Wednesday, February 10, 2010

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.


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