Saturday, December 12, 2015

New York's Top Republican, Dean Skelos, Convicted On All Counts


2 down-- one to go

When I was 2 my parents moved from Brooklyn out to the suburbs-- Valley Stream, the heart of Dean Skelos' state senate district 9. Hard to imagine this modest working family area, just east of JFK Airport, could actually elect a Republican... until I noticed the state Senate district also included Inwood, Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, and Hewlett, the legendary-- and very wealthy-- Five Towns. Traditionally a Jewish-Democratic area, the Five Towns have strayed a little to the Dark Side in recent years. Harvey Milk was born in Woodmere but now one of the Five Towns' best known residents is fascist agitator and ugly racist sociopath Pamela Geller, who lives in Hewlett. [An aside, now that Skelos was booted from the Senate the second he was found guilty, is that Obama won this state Senate district 71,204 (53.5%) to 60,608 (45.5% against Romney and Kirsten Gillibrand won reelection there with 64.4%.] Skelos, was first elected to the state Assembly in 1980 from this area and to the state Senate in 1984, 3 decades of corruption that came crashing to a loud halt when he and his son were arrested on May 4 of this year on federal corruption charges, including solicitation of bribes, conspiracy, and extortion. He was the Republican Party Majority Leader of the state Senate. Yesterday he and the son were found guilty on all 8 counts.
The Skeloses were charged with using the father’s position as majority leader to pressure a Manhattan developer, an environmental technology company and medical malpractice insurer to provide Adam Skelos with roughly $300,000 via consulting work, a no-show job, and a direct payment of $20,000.

Dean Skelos had been one of the three most powerful men in state government until his arrest earlier this year, and his conviction close on the heels of his former colleague, the longtime Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, is sure to have repercussions beyond the courtroom. As in Mr. Silver’s case, which ended Nov. 30, the verdict resulted in Mr. Skelos’s expulsion from the State Legislature, where both men had served for more than three decades.

...Minutes after the verdict was given, a Twitter post went out on [United States Attorney Preet] Bharara’s account: “How many prosecutions will it take before Albany gives the people of New York the honest government they deserve?”

...The trials of Mr. Skelos and Mr. Silver illustrated how some lawmakers can wield their considerable power to extort benefits for themselves or others; how the weak enforcement of lax financial disclosure requirements gives legislators ample opportunity to mask bribes and kickbacks as outside income; how moneyed real estate interests spend millions of dollars in campaign contributions to influence legislation; and how power is concentrated in the hands of the so-called three men in a room: the legislative leaders and the governor.

Mr. Bharara, an outspoken proponent for reform, has characterized Albany as a “caldron of corruption,” and decried its concentration of power. Those sentiments prompted some to question the propriety of his statements.

In the trial of Mr. Skelos and his son, the testimony detailed how the senator’s power was leveraged in three separate schemes, aimed at pressuring companies-- all of them dependent on legislation that the senator in some measure controlled-- to provide benefits to Adam Skelos.
Skelos' dweeby midget-son, Adam, told his boss, who was concerned the spoiled brat was't coming to work "Talk to me like that again and I'm going to smash your fucking head in. Guys like you aren't fit to shine my shoes."

The Skelos' attorney says they'll appeal but this shakedown scheme was such an open-and-shut case, complete with wiretapped tapes of the two of them plotting, that it's unimaginable that there aren't decades of prison in front of these two. New York's Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins:
"We need to implement a full-time Legislature and restrict legislators' outside income; we need to close the LLC loophole; we need to prohibit taxpayer reimbursement of campaign and legal defense funds and strip pensions from public officials convicted of corruption."
In all likelihood next up will be New York's even more corrupt governor, Andrew Cuomo.

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At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you can clean it up here, you can clean it up anywhere"

Any chance that testimony about bribes by NY real estate developers will implicate the one who is now running for President?

At 6:27 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Couldn't happen to two corrupt & dumber politicians. Money talks & bribery follows watch your back Andrew.


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