What to watch for in Buffalo Billion trial

On Monday, Buffalo businessman Louis Ciminelli, will face trial in federal court in Manhattan, accused of taking part in a scheme to rig the bids for the construction work on the huge factory for SolarCity. Federal prosecutors say Ciminelli and other executives at his company worked with Alain Kaloyeros, the state official in charge of Gov. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, to secretly tailor the bid specifications so their company would get the contract.

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Kaloyeros, who is also facing corruption charges, presided over a system of non-profit organizations that were exempt from the usual state oversight, even as they handed out contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Of the three LPCiminelli executives originally charged, Ciminelli, the company’s former CEO, is the only one who will stand trial. He’s pled not guilty. Another former executive, Kevin Schuler, took a plea deal and is cooperating with prosecutors. Charges against a third, Michael Laipple, were dropped a few weeks ago.