Sunday, April 4, 2010

New York officials arrested, convicted and investigated for acting like New Jersey politicians

Sunday, April 4th 2010, 4:00 AM

New York officials who have been arrested, convicted or  investigated for corruption.
New York officials who have been arrested, convicted or investigated for corruption.

In times past, we could gaze across the Hudson River and give thanks that it separated us from the cesspool of corruption known as the State of New Jersey.

Lately, the bridges and tunnels span two realms that no longer seem so different.

Every day seems to bring word of some new investigation into yet another New York official.

Bernard Kerik came from New Jersey, but we made him the NYPD commissioner and even named a jail after him before he pleaded guilty to eight felonies.

New Yorkers convicted of corruption include former state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, former state Controller Alan Hevesi, former Liberal Party head Ray Harding, former Brooklyn Democratic boss Clarence Norman, four former state legislators and a former city councilman.

Another city councilman, Larry Seabrook (D-Bronx), has been charged with a crime spree involving more than $500,000. “Cash and Carry Larry” at one point allegedly doctored a receipt so he would be reimbursed $177 for a $7 bagel and soda.

“Bagels can be expensive,” his lawyer actually said.

Among those under investigation are Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens), along with former Rep. Floyd Flake, state Senate President Malcolm Smith (D-Queens), state Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. (D-Bronx), Assemblyman Peter Rivera (D-Bronx), Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo (D-Bronx) and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. Hevesi is being eyed in a “pay-to-play” scandal unrelated to the crime for which he has already been convicted.

No longer can we hear of a New Jersey official such as the one in Millville who was arrested for stealing $20,000 in Little League funds and tell ourselves such a thing could happen only across the Hudson.

Our own former assemblyman and labor leader Brian McLaughlin of Queens out Jersey-ed Jersey by stealing $95,000 from the Eastchester Little League. McLaughlin also pocketed more than $2 million in taxpayer funds and he is presently serving a 10-year federal prison term.

He would have gotten 15 years, but he agreed to introduce an undercover FBI agent posing as a businessman to then-Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (D-Queens).

The result was that Seminerio got an 11- to 14-year term for shaking down various businesses and nonprofit groups for over $1 million in “consulting fees.” His victims included Jamaica Hospital.
“You tell me what you want and I’ll take care of you,” Seminerio was recorded as saying.

In further proof that we can sink as low or even lower than Jersey, former City Councilman Miguel Martinez (D-Manhattan) was convicted of pocketing money intended for a children’s arts fund.

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