Contractors working on Tesla’s solar manufacturing plant in Buffalo, New York are receiving payments late due to corruption charges filed against Buffalo contractor LPCiminelli.
The contractors have not been paid for work done between July and through the Fall, the Buffalo News first reported. Howard Zemsky, the president of Empire State Development, wrote in a statement to the Buffalo News that the payment process is undergoing close examination because of the corruption charges, but that everyone will be paid.
Tesla is not responsible for paying the contractors.
The state of New York is spending $750 million on the Buffalo plant as part of an economic revitalization project called the Buffalo Billion initiative spearheaded by Governor Andrew Cuomo. SolarCity pledged $150 million toward the plant.
The Empire State Development did not return Business Insider’s request for comment. LPCiminelli declined to comment.
Tesla and Panasonic will manufacture and produce solar cells at the Buffalo plant as part of Tesla’s new solar aspirations since it acquired SolarCity on November 17 in a deal worth roughly $2 billion. Initial production at the plant will center around Tesla’s solar roof product.
Tesla did not return Business Insider’s request for comment on how the payment delays will affect the plant’s production timeline. The Buffalo News reported in August that construction of the plant is near completion with production slated to begin in June.
Federal corruption charges were filed against two former aides close to Cuomo, as well as six other people, over the economic revitalization project in September, according to the New York Times. The complaint alleges that the state’s original request for proposals for the solar manufacturing facility was worded in a way that appeared to exclude all bidders except LPCiminelli.
Louis Ciminelli, CEO of LPCiminelli, is known as a generous supporter of Cuomo. Ciminelli, along with his associates and relatives, have donated nearly $150,000 to Cuomo’s campaigns over the years.
The Buffalo plant was originally meant to be a production facility for SolarCity prior to talks about a Tesla merger began. SolarCity had planned for the Buffalo plant to be up and running this year, but the plant’s production timeline was delayed until 2017 due to SolarCity’s financial constraints, the Buffalo News also reported in August.
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