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Ryan assails 'graft and corruption' in SolarCity project

WBFO News file photo

"Pure, old fashioned, graft and corruption." That's how Assemblyman Sean Ryan summarized the indictments handed down in connection with the development of Buffalo's SolarCity project. Nonetheless, Ryan maintains the controversial project holds great value for the region.

"The state was right to invest in Solar City projects because it will be transformative to our local, regional and state economies," Ryan said. He points how hiring is already underway at facility. The construction of the massive plant also helped to employ hundreds of local members of the building trades.

"Unfortunately, it now appears that many individuals sought to personally enrich themselves through the process of state contracts for Solar City and for other projects. This is unacceptable."

In the aftermath of yesterday's revelations, Ryan sees some valuable lessons. He believes planners moved quickly through the process in order to keep up with perceived market demand for solar panels.

"But, with that, a lot of the government controls disappeared. And, without those government controls and without that oversight, greedy behavior, fraudulent behavior and bid rigging came into play."


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.