic development bids, was sentenced on Tuesday to 3-1/2 years in prison.
Kaloyeros is the latest person to be sentenced in a sweeping bribery and fraud case stemming from the Buffalo Billion, an economic development program created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a means of reviving the moribund Western New York economy.
In addition to Kaloyeros, prominent developers Joseph Gerardi, Joseph Aiello and Louis Ciminelli were also found guilty in the bid rigging case and were sentenced earlier this month between 28 months and three years in prison.
In a separate by related case, Joe Percoco, a former close aide to the governor, received six years in prison, while lobbyist John Galbraith Kelly received 14 months in prison.
Cuomo himself has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
His sentencing comes after a host of prominent figures in New York state politics, academia and business defended Kaloyeros and urged leniency.
With his vanity license plate “Dr. Nano,” Kaloyeros had always cut an eccentric figure in the Albany area, becoming a one-man focal point for the development of a massive nanotechnology school adjacent to the University at Albany campus. At one point, he was the highest paid state employee, a status state officials argued was worth the money given his ability to attract business to the state.
Kaloyeros would host President Barack Obama there and received bipartisan praise from governors and state lawmakers who wanted to share credit for the success.
The Capital Region became a hub for high-tech jobs due in large part to an infusion of state cash and tax breaks, giving rise to the GlobalFoundries complex in Malta.
When Cuomo took office, he sought Kaloyeros to replicate the success in other upstate cities, including Buffalo.
In a radio interview with WAMC on Tuesday, Cuomo noted Kaloyeros was picked in part because of his long track record in the Albany area.
“Dr. Kaloyeros served five governors here in the Capital District, he must have worked for 20 years,” he said. “I’m a former DA, I’m a former attorney general, ADA and I believe in the justice system, and let the justice system operate. And I believe in the outcome.”
After the arrest of the developers, Percoco and Kaloyeros, lawmakers called for changes to the oversight of economic development contracts and reforms to the procurement process.
The Cuomo administration instituted its own internal oversight controls after the review of an outside consultant.