ROCHESTER – Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the guilty plea of Robert Wiesner, the former Security Director for the Monroe County Water Authority, for working with others to rig the bidding process for a multi-million dollar public works contract in Monroe County. Wiesner today entered a guilty plea before The Honorable Dennis M. Kehoe in Monroe County Court to 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 a violation of New York State’s Donnelly Act.
Wiesner was originally indicted in November 2013 along with Daniel Lynch and John Maggio, local businessmen, and Nelson Rivera, a former Monroe County public official. 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. One of those contracts included a $212 million public safety contract to provide upgrades to the County’s public safety and security systems.
"Mr. Wiesner's felony conviction holds him accountable for his criminal conduct," State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said. "This reaffirms the need for transparency and accountability in the use of LDCs. I thank Attorney General Schneiderman for his continued partnership in the fight against public corruption."
“The process for awarding contracts is supposed to be fair, competitive, and unbiased,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Today’s plea is an important step toward restoring trust in the process and confidence that taxpayer funds are being spent fairly and for their intended purpose.”
Wiesner today admitted that he acted in concert with others between March 2008 and approximately October 2013, by entering into, engaging in, and continuing to engage in a contract, agreement, and combination thereof to restrain competition in the bidding process of Monroe County for the $212 million public safety contract, by means of bid rigging.
As part of a plea agreement, today Wiesner paid a $5,000 fine and forfeited $3,000 of illegal gain from his crime. Wiesner was sentenced by Judge Kehoe today to a three-year conditional discharge.
The remaining defendants are scheduled to proceed to trial on February 23, 2016. The charges against the remaining defendants 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 Comptroller and New York State Attorney General 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. 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.