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Corrupt lobbyist too crooked to testify in trial of SUNY school head accused of bid-rigging scam


Federal prosecutors won't call on Todd Howe to testify in the upcoming trial against a former SUNY Polytechnic Institute head. (Will Waldron/AP)

A crooked lobbyist outed as a corrupt, habitual liar during a trial over Albany's culture of corruption will not testify in a related case alleging bid-rigging for lucrative state development contracts.

Todd Howe was thrown in jail in February after it emerged — while he was on the stand — that he'd tried to defraud his credit card company after signing a cooperation agreement with prosecutors.

Howe had testified against Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to Gov. Cuomo.

Percoco was convicted but Howe's credibility was destroyed. That presented a problem for the Manhattan Federal prosecutors preparing for the upcoming trial against Alain Kaloyeros, the former head of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and execs from two upstate New York development companies, the Syracuse-based Cor Development Corp. and Buffalo company, LPCiminelli.

On Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Zhou confirmed prosecutors would not call Howe during a discussion about the length of a trial currently scheduled to begin June 11.

"We're not planning to call Mr. Howe," Zhou said.

Howe had testified against Joseph Percoco (pictured), a former top aide to Gov. Cuomo.
Howe had testified against Joseph Percoco (pictured), a former top aide to Gov. Cuomo. (Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News)

Howe's absence could shave off a week or two from the trial that was estimated to last four to six weeks.

"I'm proud that the U.S. Attorney's office has concluded, albeit belatedly, that Todd Howe is not worthy of belief," said Paul Shechtman, an attorney for former LPCiminelli executive Louis Ciminelli.

Kaloyeros is charged with rigging the bidding process — known as a "request for proposals" or RFP — in favor of the two development companies.

"The government's theory is the whole thing was a charade to give no-bid contracts to Cor and LPCiminelli," Judge Valerie Caproni said. "Then they covered it up with this whole Kabuki Theater of an RFP process."

In an apparently related move, over the weekend prosecutors said in papers they would not pursue bribery charges against former Cor executives Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi and former LPCiminelli executives Louis Ciminelli and Michael Laipple.