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Charles W. Berndt, C. W. Berndt Associates Ltd.
Adam Giandomenico, Particles Plus Inc.
Scott Mackler, Cleanroom Consulting LLC
Gregg A. Mosley, Biotest Laboratories Inc.
Robert Nightingale, Cleanroom Garments
Bipin Parekh, Ph. D., Entegris Inc.
Michael Rataj, Aramark Cleanroom Services
Howard Siegerman, Ph. D., Siegerman and Associates LLC
Scott Sutton, Ph. D., Microbiology Network Inc.
Art Vellutato, Jr., Veltek Associates Inc.
Bob Vermillion, CPP/Fello w, RMV Technology Group LLC
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Vol. 19 • No. 4
Nano Scandal in Upstate NY?
Upstate New York, once hailed as the “new Silicon Valley” because of its rapidly growing technology sector, has come under scrutiny lately as Governor Andrew Cuomo and some of his colleagues have been faced with corruption accusations.
Billions of dollars have been pumped into programs such as
Nano Utica and Buffalo Billion, designed to bring jobs and new
factories to the northern part of New York — once a strong economic hub due to the Erie Canal and the presence of large companies such as Xerox and Kodak, the region has experienced
a slump in recent years after companies pulled out of the area and local engineering
graduates decided to pack up and move elsewhere once they obtained their degrees.
However, big-name companies such as Corning Inc., GE, and IBM (more on them
in a minute, though) have stuck around. GLOBALFOUNDRIES, the world’s first
full-service semiconductor foundry, launched in 2009. SolarCity, chaired by Elon
Musk of Tesla Motors, is planning to open a large facility in the Buffalo area. The
region is also home to SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE)
— the first college in the world dedicated to education, research, development, and
deployment in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobiosci-ence, and nanoeconomics. Additionally, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy is the
country’s oldest technical university.
Back in May, though, it was revealed that Cuomo’s former senior aide and campaign manager, Joseph Percoco, earned at least $70,000 in consulting fees in 2014
from two entities that do business with the state. Authorities are investigating to see if
Percoco and his wife failed to declare tens of thousands of dollars in income that they
allegedly received from a design and engineering company that worked on projects,
including SolarCity. (Percoco left Cuomo’s administration in late 2015 to become
Senior Vice President of Madison Square Garden in New York City.)
The governor’s upstate revitalization programs are currently under federal investigation for improper lobbying and conflicts of interest. An unnamed source recently
told the New York Post that IBM has stopped all new investments and hiring until
the probes are concluded. The same source also claimed that a Japanese clean-energy
company, which had planned to spend $1.5 billion in a project in Binghamton, has
also withdrawn. Another source says that the SolarCity project may experience layoffs
due to lack of payments.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating several state economic development
deals handled by nonprofits. Gov. Cuomo shifted power to these nonprofits from
state agencies responsible for making deals and managing projects, in a new opaque
management model for the upstate development program. These nonprofits are affiliated with the state university system (SUNY), and aren’t required to undergo the same
checks and balances as other state economic development agencies. The nonprofits
are also saying they’re exempt from transparency measures such as the Freedom of
Information Law. When asked by reporters about economic development contract
being awarded to politically connected campaign contributors, Cuomo said that
SUNY made those decisions, “and I had absolutely nothing to do with it.”
Read more about this developing story at
http://bit.ly/28WwbJ8, http://bit.ly/28ZlE2t, and