Back in March, a former top aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Joseph Percoco, was convicted of accepting more than $300,000 in bribes. His downfall revealed how companies in upstate New York are doing whatever they can to get a piece of Cuomo's lucrative state contracts. Percoco is due to be sentenced on July 20th, and he faces up to 20 years in jail. Now, Cuomo's "economic guru," Alain E. Kaloyeros, is on trial for rigging the system that awarded state contracts to private companies. Prosecutors charged him with improperly awarding more than $600 million in state contracts to companies that have donated to Cuomo's campaign.

So who are Percoco and Kaloyeros, and why is there so much (alleged) corruption around this upstate revitalization project?

Joe Percoco was hired right out of college as an aide for Governor Mario Cuomo, and stayed with the family for 30 years, Newsday reports. He worked for Andrew Cuomo when he was secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and was Cuomo's top assistant until 2016. Percoco was considered the muscle, the enforcer, and Cuomo likened him to a brother. During his trial, star government witness Todd Howe, a former lobbyist who pleaded guilty to embezzlement and tax fraud, said that Percoco and Cuomo spoke almost daily. Fun fact: Howe was the one who originally hired Percoco to work for Mario Cuomo.

Prosecutors charged Percoco with pressuring an energy company that recieved state contracts into giving his wife a job. The New York Times reports "Ms. Toscano-Percoco was paid a yearly salary of $90,000, for a total of about $285,000, to teach schoolchildren about energy. She was given the job by a CPV executive, Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr., one of Mr. Percoco’s co-defendants in the trial." In these dealings, Percoco came up with a code word for money, one that he swiped from The Sopranos: ziti.

During the investigation into Percoco, when he was technically not a state employee, but working as a member of Cuomo's reelection campaign, Cuomo said, "I knew he might be accepting consulting arrangements with other companies but beyond that no....When you leave state government you can work in the private sector and represent private sector companies. Yes, that's totally allowable."

Kaloyeros was once New York's highest paid state employee, developing deals for millions of outside investment dollars for SUNY's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. He loved his Ferraris, expensive suits, and posting sexist jokes on Facebook. After Cuomo's election in 2011, Kaloyeros hired Howe to advise him on how to curry favor with the governor. It worked, and Kaloyeros ended up leading the Buffalo Billion project, which awarded millions of state dollars for tech and energy investment in upstate New York. But in September of 2016, he was arrested and charged with fixing bids for companies that donated to Cuomo's campaign.

According to the federal complaint, while Kaloyeros was paying Howe $25,000 a month as a consultant, Howe was also working for Syracuse developer COR Development and Buffalo developer LPCiminelli. Howe was paid $14,000 a month by COR, and a little under $8,500 a month by LPCiminelli. While Howe was forwarding COR and LPCiminelli confidential emails about the bidding process, Kaloyeros was allegedly working to make sure that the companies selected would get no-bid contracts for future projects. Meanwhile, the heads of the two companies and their families began pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into Cuomo's campaign coffers. These donations are not illegal under New York State law.

Meanwhile, Howe and Kaloyeros were allegedly working with the two companies to manipulate the bid requests, in order to tailor it to the qualifications of COR and LPCiminelli and disqualify other companies from bidding. "Please gmail not email," Kaloyeros wrote in one of the email chains, in order to keep this all private.

COR went on to build a $15 million film studio and a $90 million factory in Syracuse, and Howe received a $385,000 bonus for his efforts. LPCiminelli was selected to build a $225 million manufacturing plant in Buffalo, a contract that eventually grew to $750 million.

Howe was arrested and jailed back in February after admitting that he had violated the term of his cooperation deal, which stated that he "commit no further crimes whatsoever." (Howe admitted to attempting to defraud a credit card company.) In Howe's testimony in the Percoco case, he revealed that these projects mattered a great deal to Cuomo. When a deal for a proposed new basketball stadium in Syracuse fell apart, Cuomo took it out on Howe, and began yelling at him during a meeting, Howe testified.

Kaloyeros's trial is still going on, but Cuomo, who is running for re-election (and is just fine keeping Donald Trump's campaign donations) told NY1 that he"hasn't been following the trial that closely." And he has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

“It’s no secret that we’re a hard-charging administration, which is what has been needed to break through the gridlock that paralyzed New York for decades,” Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said in a recent statement to the Times.

In 2016, after the allegations against Kaloyeros came to light, Cuomo vowed to create and appoint Inspector Generals for SUNY and CUNY to investigate conflict of interest and corruption and "appoint a Chief Procurement Officer for the Executive branch" to monitor for conflicts of interest. He also said that he would order his campaign not to accept campaign contributions from companies bidding for state contracts. "Those are the actions I can take under my own authority," he said. "It is time for action, not words."

But he has not taken action on any of these promised changes, and still accepts campaign contributions from companies that actively bid for state projects. When the the Times Union recently asked about it, Cuomo's spokewoman Abbey Fashouer blamed the state legislature.