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Top LPCiminelli executives resign, in face of bid-rigging charges

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Criminal charges against three top executives of Buffalo developer LPCiminelli have led to the corporate resignations of all three.

CEO Louis Ciminelli remains an owner and his son Frank Ciminelli II will take over management of the firm. Also quitting are top executives Kevin Schuler and Michael Laipple.

The three are charged in alleged bid-rigging over hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts, specifically construction of the SolarCity plant in South Buffalo, as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Buffalo Billion initiative. The three men were among several people charged over a series of state projects, including former SUNY Polytechnic Institute president and CEO Alain Kaloyeros.

The moves are said to be part of an effort to restore public confidence in the company. LPCiminelli has also brought in retired FBI agent Paul Moskal to conduct a risk assessment of the firm and a compliance program to teach all employees about compliance with rules and ethics training.

In a written statement, the company cited businesspeople who praised Ciminelli work. So does Greenleaf Development President Jim Swiezy.

"I do have a relationship with Frank Ciminelli, who is Lou's son, and that's who we talked with once my Campus Walk project started coming to fruition," said Swiezy. "And they put together the scope of the project and cost estimates and things like that and we decided to move forward with them."

Greenleaf is building a 318-bed apartment complex next to Buffalo State College, a $25 million project with an aggressive schedule to be open for the fall semester. Swiezy said he has a strong professional relationship with Frank Ciminelli because the executive is in charge of building Campus Walk. He is happy with Ciminelli's work and the project is on-time and on-budget.