WXXI AM News

Area Officials Not Worried About Impact Of Corruption Probe On Photonics Initiative

Sep 22, 2016

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle calls the developments involving the bribery and fraud case “troubling news.” In terms of any impact on the efforts involving development of a photonics hub in Rochester, the Irondequoit Democrat doesn't sound overly concerned.

He says he had earlier difficulties with SUNY Polytechnic Chief Alain Kaloyeros, when there were disagreements over where to put a photonics headquarters in Downtown Rochester, but that later was resolved, Morelle says, because of objections local officials had about the transparency of the entire process.

“I do think with Kaloyeros being relieved of his responsibilities and with more reliance on the University of Rochester and RIT as the local institutions with the knowledge content, that we’re in good shape, so I don’t expect this will slow down photonics, I don’t think it will have an impact.”

Morelle is concerned about what the new revelations will do to further erode trust in government.

“It underscores once again that if we’re going to have any degree of trust from the public, our work has to be transparent, it has to be open and we have to make sure that we’re fighting for the best value in state dollars.”

Bob Duffy,  President and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce issued a statement which said,

Like so many others, we are just learning details of the charges.  If the news is true, it is very disappointing and any individuals convicted should be held accountable.  I have very firm faith in the justice system and will wait for that process to unfold before making any further comments.  As chairman of the AIM Photonics Leadership Council, the institute remains a strong priority for our community.  I expect it to move forward based upon the strength of its economic development potential and its many public and private partners.”

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-Fairport), issued this statement:

As someone who led the way in delivering this transformational project, I have made my concerns about Alain Kaloyeros known publicly and in private discussions for years. Dr. Kaloyeros had an overwhelming need to be in control, and went so far as to claim that he alone could speak to the Department of Defense. That is clearly not true. I’m working tirelessly to make this the largest and most successful manufacturing institute in the country. That’s why I secured more than $25 million for AIM Photonics in June as part of next year’s federal defense budget and the funding for major equipment purchases was approved that same month. Having Dr. Kaloyeros removed from this project will only benefit this process as we continue working toward its success.”