Buffalo Billion trial to begin

Louis Ciminelli

NEW YORK — Buffalo developer Louis Ciminelli was not spared a prison term on Monday.

Instead a federal court judge in Manhattan sentenced the construction magnate and political donor to 28 months behind bars and a half million dollar fine for his conviction in a bid-rigging scheme tied to the Buffalo Billion economic redevelopment program.

Ciminelli, a pair of Syracuse developers and one of Governor Andrew Cuomo's top economic development aides were all convicted of participating in a pay-to-play scheme following a month-long jury trial.

Prosecutors charged that Ciminelli won a half million dollar contract to build the new Tesla Solar City plant at Riverbend after the bid specifications for the project were tailored to eliminate any competition.