A federal grand jury has indicted former area Assemblyman Joseph Errigo and a lobbyist, Robert Scott Gaddy, accusing the pair of of engaging in a bribery scheme.
The indictment was unsealed Monday in federal court during what was to be a routine appearance for Gaddy. The 49-year-old Albany resident with strong political ties to Rochester was arrested in November on charges similar to those in the indictment.
Errigo, who was arrested in October, was not in attendance and attempts to reach his lawyer were unsuccessful. He was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
Grand jurors returned an indictment that leveled six charges against Gaddy and four against Errigo. Gaddy pleaded not guilty.
Both were charged with conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud, and using an interstate commerce facility — namely cellphones and the internet — to carry out illegal activity. Gaddy was additionally charged with agreeing to pay a bribe and paying a bribe.
Maximum penalties for each charge range from five to 20 years in prison, depending on the charge, and a $250,000 fine.
The scheme, according to authorities, was a ruse concocted by the FBI to ferret out corruption, and involved a confidential informant approaching Gaddy with a bribery opportunity involving the controversial Whole Foods supermarket proposal in Brighton.
The informant, identified by sources as former Monroe County Legislature Democratic staffer Joseph Rittler, pretended to represent deep-pocketed people opposed to the supermarket who were willing to pay $15,000 for legislation to stop it.
Gaddy and Errigo split about $10,500 in bribes and, in return, Errigo introduced legislation that could have impeded the project, according to the indictment.
The legislation made no headway in Albany and the FBI has acknowledged in court papers that the scheme was fabricated.