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Exec Admits To Pay-For-Play Scheme With Former Cuomo Aide From Westchester

Peter Galbraith "Braith" Kelly
Peter Galbraith "Braith" Kelly Photo Credit: File photo

A former executive at a Hudson Valley-headquartered power plant pleaded guilty to bribery for his role in a pay-to-play scheme involving a Northern Westchester resident and former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Former Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) executive Peter Kelly, 54, admitted in Manhattan Federal Court on Friday that to further his relationship with South Salem resident Joseph Percoco, he helped hire Percoco's wife to a $90,000, low-show job at CPV. 

The guilty plea entered by Kelly, who is known as "Braith" and is a resident of Canterbury, Conn., was for defrauding CPV by misrepresenting that Percoco had obtained state ethics approval for his wife to work at Middletown-based CPV. His plea was for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

“Braith Kelly was involved in a criminal scheme to bribe of one of the most powerful men in New York in exchange for favorable treatment for his energy company," U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Geoffrey Berman said. "Corruption in Albany casts a shadow over the many honest public servants who do good work in the administration of government, and deprives the citizens of New York of the honest representation they deserve.”

According to the evidence introduced at trial, other proceedings in this case, and documents previously filed in Manhattan federal court: 

  • Kelly ran monthly payments to Percoco and his wife through a consultant who worked for the Energy Company in order to disguise the source of the payments.
  • Kelly also made sure that Percoco’s wife’s photograph and full name were not included in promotional materials for the Energy Company, and he falsely told his superiors at the Energy Company – on two separate occasions – that Percoco had obtained an ethics opinion from the Governor’s Office approving of Percoco’s wife’s employment with the Energy Company, when in fact no such opinion existed. 
  • For his part, Percoco concealed the criminal scheme by failing to include the Energy Company as the source of payments on his State-mandated financial disclosure forms. 

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greatest of $250,000, twice the gross pecuniary gain derived from the offense, or twice the gross pecuniary loss to persons other than the defendant resulting from the offense. 

Kelly is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 28.

Percoco was convicted on March 13 after an eight-week jury trial of soliciting and accepting bribes in return for taking official state action to benefit CPV and Syracuse-based real estate developer COR Development. Percoco is scheduled to be sentenced on June 11.

After that trial, co-defendants Percoco and Steven Aiello were convicted of charges relating to bribery.  The jury was deadlocked on the charges against Kelly.

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