Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the guilty plea of Nelson Rivera, the former Chief Information Officer for Monroe County, for working with others to rig the bidding process for multi-million dollar public works contracts in Monroe County. Rivera today entered a guilty plea before The Honorable Dennis M. Kehoe in Monroe County Court to two counts of the class "E" felony charge of Combination in Restraint of Trade and Competition in violation of General Business Law §§ 340 and 341, also known as New York State's Donnelly Act. Based on what was stated on the record in today's court proceedings, it is expected that Rivera will be sentenced to five years of probation, may never again serve as a New York public employee, must pay a $25,000 fine, and will give up his government pension.
"As our audits and investigation uncovered, Mr. Rivera was part of a scheme to rig bids on two multi-million dollar contracts," said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. "The taxpayers of Monroe County deserve better. I thank Attorney General Schneiderman for working with my office to root out this fraud."
"Public employees have a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure that government contracts are awarded fairly and without special treatment," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "Today's guilty plea represents an admission that the defendant broke the law and in doing so violated the public trust."
Rivera was originally indicted in November 2013 along with Daniel Lynch and John Maggio, local businessmen, and Robert Wiesner, former Security Director of the Monroe County Water Authority. The men were charged in the indictment with a scheme to rig the bidding process for a number of multi-million dollar public works contracts in Monroe County. Those contracts included a $99 million contract to provide upgrades and maintenance for the county's IT infrastructure, and a $212 million contract to provide upgrades and maintenance for the County's public safety and security systems.
Rivera today admitted that between March 2004 and approximately October 2013, and again between March 2008 and approximately October 2013, while acting in concert with others, he entered into, engaged in, and continued to engage in a contract, agreement, and combination thereof to restrain competition in the bidding process of Monroe County for the $99 million 2004 IT contract and for the $212 million 2009 public safety contract, by means of bid rigging.
Daniel Lynch, the remaining defendant, is scheduled to proceed to trial on February 23, 2016. The charges against the remaining defendant are allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
This case is the latest investigation conducted as part of Operation Integrity, a joint partnership between the New York State Attorney General and New York State Comptroller to root out waste and abuse in state government. To date, the initiative has resulted in dozens of convictions and more than $9 million in restitution to the state.
The investigation was conducted jointly with State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli's Division of Investigations and Division of Local Government and School Accountability.
Assistant Attorneys General Mary Gorman and Brian McDonald of the Attorney General's Public Integrity Bureau are prosecuting the case, with assistance from analysts Kamla Sookram, Morgan McCollum, and Joseph Conniff. The Public Integrity Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Daniel Cort and Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz. The investigation was handled by Investigators David Buske and Christopher Reidy of the Investigations Bureau, with support from Supervising Investigator Richard Doyle, Deputy Bureau Chief Antoine Karam, and Bureau Chief Dominick Zarrella. Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan leads the Criminal Justice Division.
Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption and encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at [email protected], or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236. Review prior cases at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/investigations/index.htm.