Saturday, February 27, 2010

Paterson Offer He Could Not Refuse

Friday, February 26, 2010

By Gary Tilzer

When did the NYT learn about the allegations of Paterson and the State Police intervention in a domestic violence case involving his trusted aid David Johnson? Since the heart of this story seems to have been dropped in the NYT hands by the lawyer of the woman who said she as abused, why did the NYT dip this story out? Did the WH and Sharpton and other Dem leaders work with the NYT to get Paterson out? Was the get out today an offer he could not refuse? The only way Paterson could avoided a criminal investigation of jury tampering? NYS Police New Logo The State Police superintendent, Harry J. Corbitt, said on Wednesday that the State Police had “never pressured” the woman not to press charges against Mr. Johnson. He also said the State Police routinely made such contacts when an incident concerned a high-profile person, even one who is not a government official, “that might involve a media even End of the World As We Know it

The Decline of New York Wall Street Journal Move over, New Jersey, you're getting a run for your tax money as the nation's most dysfunctional state from the once great mecca of commerce and finance known as New York.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gov. David Paterson pulls plug on election bid, but will not resign: insider

Originally Published:Friday, February 26th 2010, 9:39 AM
Updated: Friday, February 26th 2010, 11:10 AM

Paterson been under fire for contacting a woman who accused one of his top aides of domestic violence.
Paterson been under fire for contacting a woman who accused one of his top aides of domestic violence.

A beleaguered Gov. Paterson has pulled the plug on his election bid, a source close to the governor said Friday.

He will announce the decision later Friday.

Paterson been under fire for contacting a woman who accused one of his top aides of domestic violence.

The source said the governor has agreed not to seek election, but he will not resign - opting to serve out the remainder of his term.

The decision clears the way for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is the favorite of many Democrats, to seek the nomination unimpeded.

Cuomo's office is investigating whether Paterson and the state police improperly contacted the woman, Sherr-una Booker, who made the allegations against his aide, David Johnson.

A day after speaking briefly with Paterson, Booker failed to show up for a court hearing against Johnson - and the matter was dropped.

Mayor Bloomberg Friday described Paterson's situation as "very sad."

And he added: "It's not good for the state to have the state government that isn't functioning as well as we need it to function in these very tough economic times."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Espada Subpoena From Cuomo

See full size image

The Bronx Board of Elections was served with a subpoena by AG Andrew Cuomo in connection with his ongoing probe into Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr., sources confirm.

A source briefed on the subpoena said the AG's office is seeking 2008 Senate petitions for the 33rd SD.

"A Copy of all petitions was made for our files and a Document and Package Receipt was signed by the Senior Investigator receiving the said information," a board staffer informed elections officials in an e-mail sent yesterday afternoon.

"A copy of the subpoena was filed on the 5th floor in our legal folder and a copy was also faxed down to the general office as soon as it was received."

Last spring, the Bronx DA launched an investigation into Espada's residency, even though the senator beat a court challenge on that same issue during the 2008 campaign.

Last month, Cuomo's office subpoenaed Espada Jr.'s son (Pedro G. Espada) and two other employees of his father's Soundview Management Enterprises. The AG also sought phone, e-mail and other records held by both the senator and his Bronx health clinic.

The majority leader has insisted he will fully cooperate with Cuomo's probe, while also suggesting it is political motivated.

In legal documents filed on Jan. 13, Cuomo maintained Espada had failed to fully comply with an Aug. 25 subpoena to Soundview and said he had found "extensive evidence" of illegal and improper actions by the senator and the companies he controls.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shell game played with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's cash?

Adam Lisberg

Sunday, February 21st 2010, 4:00 AM

We know how much Mayor Bloomberg spent on his campaigns, but not exactly how it was spent.
We know how much Mayor Bloomberg spent on his campaigns, but not exactly how it was spent.

By now, we all know how much Mayor Bloomberg spent to win office: $108 million last year, $85 million in 2005, $73 million in 2001.

However, we still don't know where it all went.

Prosecutors are asking what happened to $750,000 paid last year to a shell company run by Queens operative John Haggerty, six days before he bought a $1.6 million house.

Haggerty was supposed to hire Election Day poll watchers, but can't account for as much as $400,000 of it. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has subpoenaed him to find out more.

It wasn't Haggerty's first involvement with a shell company working for Bloomberg. In 2005, he worked with another firm set up to handle the mayor's door-to-door operation - one that was paid almost $2 million and run by a once-indicted lawyer.

Robert Allan Muir was hired by the Bloomberg campaign in 2005 to knock potential rivals off the Republican ballot after Haggerty helped challenge them. At the Board of Elections, however, Muir was barred from representing Bloomberg because he represented the board itself in a different case - a clear conflict of interest.

This did not deter the Bloomberg campaign, where top aides Kevin Sheekey and Patti Harris had signed off on hiring him, one source said.

Muir stopped the petition work and turned his attention to canvassing. He set up a shell company - called Campaign Research Associates - in his Brooklyn law office to hire and pay the workers who rang doorbells for Bloomberg.

Muir, who died in March 2006, was a tough-edged expert on election law with a reputation for results. He was indicted on a felony count of backdating reports in 1991, but worked it down to a misdemeanor and kept his law license. "He was clearly a crook," said someone familiar with that episode. "No question about it."

From June 2005 to June 2006, Bloomberg paid Muir's brand-new firm $1.9 million. The state Republican Party kicked in another $200,000 for Election Day poll watchers. Muir's wife, Ilsa Beltran Muir, also got $217,000 as a subcontractor to another Bloomberg lawyer.

Did it really all go for lowly campaign workers? We don't know. Because Bloomberg funneled the money through a shell, he didn't have to disclose it on his campaign spending reports.

Muir's widow, in a brief interview outside her Staten Island home, said she barely remembered what she did for the campaign - her husband was terminally ill and she was taking care of their newborn daughter. She also said she hadn't spoken to Haggerty in more than two years.

Two people close to Haggerty insist he never made a penny from Campaign Research Associates, and volunteered his services to Bloomberg.

Haggerty and his lawyer, Dennis Vacco, declined to comment. Bloomberg, through a spokesman, also had nothing to say.

Given prosecutors' new interest in Haggerty, though, the Daily News asked Bloomberg 2005 campaign officials whether they could account for how Muir spent the money.

An initial review of records indicated it was properly spent on field staff, they said, plus a $100-per-worker per month fee for Muir's firm.

The public can't get a look at those records. If the Manhattan district attorney decides to knock on doors, he

Friday, February 19, 2010

Monserrate Loses Legal Challenge To Expulsion

Hiram Monserrate's request for a temporary stay of the Senate's resolution to expel him has been denied by US District Court Judge William Pauley, the DN's Alison Gendar reports.

During a hearing on Monserrate's case yesterday, Pauley was skeptical of the legal arguments put forth by the ex-senator's team of attorneys, who maintained (among other things) that the voters of his district would be disenfranchised if denied the right to decide for themselves whether Monserrate could keep his seat.

I spoke to Monserrate's attorney Norman Siegel this morning and at that point he said it wasn't clear if Monserrate would appeal if he lost this round.

UPDATE: Here's a link to Pauley's opinion, which appears in full after the jump.

"While this Court concludes it has no legal basis to preliminarily enjoin the decision of the Senate, a 'fundamental principle of our representative democracy is, in (Alexander) Hamilton's words, 'that the people should choose whom they please to govern them,'" Pauley wrote.

"...Thus, the March 16 special election furthers the goals of Plaintiffs' current application to protect the voters of the 13th Senatorial District more effectively than judicial intervention."

In short, Pauley to Monserrate: You want to keep your seat? Run for it.

Former N.Y. State Senator, Hiran Monserrate, and his attorneys appeared at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan

By Rafael Martínez Alequín
February 18, 2010

Former N.Y. State Senator, Hiran Monserrate, and his attorneys appeared at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, seeking a favorable ruling in their call for a court injunction that would reverse his removal as State Senator. Monserrate's civil attorney, Norman Seigel, said they are hoping for a favorable ruling in their case. And said, they would appeal should the federal ruling calling for an injunction not go their way. Siegel added that Monserrate's constituents, as a result of his removal were being punished and, that their constitutional rights denied, because there is no representation for the residents in the 13th senatorial district in Queens. Presiding Judge William H. Pauley, told a packed courthouse that he will rule on the Monserrate Case, tomorow, Friday 18th of February. Observers of New York State politics will be watching closely.
object width="425" height="344">VIDEO by Rafael Martínez Alequín (YFP)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Signs of battle brewing over Bronx state Sen. Pedro Espada's tenant bill

BY Frank Lombardi
Thursday, February 18th 2010, 4:00 AM

A supposedly tenant-friendly bill touted by Bronx state Sen. Pedro Espada got an unfriendly reception Wednesday at City Hall.

Standing on the steps of City Hall with several dozen sign-carrying supporters, Espada (D-Bronx) told assembled reporters that his recently introduced bill would help some 700,000 low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by freezing their rents in stabilized apartments.

As he spoke, he didn't notice that some opponents of the bill had infiltrated his supporters and were holding up signs reading, "Evict Espada, Protect Tenant Rights" and "Beware Of This Bill."

Some Espada supporters tried to cover up the anti-bill signs with pro-bill ones, and vice versa. The scuffling prompted Espada to cut his press conference short.

He grumbled that "many of the people who have taken their positions against this proposal haven't read the proposal at all."

Espada said the rent freeze for families with a combined after-tax income of up to $45,000 a year will be funded through a buy-back by landlords of the J-51 tax breaks they had received from the city. He said that "over $100 million" will be raised in the first year of his proposed J-51 buy-back program.

But tenant activist Michael McKee of Housing Here and Now, who helped organize the infiltration, said Espada's bill is a ruse that allows landlords to get out of the financial liability of a recent court decision that declared that tens of thousands of rent-stabilized apartments were improperly turned into market-rate units.

"It's a pro-landlord bill posing as a pro-tenant bill," McKee said.

Besides being the Senate's majority leader, Espada is chairman of the Senate's Housing Committee. Critics have complained that he's too close to landlords and received hefty contributions from them.

Senator Espada are covering a sign by opponents of his 'so called bill", pro-tenant. His opponent are warning the public that Senator Espada message is a "double edged swords."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spitzer To Cuomo: 'Answer The Hard Questions' »

Spitzer To Cuomo: 'Answer The Hard Questions' »

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer is emerging as an outspoken defender of his replacement, David Paterson, and calling on would-be gubernatorial candidate AG Andrew Cuomo to announce his political intentions and discuss his platform.

Appearing on "Good Day New York" this morning, Spitzer again insisted he has no regrets in selecting Paterson to be his running mate, saying it was the then-Senate minority leader's legislative experience - and good relationship with then-Majority Leader Joe Bruno - that made him an appealing choice.

Asked by Greg Kelly about Cuomo, Spitzer replied (at roughly the 2:14 mark):

"If he’s going to run for governor, which is, it’s his right to do, of course, then he should answer the hard questions. How would his budget differ? How would he get the bills through the Legislature relating to ethics relating to the reform we need in New York State? In other words, answer the hard questions. Where would his program differ from the existing governor’s?"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bob Kappstatter Same old Larry: Seabrook's $177 bagel, political nepotism nothing new

Bob Kappstatter

Tuesday, February 16th 2010, 9:18 AM

Who woulda thunk it?

After all these years, The Fox finally got caught in the hen house.

We almost feel sorry for City Councilman Larry Seabrook.

He may have padded the expense account (Oh, that $177 bagel!), set a record for political nepotism - even for the Bronx - and helped businessmen who greased his palm or political club (same thing) with contributions to get contracts.

But, hey, that's Larry: always helping family, friends - and himself.

He has even been known to show up with some jamoke or other at construction sites, putting the arm on the foreman to hire the guy.

"They were mostly useless," one such foreman told us. "I'd just fire 'em the next day."

And then there are those phantom nonprofit programs that The Fox shoveled taxpayer bucks into - and allegedly back out of into his pocket.

That's nothing new for Larry. Some folks might remember back to 1995 when the federales almost nailed him for similar hanky-panky.

Daily News reporter Zachary Margulis got a tip Larry - then an Assemblyman - and Councilman Larry Warden pumped 390G into a Northeast Bronx Redevelopment Corp. for phantom youth programs.

It wound up front page news, with federal grand jury subpoenas. But, alas, no indictment.

The accountant who helped put all the subpoenaed stuff together back then was a young protégé named Carl Heastie.

Larry later stabbed Carl in the back - and heart - by supporting Jose Rivera in the Dem Party rebellion. When Carl won and became party boss, Larry came back with his tail between his legs.

It was sort of like traitor Abe Vigoda telling Robert Duvall in "The Godfather" as he's being led away to be rubbed out: "Tell Mike it was only business."

And that, it seems, is the way it's always been with Larry Seabrook.

Schmear campaign

So, Larry, the media had fun over you turning a $7 bagel sandwich and soda into a $177 business expense.

But since you've quit your teaching job at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and given up chairing the Civil Rights Committee (and a 10G lulu), we wanna buy you the $13.95 bagel and lox deluxe platter at the Pelham Bay Diner near your Co-op City home. Our treat.

Just tell Carol or Jerry to put it on our tab.

Don't worry. We'll expense it.


That was some paparazzi false alarm at City Hall last Thursday as rumors flew that Mott Haven City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo was up next on the perp walk runway.

Nephew Richard (Little Ricky) Izquierdo Arroyo and cohort Margarita Villegas are facing heavy federal time for allegedly milking a nonprofit in the Arroyo clan's Mott Haven fiefdom - unless they feel like talking about auntie and granny/Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo, whose offices have been papered with subpoenas.

Get on line

Talking about Bronx pols tumbling like bowling pins, let us now review:

* Indicted by the feds in the City Council slush fund scandal: Councilman Larry Seabrook.

* Under investigation in said scandal: the Arroyos and ex-City Councilwoman Maria Baez. (Aha! Bet you forgot about her!)

* Assemblyman Peter Rivera being eyed by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a phantom program funding scheme.

* AG Cuomo chasing state Sen. Pedro (The Wascally Wabbit) Espada with a kitchen sink of potential charges.

* Bronx GOP Boss Jay Savino and GOP city Board of Elections Commissioner J.C. Polanco subpoenaed - and cooperating - in a probe of those new electronic voting machine contracts.

* And bringing up the rear, as usual, Bronx DA Rob Johnson, taking forever in a perjury probe of Assemblyman Nelson Castro.

Phew! Yah gotta love the Bronx.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Have you seen this woman: Councilwoman Arroyo ducks criminal-investigation spotlight

Where in the world is

Carmen Arroyo?

See full size image

City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, that is.

Have you seen her?

There was word she was sighted in City Hall on Thursday, two days after the indictment of Councilman Larry Seabrook on charges of looting the Council's slush fund.

But the glimpse was fleeting because Arroyo hid in a lounge and was spirited away in a blockade by Speaker Christine Quinn's chief of staff and guards.

The city Department of Investigation and the Manhattan U.S. attorney are said to be on Arroyo's trail. So, she, very shy and elusive, is staying close to her extended family - which nests in Bronx nonprofit organizations, where they are nourished with large doses of taxpayer money.

She is sometimes found in the company of birds of an indicted feather. Her nephew Richard Izquierdo Arroyo, who was charged last year with skimming $200,000 from one of the nonprofits, is one of them. Fellow Bronx Democrat Seabrook is another.

She flies from questions, but you might be able to lure her into view by leaving a City Council member item in plain sight. She is very attracted to them.

Her favorite comment is "no," and her favorite amendment may turn out to be the Fifth.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The New York Times
Damage Control

By Gary Tilzer

The Public Editor CLARK HOYT Sunday defended the writer John
Koblin and the paper for not being rush to print a story that most other media outlets described 9 days ago as a bomb shell that would force Paterson to resign. Hoyt said that Koblin accidentally leaked the story by asking someone else for information. Hoyt does not address the fact that Elizabeth Benjamin on February 5th stated said that story was out there for weeks " Her story was posted an hour before the Tweet that Hoyt used in his defense of the paper. It was the NYT reporters talking to the other reporters that Hoyt never talks about. He just said the Times reporters were asking questions. Asking a question a question about sex? Come on it never when down that way.

"The rumor mill has been running overtime in recent weeks about Paterson and the possibility that a major newspaper is about to drop a bombshell story about his personal life that will be far worse than his acknowledged extramarital affairwith a former state employee." Protecting Paterson

For years the major news organizations were covering up the fact that John Edwards had an affair and a child with a former campaign staffer. It took the National Enquirer to break the real story. 'The Politician' Does Hoyt also think the Enquirer was part of the The Fake-News Cycle?
After all Paterson has admitted to affairs before he became governor. It hard to see why a story that has embarrassed the
NYT could not be finished in the 9 days since it became public and controversial. It makes one wonder who was really caught with their pants down Paterson or the NYT Somebody Else’s Rumor * Background from True News TheNYT Vs. Paterson: It's Personal: Sex Media and Politics Metastasize

As the
NYT is caught in the Paterson investigation where the investigation of the council slush fund, the growing Aqueduct scandal and the missing money the mayor's campaign paid to the Independence Party? Are they waiting as the public editor said about the Paterson investigation until it is ready or are they just not doing or are clueless how to do their job of cleaning up the corruption in New York? Gov Paterson : Paul Levinson talks to Chuck Scarborough about NY Times "story" Does Hoyt blame the NYT's McCain scandal story on the Internet also? * New York Times and Lobbyist Settle Defamation Case Over McCain * NYT Addresses Paterson Profile In Op-Ed

Cover Up of a Cover Up
Is Thompson using the Times story about the story to hid his involvement in theAEG Aqueduct scandal. The Public Editor said if the NYT commented about this story it might interfere with future investigation of public scandal. When was the last time the NYT broke a story about a public official that was not leaked by a prosecutor or in response of an indictment of an elected official?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Assemblyman José R. Peralta, a Democrat from Queens, who has already declared that he will run for the Senate seat of former senator Hiran Monserrate, is moving to gain the support of local Democrats, was endorsed on Thursday, by Council Speaker Christine Quinn (better known at City Hall at the six deputy mayor) and Hiram Monserrate former chief of staff, Council Member Julissa Ferreras. Video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Delusional New York Politics: You Can Run But Can't Hide

By Gary Tilzer

You Can Run But Can't Hide
The political corrupt tax that is destroying our governmental budgets is so harmful to New York that the U.S. Attorney from the Southern saw fit to join the ingestion of AEG deal, which is already being investigate by the Eastern District because it is in their jurisdiction. This development just show how important the investigative authorities are taking this. So a word of to the Albany gang and their lobbyists time to cut and run. Prosecutors seize state info on Aqueduct casino deal *** Meeks aide's wife got campaign $$ *** Figure Under Scrutiny in Inquiry Into Charity Was on Senate Payroll *** Fed probe of Lottery not tied to Aqueduct bid: gov aide ***Feds target VLT data (TU) *** Sources tell Jim Odato the feds are interested in New Direction Local Development Corp., which has ties to Senate President Malcolm Smith * A former prosecutor under scrutiny in a federal investigation into a charity set up by Meeks and Smith was placed on the Senate payroll by Simth in 2002.

New York City Council chicanery knows know bounds: Slush fund scandal stretches beyond Seabrook

Thursday, February 11th 2010, 4:00 AM

(From l.) Migheul Martinez, Maria del Carmen Arroyo and Kendall Stewart
Smith, Seigel, Lombard for News
(From l.) Migheul Martinez, Maria del Carmen Arroyo and Kendall Stewart

The indictment of City Councilman Larry Seabrook on corruption charges is proof the Council's slush fund scandal is far from over.

City Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn, who has been looking into Council chicanery for three years, says "serious reform" is still needed, despite prior claims from Council Speaker Christine Quinn that everything was resolved.

Hearn noted that some of Seabrook's alleged crimes came after Quinn's clampdown — and that corrupt politicians always find "ingenious and audacious" new ways to steal.

The so-called slush fund is the Council's longstanding practice of letting members steer public money into favored nonprofits that are supposed to serve senior citizens, impoverished youth and other needy causes.

Starting in 2007, the city Department of Investigation uncovered a pattern of Council members steering money to groups controlled by their cronies or relatives.

Seabrook (D-Bronx) is a case in point. Prosecutors say he funneled more than $1 million to nonprofits he controlled to benefit his girlfriend, his brother, his sisters and his nephew. He has pleaded not guilty.

Here's a look at the ever-expanding slush fund scorecard:

* Former Councilman Miguel Martinez is serving five years in prison after admitting he stole more than $100,000 from nonprofits funded with discretionary funds, including one which employed his sister.

Martinez, who represented upper Manhattan, began looting the public coffers almost from the day he first took office in 2003, including pocketing taxpayer money meant for a children's art program.

* Two aides to ex-Councilman Kendall Stewart pleaded guilty to stealing $145,000 from nonprofits he controlled. Stewart, a Brooklyn Democrat, steered hundreds of thousands of dollars to the groups. He was not charged but lost a bid for reelection in November, partly because of the scandal.

* Richard Izquierdo, nephew of Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo (D-Bronx), was indicted for stealing from affiliates of several nonprofits. He has pleaded not guilty.

Arroyo and her mother, Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo, have steered hundreds of thousands of city and state dollars into the nonprofits run by Izquierdo and the councilwoman's sister.

Izquierdo was charged with looting federal housing money through those same groups. Some cash paid for tropical trips for the councilwoman and the assemblywoman.

* Councilman Erik Martin Dilan (D-Brooklyn) sponsored $187,000 in taxpayer money for a nonprofit run by his wife. The Daily News exposed the arrangement and the funding stopped.

* Councilwoman Diana Reyna (D-Brooklyn) steered $25,000 to a puppet troupe called the Striking Viking Story Pirates co-founded by her sister-in-law. She also directed $6,000 to a senior citizens program that employs her mother-in-law. The money ended after The News exposed that practice.

* Councilwoman Darlene Mealy (D-Brooklyn) tried to steer $25,000 to her sister's nonprofit community group.

Two years ago, Quinn announced tougher scrutiny and pulled funding for dozens of dubious groups.

Still, nearly two years after then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia warned the flush fund was "ripe for abuse," debate rages about whether the system is repaired.

Hours after busting Seabrook on Tuesday, Hearn talked of fixing the system with "an objective system of review" of nonprofits that would involve a "competitive element."

In response, Quinn's spokesman Jamie McShane praised the speaker's reforms, but added, "We agree with [Hearn's] statement that more can always be done."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feds Nail Seabrook For Seven Fat Years, Monserrate Expelled

By Henry J. Stern

February 10, 2010

See full size imageSee full size imageSee full size image

"To some extent, the process involves Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who allocated the money among her members."

Yesterday was a red letter day in both political corruption and criminal behavior.. We observed the indictment of Councilman Larry Seabrook for a multitude of crimes over seven years, and the expulsion from the Senate of Hiram Monserrate. Both are noteworthy events.

The Seabrook prosecutor is the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, who was appointed by President Obama on the recommendation of the senior Senator for New York, Chuck Schumer. Mr. Bharara was born in India and brought to this country as an infant. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School. He worked five years in the U.S. Attorney's office, prosecuting criminal cases against crime families. In 2005 he became chief counsel to Senator Schumer.

The 13-count indictment against the three-term Councilman from the North Bronx covers a multiplicity of alleged sins: larceny, bribery, extortion, money laundering, etc. You can link to it here. Essentially, it accuses Seabrook of selling his office, collecting bribes, and defrauding the city on discretionary funds he received as a councilmember. The scheme was unfolded in charts presented by the U.S. Attorney and his staff.

The breadth of the Seabrook indictment is comparable to the barrage of charges against former Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin of Queens, once thought of as a mayoral contender. McLaughlin pleaded guilty on March 7, 2008 and was sentenced to ten years in prison. Along the way, he gave up a colleague, Queens, Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio, who received a six-year sentence for securing state funds for nonprofits in exchange for cash. He disguised the cash as consulting fees in the style of former Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, who was convicted on December 7, 2009 on two counts relating to the sale of a nondescript horse. Bruno is scheduled to be sentenced March 31; he has appealed his conviction to the Second Circuit. McLaughlin and Bernard Madoff, who was not in politics, are both serving time in a Federal prison in North Carolina.

Apart from his guilt or innocence, an issue in the Seabrook case is: who else knew what he was doing, and where was municipal oversight over the spending of discretionary funds? To some extent, the process involves Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who allocated the money among her members. The millions were granted as a reward for Seabrook's political loyalty and reliability as a vote on the Council. Is it surprising that he should apply the same standard to the recipients of the money as were applied to him -- No questions asked? Was there the slightest review by anyone in government over the seven years the scam was operating? (Four of those years were under former Speaker Gifford Miller.) Did Comptroller Thompson ever look at how the city money was being spent?

The more important question is: how many other Councilmembers do what Seabrook did? Councilman Miguel Martinez of Upper Manhattan was caught by Federal prosecutors last year, and pleaded guilty. He is now serving a five-year prison sentence. It is unlikely that these two are the only ones who misused the Council's discretionary funds, although their activities may have been the most egregious. The system now in place makes it far too easy to steal public funds. Who is responsible for tightening procedures? Who does spot checks to see that programs exist? Where is the due diligence? Who is responsible, the mayor, the comptroller, the speaker, the commissioner of investigation? Rule 25-E: "Everybodys job is nobody's job."

Monserrate is a different story. His offenses were not committed on the job, and did not involve defrauding the city. He allegedly slashed his girlfriend with a broken glass, and took 40 minutes in a car to find a remote hospital to which he could take her, after dragging her out of his apartment house. He waived his right to a jury trial, so the case was heard by Judge William Erlbaum, who acquitted him of felony assault but convicted him of misdemeanor assault because the dragging was caught on videotape. The victim told the emergency room doctor that Monserrate had slashed her. She later recanted her accusation, whether out of compassion, calculation or desire. Her story at the trial was that she had clumsily fallen on the broken glass, a frequent tale in cases of domestic violence. Judge Erlbaum said, pointedly: "There are two types of not-guilty findings. One is innocence, the other is not proven -- these counts were not proven."

Conviction of a felony results in automatic expulsion from the legislature. Many of his colleagues believed that he had committed a felony, and they were imposing the penalty that the judge decided not to because he felt the slashing was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It seems to us that people very rarely fall to the floor on their own and slash their faces on freshly-broken glass while arguing with their lovers.

Be that as it may, we believe that a large factor in Monserrate's expulsion was his political disloyalty to both Republicans and Democrats. By following Pedro Espada and deserting his caucus for personal advantage in the June 8 coup, and then bouncing back a week later to rejoin the Democrats (thus leaving neither side with a majority) Monserrat managed to betray both parties in the Senate. Rule 25-W: "What goes around, comes around."

The situation is comparable to that faced by Governor Spitzer, who was pursued by Federal authorities and found himself facing impeachment and removal from office, basically for consensual sex with an upscale prostitute--who is now a Post columnist on affairs of the heart. Spitzer was forced to resign in March 2008 because legislators of both parties could not stand him, because of his ill temper, inconsistency, and intemperate behavior, including threats and personal abuse. His intrigue against Senator Bruno, his evasions on the subject, and his attempt to blame staff showed lack of character. His tawdry role as Client No. 9 gave his colleagues the excuse they desired to trade him in for Lieutenant Governor Paterson. It is not a Rule, but it is apropos that answered prayers cause more tears than unanswered ones.

Whether they would have acted as they did if they knew what would transpire is an unanswerable question. It would certainly have made the Assembly's deliberations more complex. But at the time, Paterson was a relatively unknown quantity, having spent twenty years in the Senate without generating much notice. His peaceable nature led to the belief that, with him, there would be more comity between the executive and legislative branches of government. That turned out to be a serious error.

One note on the recent rumor mill contretemps. We do not blame The New York Times, which has not (as of the day of the blizzard) published a word about the governors private life. It is curious that the Executive Chamber was silent for three days as the rumors swelled. On the other hand, so much in Albany is bizarre, and so much of the rest is bathetic, that no one should be particularly surprised any more by anything they do or fail to do.

One thing Albany is clearly not doing is dealing realistically with the budget crisis. When the state runs out of cash, can no longer borrow, and is unable to meet payroll, this issue will get the public attention it deserves. Of course, if the governor and legislature had acted when they were warned years go, the situation would not be as acute as it is today.

Watching Albany is like watching a stock on the market slide downward, in fits and starts, but at increasing velocity. One wonders when it will hit bottom. Who knows what outside forces will be needed to come to the rescue? Will the cavalry arrive, and what price will we have to pay for their help? Together, we will watch.

Is there anyone not under investigation in New York?

By Gary Tilzer

The Empire State has become the Organized Political Crime State True News - How Albany Operates Like the Mob

To save money and transportation costs New York should open up jail in the basement City Hall and the Capital Building in Albany

1. The Council Slush Fund The Council's slush fund has become a seemingly bottomless well of corruption. In 2008, questions from the Manhattan U.S. attorney led to the discovery that the Council squirreled away money for groups that never existed. *** The DN says Seabrook's indictment should bring an end to the Council's "slush-fund budgeting."

Dozens of Council Members do what Seabrook did. Chief among Seabrook's opportunities for alleged thievery was the Council's so-called discretionary money, a vast pool of funds that members dole out to favored groups with virtually no effective oversight so jobs can be given to family members and friends. Let alone it value for the councilmember reelection. True News has been the only media outlet covering the council slush fund for the past year True New Council Slush Fund

Councilman Serving Time Manhattan City Councilman Miguel Martinez admits he stole tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars

a. Maria del Carmen Arroyo says her sister and nephew had left the nonprofit by the time the group was given the money. Bronx City Council member Maria Del Carmen Arroyo has a unique way to get taxpayer support for her family.

b. In her penultimate year as a member of the New York City Council, Maria Baez has found herself the subject of media scrutiny. News stories regarding poor attendance at Council meetings, enormous cell phone bills and a check to a non-existent organization, have left Baez with a tarnished public image.

c. Leroy Comrie, who represents southeast Queens, has co-sponsored $115,000 in member items for a nonprofit that lists his wife, Marcia Moxam Comrie, as an unpaid vice president.

d. Brooklyn Pol Put $187G of Your Dough into Wife's Nonprofit

e. Pork Pig Fidler’s Media Friends Put Lipstick On Him

f. From the article "Slush pols look after their own" Helen Foster

g. Millions shifted to unregistered charities with ties to Council members Sara Gonzalez

h. Brooklyn councilwoman Darlene Mealy's 25G for nonprofit run by sister tabled

Reform Design to Fail Quinn and the Council enacted new regulations to ensure proper use of the money. That didn't work, now, did it? As Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said yesterday, the reforms "have effectively vetted out conflicts and companies not worthy of city funds. But as today's indictment shows, there were other ways to fly this money under the radar."

2. Seabrook Latest to Fall Councilman Charged With Money Laundering *** A free pass to thievery: Seabrook case proves Council slush funds must go *** Councilman ripped off 'hole' lotta dough: feds *** FDNY minority hiring was $moke screen *** Bagel, borrow & 'steal' for pol *** Seabrook's mistress, also possibly a shady situation *** Bronx City Council member Larry Seabrook's go-to guy was longtime powerbroker Stanley Schlein ***What Happens to Professor Seabrook? 4. The Love Gov?
Joe Sexton, The Times’s Metropolitan Editor, said: “Obviously we are not responsible for what other news organizations are reporting. It’s not coming from The Times.”
The NYT Scandal about the Scandal In Albany, a Rumor of a Rumor Catches Fire * Gov aide takes Times to task Rips rumor story *Paterson: Reported Speculations Were "Orchestrated"** Paterson Aide Calls For Inquiry Into New York Times True News Had the NYT Scandal Story First The NYT Vs. Paterson: It's Personal: Sex Media and Politics Metastasize

5. The Mayor DA probes Mike's 'slippery' poll $$ *** Frank MacKay and John Haggerty were subpoenaed From True News Organized Crime Politics Ballot Lines for Sale *** Councilman Dan Halloran, who ran on the GOP and Independence lines last year, said he was "not aware" of any of the poll watchers supposedly paid with the $750,000.

6. The Governor
Paterson is being investigated by federal prosecutors over how he awarded the contract for slot machines at Aqueduct. (WPIX) *** Governor Paterson Being Investigated for Non-Salacious Things New York Magazine

7. Education Since 2005, auditors from the state comptroller have found almost $1 billion in fraud in school districts. (TU)

Bronx City Council member Larry Seabrook's go-to guy was longtime powerbroker Stanley Schlein

Wednesday, February 10th 2010, 4:00 AM

When City Councilman Larry Seabrook needed help getting inside the new Yankee Stadium, he didn't reach out for George Steinbrenner or Derek Jeter.

His go-to guy was Stanley Schlein, a Bronx fixture and fixer who's a lawyer, a lobbyist and a Democratic heavyweight.

Schlein is not mentioned by name in the indictment, but sources confirm he's the "Yankees representative" described by prosecutors as a bridge between Seabrook and the team.

He's been a lobbyist and consultant to the Yankees for years and helped draft an agreement that required the team to give 25% of Stadium contracts to Bronx firms.

In 2006, four boiler manufacturers were in the running for a Yankee Stadium job when Seabrook (D-Bronx) contacted Schlein to lobby for a fifth company, Easco Boiler Corp. of the Bronx.

Schlein brought Easco to the Yankees' attention, making sure to note Seabrook's "official support," the indictment and sources allege.

The contractor won the job despite coming in $13,000 over the lowest bidder, prosecutors say.

Schlein's lawyer Peter Vigeland said his client cooperated fully with investigators, answering a subpoena and testifying before a grand jury.

He said neither Schlein nor the Yankees did anything improper.

Schlein, 62, said he was unaware of Seabrook's alleged scheme and noted Seabrook approached several Council members to push for the company.

"So one guy chooses to do something very inappropriate. There's not a remote belief that Stanley Schlein or any member of the Yankee team did anything inappropriate. To the contrary," Schlein said.

Schlein's connections in the Bronx run deep. For years, he was legal adviser to the Bronx Democrats, and he's counseled numerous candidates on election law - including Seabrook.

His influence as pointman for Bronx Democrats - who control the selection of many judges - prompts borough judges to rise when Schlein walks into their courtrooms, The Village Voice reported.

Despite his success with the Yankees, Schlein has come under fire in recent years. In January 2008, he was fined $15,000 for using his plum job as chairman of the city's Civil Service Commission to run his law business.