Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Rivera pleads guilty in LDC case

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 5:33 PM

Nelson Rivera, the former information services director for Monroe County, today became the third defendant to take a plea deal in a bid-rigging case involving county-linked local development corporations.

Rivera pleaded guilty to two low-level felony charges during a court appearance this afternoon; he pleaded guilty to two counts of combination in restraint of trade and competition, a criminal offense under the state's General Business Law. He wasn't sentenced today, but under the plea agreement, the state Attorney General's Office will recommend he receive five years' probation and pay a $25,000 fine. Rivera would avoid jail time under the agreement, but would also give up his state pension, including the $45,000-plus he paid into the pension system.

The broader bid-rigging case centers on two quasi-governmental local development corporations: Upstate Telecommunications Corporation and Monroe Security and Safety Systems. The former, UTC, leases office equipment and computer systems to the county while the latter, M3S, upgraded and maintains the county-wide emergency communications system.

Under plea agreement, Rivera admitted his role in a scheme to steer county contracts to the employer of one of the defendants, and later that defendant's own firm. As the county prepared to put an IT contract out to bid, Rivera provided inside information to Dan Lynch knowing that his employer, Siemens Building Technologies, planned to bid on it. Among the information Rivera provided to Lynch: that the county wanted to finance the project through an LDC, a fact that the other 18 bidders were unaware of, according to the plea agreement. Rivera also admitted that he was in charge of the bid selection committee, and that he selected the Siemens proposal. 

Lynch eventually formed his own company, Navitech, to take over the UTC contract from Siemens. And when the county was developing its public safety project, Rivera again provided Lynch with inside information to help his firm win the bid, Rivera admitted.

Lynch is scheduled to go to trial on February 23; he faces numerous felony charges.

The two other defenandants, accountant John Maggio and former Monroe County Water Authority security director Robert Wiesner, have already entered guilty pleas. Wiesner received a conditional discharge, and Maggio will also likely avoid prison time when he's sentenced in the spring.

Executed Rivera Plea Agreement

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