US Attorney details alleged pay-to-play scheme
ROCHESTER — A former Assemblyman and the lobbyist he allegedly conspired with have been indicted on corruption charges in federal court, and will now face trial on six counts.
U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced Monday that a federal grand jury has returned a six count indictment charging New York State Assemblyman Joseph A. Errigo, 79, of Conesus, and Lobbyist Robert Scott Gaddy, 48, of Albany, with conspiracy, receiving a bribe concerning programs receiving federal funds, honest services wire fraud and using a facility in interstate commerce to carry on and facilitate unlawful activity.
Defendant Gaddy is also charged with agreeing to pay a bribe concerning programs receiving federal funds and offering and paying a bribe concerning programs receiving federal funds. The charges carry a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Field, who is handling the case, stated that according to the indictment and a previously filed complaint, Gaddy, a lobbyist registered with the State of New York, owns and operates the lobbying firm Excelsior Advocates, LLC. At various times, Excelsior Advocates maintained lobbying contracts with the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, and the Rochester City School District.
During an investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption involving a large re-development project in the City of Rochester, the FBI identified potential corrupt acts by Gaddy and various public officials. As a result, Special Agents began an investigation into the relationship between Gaddy and Assemblyman Errigo.
Working with an individual known to the FBI, Special Agents arranged for that individual to approach Gaddy about paying a bribe to "Member A", a member other than Errigo, in order to introduce certain legislation.
On Sept. 4, 2017, the individual met with Gaddy who and stated that he represented a wealthy client who wanted to stop the proposed development in Monroe County and was willing to pay $15,000 in order to do so. The defendant responded, “Yeah . . . yeah, no problem.” Over the next few weeks, the individual met with Gaddy to discuss and plan the bribery scheme, including the roles of Assemblyman Joseph Errigo and Member A.
On February 9, 2018, Gaddy allegedly arranged for a meeting between the individual and Errigo at Errigo’s Pittsford office. During that meeting, the individual gave $1,500 cash to Errigo and $2,500 to Gaddy. On March 16, 2018, the individual gave Errigo another $2,000, according to the FBI.
On March 27, 2018, Errigo introduced a bill consisting of the proposed legislation, which was assigned bill number A10227. The individual paid Gaddy another $2,000. On April 13, 2018, the individual paid Errigo another $2,000. The individual paid Errigo and Gaddy a total of $10,500 to obtain the introduction of proposed legislation in the New York State Assembly, and begin the process of obtaining passage of a State law.
Errigo and Gaddy allegedly used cellular telephones and the internet to carry out their bribery activities.
Gaddy was arraigned Monday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson and was released on conditions. Assemblyman Errigo will be arraigned on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 9 a.m. before Judge Payson.
“Citizens deserve to have representatives who act in the public’s interest, not for their own personal financial gain,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Today’s indictment represents one way to continue to remind those who seek to undertake legislative acts in exchange for the payment of bribes and in hopes of personal financial gain of what laws that exist for the public interest provide.”
“Bribery crimes are fueled by greed and power,” said Gary Loeffert, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI's Buffalo Office. “When a person or group can simply buy legislation from a public official, it corrupts our system of government, and the community and constituents pay the price.”
The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert.
Errigo (R-Conesus) represented the 133rd New York State Assembly District, covering Livingston County and parts of Steuben and Monroe Counties. He was elected in 2016, and was defeated for re-election in 2018 by Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes.