Sunday, April 5, 2009
By Gary Tilzer
Yesterday True News reported that neither the Times nor the Post published stories about the indictment of a contractor who (as the charges read), paid off convicted former Queens Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin. Today both papers had stories about the indictment, but they were strangely incomplete.
The Post only mentions a payoff in the form of a car to McLaughlin, but does not explain what the contractor hoped to get in return: CAR-SWAP KICKBACK LABOR RAP Queens labor leader Brian McLaughlin pulled a switcheroo to cover up a kickback he allegedly took from the former owner of a scandal-scarred electrical company, according to federal-court papers...more >
The Times story also failed to explain what the payoff was for, beyond saying it was listed as bribery: "City Contractor Is Accused of Bribing Ex-Assemblyman An indictment charged Santo Petrocelli Sr., who holds lucrative city contracts, with giving cash and a car to Assemblyman Brian M. McLaughlin. "
While not addressing the reason for the bribing, the Times story did say McLaughlin was cooperating: "Mr. McLaughlin has been cooperating with federal prosecutors since at least last year. He was instrumental, for instance, in introducing an F.B.I. agent posing as a businessman interested in legislative favors to Assemblyman Anthony S. Seminerio of Queens, who was arrested last September on federal bribery charges. New allegations were added to his indictment last month."
When the FBI raided McLaughlin's Union headquarters and the business offices of the contract they said it was for a bid rigging investigation. Was the payoff connected to the bid rigging?: F.B.I., in Bid-Rigging Inquiry, Raids Offices of Labor Leader ... *** LABOR GROUP HITIN BID-RIG PROBE. ASSEMBLYMAN IS FOCUS - News - NY ...
Even the DOI commissioner when offering a comment about the indictment does not explain what the indictment was for, in her quote in Crains: "Rose Gill Hearn, the commissioner of the city's Department of Investigation, said "the charges expose the relationship between the contractor and union official for what it was — a long-running partnership of corruption."
For at least a decade, Mr. Petrocelli’s company held several lucrative contracts maintaining city street lighting. The last Petrocelli contract ended in November 2007 — 17 months after the city’s Department of Investigation issued the first of three “caution” alerts about the company in the city’s vendor database.