Former State Fair director pleads guilty to official misconduct

Peter Cappuccilli Jr. leaves court after his plea Monday. / photo: Andy Wolf

A former State Fair director has been ordered to pay restitution after pleading guilty in a fraud and larceny case involving use of the State Fairgrounds.

Peter Cappuccilli Jr., a former director of the New York State Fair from 1995-2005, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of official misconduct in Geddes Town Court as part of a plea agreement with the State Attorney General's office. On December 20th of last year , Cappuccilli was charged by the Attorney General with felony grand larceny, defrauding the government, and two counts of official misconduct. The Attorney General's office accused Cappuccilli of exploiting his position as State Fair director for personal gains and perks.

"Today's action closes the door on another example of a former public official misusing and abusing his position and our taxpayer dollars for personal gain," said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a statement to the media. "Peter Cappuccilli's actions represent a betrayal of the public trust that violated the very core of his responsibilities to the people of this state. This agreement represents another step toward achieving my office TMs principal objective of restoring New Yorkers' faith in their state government."

By pleading guilty to an official misconduct charge, all other charges have been dismissed and Cappuccilli has agreed to pay $50,000 in restitution. Justice John Kinsella also sentenced Cappucilli to a one year conditional discharge, which means if Cappuccilli commits another offense during that time the judge would have the option of resentencing him.

In court, Cappuccilli confessed that "From in or about June 2004, in Onondaga County, I knowingly had personal purchases charged to the State Fair account and had State Fair employees provide labor services for my daughter's wedding that took place on June 19th, 2004. Also from, June 17th 2004, through June 20th, 2004 the State Fair was not able to make use of four buildings surrounding the location of the wedding resulting in loss of revenue for the state. These purchases and services were for my personal benefit and did not relate to my official duties... I committed these acts with the intent to obtain a benefit including property for my personal use, not related to my official duties."

Cappuccilli had no comment upon leaving Geddes Town Court. He later released a statement, saying "It is best for my family and all concerned that this matter be disposed of in this fashion."

His attorney, Emil Rossi, emphasized that during his tenure Cappuccilli presided over the best fair in the country, stating that the official misconduct only relates to one incident involving his daughter's wedding.

Click here to download and read a copy of the plea agreement in this case.

In the interest of full disclosure, Peter Cappuccilli is currently an independent contractor for Barrington Broadcasting in Syracuse, which owns His capacity involves sales and marketing consultation, and he is not connected to the news department.

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