Niou first Asian-American NYS Assemblywoman
9 December, 2016
Yuh-Line Niou had little difficulty in securing an historic victory in the general election.for Sheldon Silver’s Lower East Side seat. Her toughest campaign was already fought in the primary.
Niou took 67 percent of the vote, besting Republican challenger Bryan Jung (12 percent) and Alice Cancel (5 percent) with all precincts reporting. The 33-year-old becomes the first Asian-American Assemblywoman and just the second overall. The first Asian-American Assemblymember elected was Ron Kim, who represents Flushing and also happens to be Niou’s former boss. She served as his chief of staff up until her campaign.
[December 5 Judy Rapfogel a property manager for Kushner ]
Judy Rapfogel, who was the long-time chief of staff for disgraced former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, is now working for a company run by President-elect Donald Trump’s son-in-law.
Rapfogel went to work in April for Kushner Companies, a real estate organization headed by Jared Kushner, a top Trump adviser who is married to the President-elect’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.
Rapfogel was hired to be a property manager, a company spokeswoman confirmed.
The spokeswoman had no other comment on the hiring or what exactly Rapfogel does.
Kushner Companies was founded by Charles Kushner, who spent 14 months in federal prison after being convicted in 2005 of tax evasion and election fraud.
Once among the state’s highest-paid workers, Rapfogel was out of a job after Silver was convicted on federal corruption charges in 2015. He was sentenced to 12 years, but is out as he is appealing the conviction. Rapfogel could not be reached for comment.
Rapfogel collects a $115,889 annual state pension.
Her husband, William Rapfogel, was convicted in 2014 for stealing from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a charity he headed. He’s eligible for parole in 2017.
[November 3 Democrat Yuh-Line Niou to inherit Sheldon Silver’s seat?]
Yuh-Line Niou won a six-way race on August 9 for the Democratic nomination to inherit the State Assembly seat once held by Sheldon Silver, in a repudiation of the stubborn grip Mr. Silver held on his Lower Manhattan district for four decades — held, that is, until his conviction late last year on federal corruption charges.
Yet Mr. Silver, the longtime former speaker who is appealing his conviction, still had enough influence in the district during the special election for the seat in April to help install an ally, Alice Cancel, in his place. Ms. Niou’s victory over Ms. Cancel, as well as four other opponents who promised a post-Silver fresh start for the district, may confirm that Mr. Silver’s clout is truly on the wane — and that voting patterns are beginning to reflect shifting demographics in the area, which is nearly half Asian.
[ October 12 Eliot Spitzer blackmailer held ]
Svetlana Travis Zakharova, the woman accused of blackmailing former Gov. Eliot Spitzer allegedly extorted $400,000 over two years, court records show, though they do not name her target or targets.
[October 8 “Fat boy is locked and loaded,”:Joseph Percoco public-corruption charges ]
The complaint asserts that it was Percoco who proposed having Competitive Power Ventures pay his wife. The couple recently had bought an $800,000 home in Westchester County at about the time Lisa Toscano-Percoco gave up her job as a New York City public school teacher. Family income fell from about $13,000 a month to about $9,000, while expenses held at about $20,000.
Percoco was alarmed about his personal finances as fall approached in 2012 and was pressing Kelly to hire his wife, according to the complaint. Percoco, Kelly and an associate discussed the matter over a $386 dinner at a Danbury restaurant on Sept. 26, 2012, according to the complaint. Kelly picked up the check.
Weeks later, the continuing email exchange shows that Kelly and Competitive Power Ventures had agreed to hire Toscano-Percoco. Kelly, a big, heavy-set man, is referred to in the email as “Fat boy.” Percoco and the associate frequently referred to Peter Galbraith Kelly, Jr as “Fat man” or “Fat boy” in their conversations. In addition, Percoco often referred to dollars as “Ziti,” according to the complaint.
“Fat boy is locked and loaded,” the associate told Percoco in another email. The agreement was to be finalized at a meeting “7Thursday at the estate.” Percoco wanted to know, “is he bringing the check?? Lol.” The associate wrote, “… need 7,500 boxes of zitti!!” and Percoco responded, “Yes 7500/month is her old salary.”
The complaint said that Kelly told two top executives at Competitive Power Ventures that Cuomo’s office had given him an opinion asserting that there would be no ethical conflict if the energy company were to hire the spouse of an aide who could influence regulatory decisions. Investigators were unable to confirm that such an opinion had been sought or provided to the energy company.
[September 8 “Ziti” for “Herb”:Joseph Percoco, Cuomo aide, center of public-corruption charges ]
Federal corruption charges were filed September 22 against the former aides, Joseph Percoco and Todd R. Howe, and the state official, Alain Kaloyeros. In emails and other correspondence, Mr. Percoco and Mr. Howe referred to the bribes as “ziti,” according to the complaint. Mr. Percoco apparently used the name “Herb” while discussing the arrangement. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/23/nyregion/cuomo-former-aides-charges.html?_r=0
[earlier]Joseph Percoco, who for decades was one of Mr. Cuomo’s most senior aides and closest friends has been at the center of a probe by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office concerning allegations of bribery and kickbacks in connection with an economic-development program known as the Buffalo Billion, Mr. Cuomo described Mr. Percoco as a “good man.” “I would be shocked if he did anything wrong,” Public-corruption charges against a number of other individuals are expected in connection with the wide-ranging investigation Another part of the investigation has centered on an energy company that had business before the state and had a project that employed Mr. Percoco’s wife, Lisa Toscano-Percoco,
[September 9 McDonnell no retrial: boys stay free
Former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell won’t be retried on corruption charges accusing him of accepting more than $175,000 in money, luxury goods and trips in exchange for helping a Virginia businessman, the Justice Department announced September 8. The Supreme Court had said a more limited interpretation of the term “official act” leaves room for prosecuting corruption while not subjecting officials to prosecution — without fair notice — for the most commonplace interactions with constituents.
[June] “While we are reviewing the McDonnell decision, the official actions that led to the convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos fall squarely within the definition set forth by the Supreme Court today,” Bharara spokesman James Margolin said in a statement. Silver was found guilty in November of masking bribes as legal referrals that provided him over the years with $4 million in kickbacks. In turn, Silver used his power as the speaker of the Democratic-led Assembly to provide state grants and other sweeteners to a doctor who then directed patients to the law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg, where the Manhattan lawmaker drew a paycheck in an “of counsel” capacity. In the Skelos case, the Nassau County Republican was found guilty of aiding his son Adam’s business interests through official actions, including a $12 million contract for a storm sewer project, as well as to the benefit of Glenwood Management, a real estate firm whose founder is a prolific campaign donor.
[June 28 McDonnell overturned: boys stay free ]
From the majority opinion: “In addition to being inconsistent with both text and precedent, the Government’s expansive interpretation of “official act” would raise significant constitutional concerns.”
Lawyers for Silver, the former New York State Assembly speaker, said in a statement the McDonnell decision “makes clear that the federal government has gone too far in prosecuting state officials for conduct that is part of the everyday functioning of those in elected office.”
Silver, 72, was convicted of taking millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for various favors, including directing state grants to a particular doctor who passed on leads to him about potential law clients. Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
“The McDonnell decision will be central to Mr. Silver’s appeal,” his attorneys, Steven Molo and Joel Cohen, said.
May 30 William Rapfogel in prison at home
As part of his work-release program, William Rapfogel can now spend Wednesday through Sunday nights at “an approved residence,” state prison officials said. Sources say that is at home with his wife, Judy Rapfogel.
From the letter pleading for a lenient sentence for Sheldon Silver from Judy Rapfogel, Silver’s former Chief of Staff, with a state pension worth an estimated $87,000 a year:
“I could write volumes about the good work Shelly did for the people of the State of New York.”
William Rapfogel spends Monday and Tuesday nights after work at Lincoln Correctional Facility, a Manhattan work-release lockup on Central Park North in the former New Lincoln School at 31 West 110 Street. Lincoln’s population includes other white-collar criminals. “It’s more than a little ironic that quite a few of them have probably spent time in some of Central Park’s tonier and better-known addresses.”
[May 26 McDonnell: the boys get the summer off
Prosecutors with Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office agree to wait for a potentially pivotal Supreme Court decision to be handed down before arguing whether Skelos and his ne’er-do-well son Adam should be allowed to remain out of jail pending appeal of their corruption convictions.
Manhattan federal Judge Valerie Caproni on Wednesday agreed to delay Sheldon Silver’s surrender date to Aug . 31 from July 1.
Former Senate Democratic leader John Sampson’s sentencing postponed from Thursday to June 22 by Brooklyn federal judge.
Issue: Whether “official action” under the controlling fraud statutes is limited to exercising actual governmental power, threatening to exercise such power, or pressuring others to exercise such power, and whether the jury must be so instructed; or, if not so limited, whether the Hobbs Act and honest-services fraud statute are unconstitutional. http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/04/afternoon-round-up-todays-argument-in-mcdonnell-v-united-states/
[May 13 Skelos out on bail, Sampson sentencing May 17
Wood has yet to decide on a surrender date. The judge asked both sides in the case to submit briefs on whether or not father and son should remain free pending appeal of their prison sentences. Just after the government began to make its final case before Wood, Dean Skelos’ wife, Gail, appeared to become overwhelmed and stood to leave. As Gail passed Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was sitting in the back of the courtroom throughout the sentencing Thursday, she told the federal prosecutor, “You can go to hell.”
[May 5 Skelos sentencing May 12, Sampson May 17]
Dean Skelos to be sentenced on May 12; a week later, John L. Sampson, a former leader of the Senate Democrats, will face his own sentencing.
On March 10, 2016, the Appellate Division First Department suspended John L. Sampson from the practice of law.
U.S. District Judge Dora L. Irizarry refused to overturn jury verdicts convicting New York State Sen. John L. Sampson of obstruction of justice and lying to federal agents in a corruption case over his embezzlement of real estate funds, finding enough evidence to convict him on February 26, 2016,. Sampson moved in September 2015 to overturn his convictions on obstruction of justice and for lying about the check document, arguing the obstruction conviction is invalid because the charge was brought under the wrong statute and claiming he didn’t believe his statements to the FBI were literally false. USA v. Sampson, case number 1:13-cr-00269, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Sheldon Silver gets twelve years
#NY1TC fact: Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver also faces a $1.75 million fine and forfeiture of $5.3 million in assets.
— NY1 – The Call (@NY1TheCall) May 3, 2016
A compilation of lawmakers in New York state who have faced legal or ethical charges since 2000.
#NY1TC fact: Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver remains free on bail before he’s due to report to prison in July.
— NY1 – The Call (@NY1TheCall) May 3, 2016
[May 2 Andrew Cuomo was unaware Percoco was taking in money as a consultant while managing his campaign for Governor ]
[April 15 Sheldon Silver inamorata Patricia Lynch, former aide ]
On April 14, , U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni ordered that documents related to the conviction of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on corruption charges last fall be unsealed. Prosecutors say that the documents show Silver carried on extramarital affairs with at least two women—one of whom had business before the state legislature, and one of whom he helped get a government job.
“Sealed Party A” Sources identified the lobbyist as Patricia Lynch, a former top Silver aide who founded the once powerhouse firm of Patricia Lynch & Associates.
[ April 12 Sheldon Silver disbarred: sentencing postponed ]
The sentencing for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been postponed again until May 12th. Assemblywoman Deborah Glick is being challenged for her Assembly seat in the Primary April 19.
Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is no longer a lawyer, a state appellate court ruled March 29.
The disgraced ex-Assemblyman was stripped of his law license March 29 after a panel of Manhattan Appellate Division judges ruled that, based on Silver’s conviction on fraud and extortion charges in November, he was essentially automatically disbarred.
The court ruled Silver should be “stricken from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law in the State of New York” as of Nov. 30, 2015, the date of his conviction.
In the Matter of Sheldon Silver, an attorney and counselor-at-law: Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Sheldon Silver, (OCA Atty. Reg. No. 1670736) Respondent.
[January 30 Hillary: the curious incident of the cleared bathroom]
Eliot Spitzer and his mother, Anne, threw $100,000 at a Martin O’Malley super-pac, Generation Forward PAC, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission on January 29.
Perhaps significantly, the donation came in late September, when Spitzer was still dating Lis Smith, O’Malley’s deputy campaign manager. They have since broken up.
Generation Forward raised $514,000 in the entire second half of last year — about 20 percent of that came from the Spitzers. O’Malley is currently polling just over 2 percent nationally.
Hillary Clinton returned late to the Democratic debate stage December 16 in Manchester, New Hampshire because she was using the restroom
She allegedly waited for the restroom to be completely cleared out so that she wouldn’t have to share with Lis Smith, a Martin O’Malley staffer inside.
Smith is the girlfriend of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.
[January 26 Skelos move for acquittal on all counts and a new trial]
In a three-page filing January 25, Lawyers for former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, who were convicted in December on public-corruption charges, move for acquittal on all counts and a new trial. “The defendants are seeking an acquittal because the evidence submitted at trial was insufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of the offenses charged against them,”
[December 12 2015 Guilty, The Skeloses face sentencing March 3 at 10 a.m.]
Though the winds of Bharara’s storm have not blown on Cuomo’s executive branch yet,
[December 11 Skelos jurors asked to rehear some wiretap and other secret recordings]
Deliberations started December 10 at the Manhattan trial of the Long Island Republican and his 33-year-old son, Adam Skelos. At the outset, jurors asked to rehear some wiretap and other secret recordings central to the case.
Skelos offers no defense,
Skelos and his son opted against testifying in their own defense. Defense lawyers called no witnesses December 8 after the prosecution finished its case. Defense lawyers say Skelos and his son will be vindicated.
Skelos has retained his Senate seat but relinquished his leadership position.
Defense lawyers are scheduled to deliver closings Wednesday.
The summations cap a three-week trial that’s featured numerous recordings of father-son phone conversations as well as chats between the defendants and others.
The case is being tried before Southern District Judge Kimba Wood.
[December 2 Silver’s Chief of Staff Judith Rapfogel given notice]
Silver’s eight remaining staffers — including Chief of Staff Judith Rapfogel — have been given their six-week notices, officials said. Silver is still in line for a hefty state pension worth an estimated $87,000 a year. But prosecutors with Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office have warned that they would try to seize it if he can’t make restitution.
[December 1 Election for Sheldon Silver’s seat will be held on April 19]
Governor Andrew Cuomo has set a special election to fill former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s seat following his conviction November 30 on federal corruption charges. It will be held on April 19. Meanwhile, Silver’s attorneys say they will file an appeal to get the verdict overturned. The 71-year-old was found guilty on charges of honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering.
Within the space of less than a week, Silver, the former New York Assembly speaker, was found guilty on seven counts of corruption charges, while his old pal Rapfogel, the disgraced former CEO of New York’s Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, was released from prison.
[November 15 Day #1 State Senator Skelos goes on trial
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tatiana Martins promised the jury would hear “dozens” of wiretap recordings of Dean and Adam Skelos bragging of the family’s power and warning of the consequences of crossing them.
“I’m going to be president of the Senate,” Skelos boasted in one of those recordings, according to the criminal complaint. “I’m going to be majority leader. I’m going to control everything. I’m going to control who gets on what committees, what legislation goes to the floor, what legislation comes through committees, the budget, everything.”
Quoting this statement, Martins said: “As Dean Skelos’ power grew, Adam Skelos’ wallet grew too.”
To avoid detection for their political favors, the Skeloses spoke in “code words” and used “burner phones,” Martins said, referring to disposable prepaid cellphones commonly used by drug dealers.
Attorneys for Dean Skelos, a Republican from Nassau County, acknowledge that he helped his son get jobs with the Scottsdale, Arizona-based environmental firm AbTech and the medical malpractice insurance company PRI, as prosecutors allege.
The senator’s attorney Robert Gage, from the firm Gage, Spencer & Fleming, LLP, cast this as the behavior of a “concerned and involved father, not a criminal conspiracy.”
[November 16] State Senator Dean G. Skelos of Long Island, the former Republican leader in the Senate goes on trial
State Senator Dean G. Skelos of Long Island, the former Republican leader in the Senate, and his son, Adam Skelos, have both pleaded not guilty; jury selection beain on November 16.
Their trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan on an eight-count indictment that includes bribery and extortion charges is scheduled to begin just as the unrelated corruption case against Sheldon Silver, the former speaker of the State Assembly, enters its third week.
November 9 Convicted ex-NYS Senator Malcolm Smith turned himself in to prison\
Convicted ex-NYS Senator Malcolm Smith turned himself in to a rural Pennsylvania prison October 27 to begin serving his 7 year prison sentence for trying to buy his way onto the ballot to become mayor of New York
Sheldon Silver trial continues
The case against Silver will turn on whether prosecutors can produce and explain evidence that the ex-speaker’s maneuverings and deals rose to the level of criminal activities rather than an extreme form of routine Albany deal-making politics. “There are two sides to every story, and we haven’t heard [Silver’s] side” yet, wrote Mel Miller in a Wall Street Journal op-ed column earlier this year. Will Silver and Skelos be convicted? If they are, will they be sent to prison? The historical record may give both men cause for hope.
Silver can appeal
Former Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno was indicted by federal authorities for wire and mail fraud and other corrupt actions in 2009. Five years of trials, convictions, appeals, and challenges to the constitutionality of the laws that were the basis of prosecution resulted in acquittal. Bruno held a press conference to declare he had been completely exonerated and that the whole thing had been “persecution, not prosecution.” New York taxpayers wound up footing most of Bruno’s legal bills because state law allows officials to be reimbursed for “reasonable” legal fees if they are acquitted of crimes pertaining to their official duties.
One-time Assembly Speaker Melvin Miller and his law partner were convicted in 1991 of federal charges of cheating legal clients out of some of the profits from investments in cooperative apartments in New York City. The charges were unrelated to Miller’s legislative work but the conviction meant automatic expulsion from the legislature. Miller was sentenced to community service which he performed at the Henry Street and University Settlements in New York City, working on mental health and other problems. Two years later, the conviction was overturned on appeal. Miller’s actions “may not have been a model of candor and disclosure,” the court said, but they did not constitute crimes. Miller decided not to run for office again but continued his legal practice and also worked as a lobbyist.
In 1975, Assembly Speaker Stanley Steingut and his son were indicted on charges that they had promised to assist a donor to the younger Stenigut’s campaign for City Council to obtain an unsalaried city job in return for a $2,500 contribution. The exact nature of the position was never clear; press speculation was that it was an honorary deputy police commissioner or unsalaried adviser to the Civilian Complaint Review Board. The Steinguts apparently did not deliver the promised position and the aggrieved donor — or someone else, it was never entirely clear — complained to the district attorney. He brought charges under a seldom invoked statue that said an office holder could be charged with “corruptly using” his position in exchange for a benefit, usually cash. It was a shaky case at best.
Steingut denied the accusation and refused to resign as Speaker. Two years later, the Count of Appeals dismissed the indictment on the grounds that there was no evidence of “a materially harmful impact upon governmental processes.” Steingut was elated but his vindication led to overconfidence and neglect of politics in his home district. In 1978, he lost his Assembly seat in a primary election.
Then-Assembly Speaker Perry B. Duryea and several others were indicted in 1973 for “vote siphoning.” Prosecutors asserted that they set up a phony Liberal Party committee to print and distribute literature for Liberal candidates in marginal legislative districts in order to draw votes away from Democratic candidates, thereby aiding Republicans.
Duryea proclaimed his innocence and refused to step down as Speaker. The next year the charges were dismissed when the section of the election law requiring sponsors of political literature to identify themselves was ruled unconstitutional. Duryea believed the whole thing was a scheme by political opponents to derail his pursuit of the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 1974. Four years later, out from under the cloud of the voting scandal, he secured the nomination but lost the election to Governor Hugh Carey.
Senator Arthur Wicks of Kingston became majority leader in 1949 and, in 1953, also began serving as acting Lieutenant Governor after the incumbent resigned. Press investigative reports that fall disclosed that he had made several visits to Joseph Fay, a labor union leader imprisoned in Sing Sing prison for extortion. Wicks made a paid TV broadcast on Oct. 18, 1953, saying that he had once asked Fay’s help “to see that [a union] jurisdictional fight terminated” and other times had asked him “to keep labor peace in my district.”
Wicks compared the visits to Fay to the President negotiating with Communist leader Joseph Stalin — unpleasant but necessary. That analogy didn’t wash with Governor Thomas Dewey or most state senators. Wicks was never formally charged with wrongdoing but consulting with a felon at Sing Sing hardly seemed appropriate for one of the state’s top officials. Dewey convinced him to resign as majority leader and acting Lieutenant Governor. But he held on to his Senate seat, and was re-elected in 1954.
In 1910, Senator Benn Conger accused Majority Leader Jotham P. Allds of having taken a bribe to kill a piece of legislation back in 1901, when both were serving in the Assembly. Allds proclaimed his innocence, the Senate investigated, and an eyewitness testified that he had seen Allds take a $1,000 bribe in Conger’s presence. “I guess it’s all right, Conger, it feels good!” Allds had said as he put the envelope with the bribe into his suit pocket. Allds resigned from the Senate just before a vote that had been scheduled to expel him. But he was never prosecuted.
The Senate investigation that unseated Allds also revealed that S. Frederick Nixon, Assembly Speaker from 1899 to 1905 had often taken bribes to advance or kill legislation. He was at the head of a corrupt system of “bill-killing and law-getting,” in the words of a contemporary journal article. By 1910, though, Nixon was dead, so only his reputation was tarnished.
History suggests that neither party is more inclined to corruption than the other. Silver, Miller, and Steingut are Democrats; Skelos, Bruno, Duryea, Wicks and Allds, Republicans.
Silver has been speaker since 1994, the second longest tenured speaker in history, and some people have suggested that is too long, leading to arrogance and a sense of entitlement.
[May 12 Republican State Senator Dean Skelos resigns from his position as majority leader]
Senate Republicans succeeded in convincing State Senator Dean Skelos to resign from his position as majority leader. Skelos has maintained his innocence and repeatedly said he had no plans to step down until persuaded otherwise by editorial boards and other political leaders. State Senator John Flanagan, a Skelos ally who chairs the Senate Education Committee, is said to be his replacement. In January, the Assembly starred in a nearly identical bit of resignation drama; Sheldon Silver stepped down from his role as speaker after being arrested on federal corruption charges. Skelos, who will still serve in the Senate he led since 2008,decided to give up his leadership post because he recognized he was becoming a “distraction.
[May 4 Dean Skelos and his son Adam surrender to Feds]
[April 30 Judy Rapfogel, $180, 503-a-year; Firm in Skelos Probe Hires Defense Attorney]
AbTech Industries, an Arizona company caught up in a federal investigation into New York state Senate leader Dean Skelos has retained defense attorney Randy Mastro to provide counsel to the president and the company.
Nassau County legislators who approved a large contract that federal prosecutors reportedly are scrutinizing as part of a corruption probe into State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said they did not know the winning bidder had employed Skelos’ son. AbTech Industries, an Arizona company received a $12 million storm-water treatment contract from Nassau County, even though another company submitted a lower bid. The senator, 67, and Adam, 32, live in houses near each other in Rockville Centre.
Silver’s friend and chief of staff, Judy Rapfogel, has been raking in $180, 503-a-year and even received a $10,000 raise in the month prior to Silver’s arrest. Rapfogel’s salary, which exceeds the $179,000 earned by Gov. Cuomo, remained constant even as she transitioned from the speaker’s office to Silver’s personal legislative staff, with her responsibilities diminishing.
[February 1 Republican state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Ruskin, Moscou Faltischek
US Attorney Preet Bharara’s ongoing investigation of Albany corruption is closely examining the relationship between Republican state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Ruskin, Moscou Faltischek, the Long Island law firm that has been paying him as much as $250,000 a year.
More on Skelos
New Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) has retained Silver’s veteran staff, including Counsel James Yates and Program and Policy Secretary Lou Ann Ciccone. Communications Director Michael Whyland has also been asked to stay. In 1997 his mother, Helene, was arrested by the Bronx district attorney and charged with embezzling $197,000 from a nonprofit called the Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Center.The organization was funded entirely by tax dollars and was supposed to provide home health care to Medicare and Medicaid recipients. Helene Heastie was a high-level employee there for many years Helene Heastie ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree grand larceny, a felony, and was sentenced to five years’ probation.
[February 6 Malcolm Smith guilty on bribery charges]
A White Plains federal found Malcolm Smith, guilty on bribery charges. The trial was actually the second for Smith — the first one last year ended in a mistrial for him, but resulted in the conviction of one of their co-conspirators, former city Councilman Daniel Halloran. More below.
More on Skelos
anuary 31 State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos next after Silver?]
A probe from information provided by a tipster is on into state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ outside income. Mike Avella, a lobbyist who is close to Skelos and other GOP senators, is partners with Brian Meara, a veteran lobbyist who helped the feds bust Silver. US Attorney Preet Bharara is looking at his connections to various real estate deals.
NY State Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos’ office released a statement saying “Last night’s thinly sourced report by WNBC is irresponsible and does not meet the standards of serious journalism,”
Earlier, Skelos denied he would replace Sen. Thomas Libous as his deputy.
1 Jul 2014: Republican state Sen. Thomas Libous of Binghamton, was arraigned on charges of lying to the FBI about using his influence to get his son a job with a Westchester County law firm in exchange for the senator’s promises to steer business to the firm. Prosecutors also believe the senator arranged for a lobbying firm to pay the law firm $50,000 a year to defray the cost of “the inflated salary that Libous requested” for his son, according to the indictment.
[January 29 Silver to resign: Weitz & Luxenberg was shocked — shocked0
[ January 28 Silver to resign “I believe very deeply in the institution”]
Sheldon Silver January 27 agreed to resign as Assembly speaker . Silver’s decision to step down came amid calls from fellow Democrats to do so.
“I will not impede the process. . . .I believe very deeply in the institution.”
A NYC speaker has long been the tradition. The last upstate speaker was Binghamton’s James Tallon, who only held the position for a few days after the conviction on federal fraud charges of former Speaker Mel Miller, who was later exonerated. Tallon, as majority leader, automatically rose to the position of interim speaker when Miller was convicted, but he was quickly deposed by Assemblyman Saul Weprin, of Queens. Mr. Miller, who now works for former Sen. Al D’Amato’s lobbying firm, Park Strategies, said he speaks with Mr. Silver occasionally.
Majority Leader Joe Morelle said with a throng of Democrats standing behind him. “The members will come out on the floor. We will set Feb. 10 as the election date for the new speaker.” The Feb. 10 vote for speaker will be the first in 21 years. Elected to the chamber in 1976, Silver was picked by his colleagues.
Silver has presided over the state’s budget negotiations for two decades as speaker. New York state’s budget process is highly condensed with the state’s fiscal year starting on April 1, compared with July 1 for most other state. That means any delay runs the risk of overshooting the deadline.
“This is truly unchartered territory,” said McMahon. “The executive state budget is a big unwieldy document, so in such a compressed budget period every day counts.”
The Ways and Means Committee, the body responsible for negotiating the budget on behalf of the Assembly, is still missing a permanent secretary, and the fate of Silver’s counsel Jim Yates, a key budget negotiator, is now also uncertain.
[January 22 Feds seize $3.8 million of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’ money]
“There is probable cause to believe that Silver received approximately $4 million in payments characterized as attorney referral fees solely through the corrupt use of his official position.” Mr. Silver did essentially no work for the payments.
Prosecutors seized approximately $3.8 million of Mr. Silver’s money on January 22 morning.
His longtime Senate counterpart, Joseph Bruno, was acquitted of taking bribes disguised as consulting fees from an upstate businessman.
One of Silver’s predecessors as speaker, Mel Miller, was convicted of corruption in the early 1990s but the conviction was overturned by a federal appeals court.
Two former state Senate Democratic leaders, John Sampson and Malcolm Smith, are facing criminal charges.
Federal investigators arrested state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver who represents the Lower East Side and has been the speaker for more than 20 years, January 22 on corruption charges. Silver was being held Thursday at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan. He was afforded the right of self-surrender, as opposed to a public “perp” walk, owing to his status as a veteran state lawmaker.
Silver is expected to appear in court for arraignment later in the day
[January 5 New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and 421a tax breaks]
There are 1,294 active petitions for reassessment of property taxes by real estate developers retaining Goldberg & Iryami as counsel. At least 27 of those properties separately receive §421a tax breaks. Many of the petitions for reassessment were submitted by large developers including Leonard Litwin and Baruch Singer.
[January 1 Silver and money not listed on the Assembly speaker’s annual financial disclosure forms]
01/01/15: Assembly Speaker Sheldon predicted the Democrat-dominated Assembly would re-elect him to the post he has held since 1994.
“Members of my conference have confidence in me, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment on this matter,” Mr. Silver said.
Goldberg & Iryami, is said to have paid New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver money over the course of about a decade. The payments, however, were not listed on the Assembly speaker’s annual financial disclosure forms. How much money Silver received from the firm is unclear, but the sum is thought to be “substantial”. Goldberg & Iryami, has two lawyers, has represented owners of properties across New York City, including the owners of several large co-ops on the Lower East Side, the home of Silver’s political base. The firm has tried to lower real estate taxes on Silver’s co-op, the Hillman Housing Corp., and the building across the street that houses his campaign committee.
Rep. Michael Grimm to pleads guilty to felony count of tax evasion, resigns
House Speaker John Boehner said Grimm had made an “honorable” decision in stepping down.
“I know it was made with the best interests of his constituents and the institution in mind, and I appreciate his years of service in the House,” he said.
In a 20-count indictment in April, prosecutors accused Grimm of paying employees with envelopes of cash and of lying under oath about his responsibility for handling payroll.
He pleaded not guilty at the time, insisting he was the target of a political witch hunt and said he would fight tooth and nail until he was exonerated, but changed his mind after discussion with Boehner December 29.
[December 22]Rep. Michael Grimm to plead guilty to felony count of tax evasion, sources say
The Staten Island Republican was charged in a 20-count indictment with hiding more than $1 million in income and wages at a Manhattan restaurant he co-owned
[October 3 Rob Astorino places daisy attack ad just once, gets lots of web talk]
Republican Rob Astorino has released a TV spot that mimics a 1964 ad against Goldwater to attack Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
[July 29 City Councilman Dan Halloran guilty ]
Former City Councilman Dan Halloran was found guilty Tuesday of masterminding a failed $200,000 bribery scheme to get Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith the Republican line in last year’s mayoral election. A White Plains federal jury deliberated for less than an hour and a half before finding the disgraced Queens Republican guilty on all five counts of bribery, wire fraud and racket eeriing charges that he faced. Afterwards, federal prosecutors accused Halloran of committing perjury on the witness stand and Judge Kenneth Karas also said he doubted the pol’s “candor” under oath. [June 27 Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa, Washington Heights, resigns, gets a year and 18 months in jail under plea]
Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa (D-Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill) pleaded guilty June 27 to committing marriage fraud 18 years ago to become a U.S. citizen. Rosa was the chief of staff for disgraced City Councilman Miguel Martinez, who resigned when it was discovered he was funneling Council money to nonprofits he and family members were connected to. As part of her guilty plea in Manhattan federal court, Gabriela Rosa agreed to immediately step down as representative of the 72nd Assembly District covering Washington Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill. She was elected in 2012. Ms. Rosa, 47 years old, said in court that she lied to immigration officials about her marital status in 1996 and lied on her bankruptcy petition 13 years later about her and her second husband’s incomes. “I married this person and it was not a real marriage,” Ms. Rosa, 47 years old, said before Judge Denise Cote in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Each count carries a maximum five year sentence. But under the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to recommend that Judge Cote sentence Ms. Rosa to between a year and 18 months in jail and fine her up to $30,000. Ms. Rosa was released on $100,000 bail. After court, Ms. Rosa said, “The decision I am making today to step down it is not related to my performance as a member of the assembly.” [June 19] The federal bribery case against New York state Sen. Malcolm Smith ended in a mistrial on June 17, giving the former majority leader a chance to seek an eighth term in office before he is retried in January. for Messrs. Smith and Tabone opted to start over, and a new trial date was set for Jan. 5 2015. A federal judge granted a mistrial motion for Smith in the $200,000 bribery case, as well as a top Queens Republican operative, after not enough jurors were willing to serve more than a month longer than expected to resolve issues with recently disclosed taped calls by the government’s star witness. Mr. de Blasio told reporters today that he will not endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary for the uptown and Bronx-based seat held by Congressman Charlie Rangel. Mr. de Blasio who managed his campaign in the 1990s, simply said “no” when questioned about his endorsement. Mr. de Blasio was long rumored to remain neutral in the race or even back Mr. Espaillat–both the city comptroller and speaker of the City Council already endorsed Mr. Espaillat–but his decision to not endorse Mr. Rangel.
[June 5] Diana Durand of Houston, The ex-girlfriend of New York Rep. Michael Grimm ]
Diana Durand of Houston, The ex-girlfriend of New York Rep. Michael Grimm , pleaded not guilty to charges she was involved in his campaign straw donor scheme, through her lawyer on June 2 in federal court in Brooklyn. Many believe that U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-C, Brooklyn-Staten Island) will stick it out and still have a fair chance of getting re-elected in November in the very heated race with Democrat Domenic Recchia. The national ultra-negative perception of Michael Grimm and his alleged misdeeds differs substantially from that of Staten Island.
Bay Ridge-Staten Island Republican-Conservative Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis says she will not enter the race (if Grimm leaves the ballot) “because we already have a congressman.” There remains the outside possibility that the very photogenic Assemblywoman Malliotakis, a far more attractive candidate could be a congressional nominee in November. She’s smart, personable, with a good sense of humor, and she isn’t afraid of challenging her critics when she feels she’s not being fairly treated. To win her first term, she had to defeat very talented incumbent Democrat Janele Hyer-Spencer, who had every bit of support possible from Democratic Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver. [June 2] Former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes – “Even my players aren’t players” – Casey Stengel
The city Department of Investigation has found that former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes possibly used more than $200,000 of assets seized during criminal investigations to pay political consultants, the agency said in a report released June 2. DOI investigators found “possible criminal conduct” concerning the source of payments made to the firm of Mortimer Matz, a longtime spokesman and consultant to the district attorney’s office, the report said. The funds were paid during Mr. Hynes’s failed 2013 re-election bid, the report said. Mr. Matz’s services appear to have been paid for, in part from the state forfeiture fund. Between January 2011 and November 2013, Mr. Matz’s public relations firm, Matz, Blancato & Associates submitted approximately 80 invoices to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, the report said. The description section of each invoice charged a $536.40 daily rate and noted it was for public relations and communications services, the report said. Investigators said the invoices bill the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office $2,682 a week. The office issued an average of two or three checks of that size to Mr. Matz’s firm monthly, and that the money appears to have been paid from a subaccount called “asset forfeiture,” the report said. The specified reason for each check was “office consultants (not case related),” the report said. Between 2012 and 2013, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office paid Matz, Blancato & Associates $219,924 total, the report said. Office personnel told investigators that between 2003 and 2013, the district attorney’s office paid Mr. Matz’s firm approximately $1.1 million out of the state asset forfeiture funds. Mr. Hynes, 78, who served 24 years in office before being defeated by Kenneth Thompson this fall, also used office emails for campaign purposes and enlisted workers, some high-ranking, to help in his re-election bid during office hours [May 22]
Former Bronx state Assemblyman Eric Stevenson was sentenced to 3 years in prison o n May 21 by a federal judge who said he had “betrayed” his constituents by taking $22,000 in bribes from four businessmen – Igor Belyansky, Rostislav Belyansky, Igor Tsimerman and David Binman – to operate and build adult day-care centers in New York City’s Bronx borough. “The crimes of conviction were selling an assemblyman’s core functions for money,” Manhattan U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska told Stevenson, 47, a two-term Democrat. As part of the investigation, prosecutors secured the cooperation of another state legislator, Assemblyman Nelson Castro, a Bronx Democrat, who wore a wire as part of a deal to avoid perjury charges related to statements he made when he was a candidate in 2008. Castro resigned from office in April 2013 when the Stevenson case became public. Although it was more than Stevenson wanted, the sentence fell well short of the four-plus years requested by prosecutor Preet Bharara. [May 14]
Rasheida Smith, Rep. Charles Rangel’s campaign manager helped create a nonprofit for City Councilman Reuben Wills. “With no decision-making authority, my firm acted as a filer for several non-profits in this administrative capacity only with no continuing role with any of these entities after the initial filings,” Smith wrote. Smith is the founder of her own consulting firm, Dunton Consulting, and previously worked for at least two other politicians facing corruption charges, state Sens. Malcolm Smith and John Sampson. [May 8] Councilman Ruben Wills, 42, of Jamaica, Queens, was arrested Wednesday on charges including scheming to defraud, grand larceny and falsifying business records. Former state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Queens) — for whom Wills once worked as chief of staff —steered a $33,000 legislative appropriation known as a “member item” to a charity Wills controlled, New York 4 Life, which had vowed to use the money to attack childhood obesity, help single dads and moms, and revitalize neighborhoods. The charity held one event costing $14,000 — and Wills took the rest “for personal benefit,” Ruben Wells also is charged with theft from his 2009 campaign. He created a shell company called Micro Targeting that billed Wills’ campaign $11,500 for work that was never performed. After receiving payment, Wills wrote a $6,800 check to New York 4 Life. Wills then withdrew that money or used it for purchases, such as the Vuitton bag, which he bought at Macy’s.
Judy Rapfogel is married to William Rapfogel and is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s chief of staff and longtime confidant. She earns $153,385 a year and is widely seen to be among the speaker’s most loyal aides. The fact that Vito Lopez, former member of the New York State Assembly, and the former chairman of the Democratic Party of Kings County, told one of his alleged victims that Silver and Rapfogel had an affair doesn’t make it true. She not attend the hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court
Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and his wife, Silda Wall Spitzer have filed for divorce. According to his 2011 and 2012 tax returns, Spitzer received a total of $350,000 in compensation for his work at Spitzer Engineering, plus nearly $5 million in real estate rents, and trusts and partnership income. He also received $2 million from his failed stint at as a talking head on CNN. Silda Wall is principal of NewWorld Capital Group, LLC NewWorld Capital Group is a private equity firm focused on investing in the rapidly-growing environmental opportunities sector, principally in the United States and Canada. NewWorld makes growth equity and control investments in mid-sized and smaller companies in energy efficiency, clean energy, water resources and reclamation, waste-to-value, and related environmental services. The Firm does not accept technology risk and invests only when a strong partnership can be formed with company management. NewWorld comprises a group of experienced investors and business builders from General Electric, McKinsey, and several private equity firms. [August 15 2013] William Rapfogel was canned after his board found “financial irregularities and apparent misconduct in connection with the organization’s insurance policies,” the organization said. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Controller Thomas DiNapoli confirmed they are investigating, but declined to further comment. Rapfogel is believed to have purchased insurance policies at inflated prices using the Met Council’s money and then received kickbacks from the agent, Century Coverage Corp., that sold them, a source said. The arrangement has been going on since at least 2009, the source added more Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker, is backed by 25 percent of Democratic voters, followed by 16 percent for William C. Thompson Jr., a former city comptroller, and 14 percent for Bill de Blasio, the public advocate. Anthony D. Weiner garners the support of 10 percent. Many voters have a visceral dislike for her. She generates the strongest negative emotions of any of the top Democrats. In private, another Ms. Quinn can emerge: controlling, temperamental and surprisingly volatile, with a habit of hair-trigger eruptions of unchecked, face-to-face wrath. She has threatened, repeatedly, to slice off the private parts of those who cross her. It’s going to be difficult for Quinn to reverse this impression between now and September 10. It may even be impossible, given her prominence as City Council speaker and the messy sausage-making that comes with the job [August 6] Billionaire George Soros endorsed New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for mayor. Soros said de Blasio, a 52-year-old Democrat, would work to reduce economic inequality and guard against too much influence over elections by corporations and wealthy individuals. Soros, who has given the campaign $2,000, was unavailable for interviews. He lives in Katonah in Westchester County, where he’s registered to vote. De Blasio placed second to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in a July 29 Quinnipiac University poll of likely Democratic mayoral voters, with 21 percent to Quinn’s 27 percent. Former city Comptroller William Thompson ranked third with 20 percent; former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner had 16 percent; and current Comptroller John Liu, 6 percent. The poll had a 4.6 percentage-point margin of error. De Blasio has raised $6.3 million from 5,631 donors, according to his July statement to the city Campaign Finance Board, which yesterday awarded him $2.2 million in 6-to-1 matching funds on donations of $175 or less. As of July 15, he’d spent about $1.9 million, and had a balance of $4.3 million. Board regulations place a $6.4 million spending limit on the primary election. [July 18]
Anthony D. Weiner and Christine C. Quinn remain at the front of the pack among Democratic candidates for mayor Mr. Weiner, a former United States representative who resigned after exchanging sexually explicit messages with women he knew only online, captured 25 percent of the vote among registered Democrats. He was followed closely by Ms. Quinn, the City Council speaker, with 22 percent. The difference between Mr. Weiner and Ms. Quinn was not statistically significant, because it was within the poll’s margin of sampling error. Mr. Weiner’s high standing was in part the result of strong support among black Democratic voters. Nearly a third supported him; only 14 percent supported Mr. Thompson, who is black and had been expected to be the most formidable candidate within the city’s African-American electorate. None of the candidates for mayor seems to have anything near the 40 percent required to avoid a runoff; if no candidate receives 40 percent of the vote in the primary, the two leading candidates will face off on Oct. 1. [July 10]
Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer leads Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer by nine percentage points in the race for New York City comptroller. Among registered Democrats, including those who are undecided but leaning toward a candidate, Mr. Spitzer outpaces Mr. Stringer 42% to 33% in the Democratic primary, the poll showed. Nearly a quarter of voters were undecided, but two-thirds of Democrats, or 67%, said they believe Mr. Spitzer, who resigned as governor five years ago after he was caught patronizing prostitutes, should be given a second chance. [July 1]
The Assembly ended its session without acting on a bill to bar the state from entering into confidential settlements — despite Speaker Sheldon Silver’s vow in the wake of the Vito Lopez scandal to pass the measure. Silver promised to push the bill at a news conference in May, part of his mea culpa over ex-Assemblyman Lopez. The Manhattan Democrat has been heavily criticized for entering into a secret $103,000 taxpayer-funded settlement with the first two women who accused Lopez of harassing them . Some of Silver’s Democratic members were worried that a total ban on confidential settlements could keep sex harassment victims from coming forward .. Silver has vowed that the Assembly will no longer agree to confidentiality settlements . “Which is it?” one insider asked. “You don’t move the bill because it will keep people from coming forward but then implement it yourself? It makes no sense.” Silver has already admitted it was a mistake to settle the initial complaints against Assemblyman Vito Lopez without forwarding the matter to the Assembly Ethics Committee – “one that will not be repeated.” “The speaker is deeply committed to ensuring that all our employees are treated with respect and dignity,” Whyland said in the statement. [June 26]
Mr. Weiner has passed City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, the longtime front-runner in the crowded Democratic primary, according to a poll released June 25. Mr. Weiner is now backed by 25 percent of registered Democrats, followed by Ms. Quinn with 20 percent, according to the poll, conducted by The Wall Street Journal, NBC New York and the Marist Poll, a rise without the help of any major union endorsement and a testament to just how split the labor vote could be in the primaries. But the newest poll adds flame to the fear of Democrats when Weiner first stirred speculation of a run with the New York Times Magazine profile on him and his wife, Huma Abedin: that his entry could lead to a runoff and, as a result, hand the election to the Republicans. [June 11] http://youtu.be/SisEaYYctEY
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said June 10 no final decision has been made on whether the state attorney general will represent him in two sexual-harassment lawsuits filed by former staffers against the speaker and ex-Assemb. Vito Lopez. The lawsuits, filed in federal and state courts last week, claim that Lopez (D-Brooklyn) routinely groped and harassed young female staffers and that Silver (D-Manhattan) abetted Lopez by quietly settling similar claims made by previous Lopez staffers. Asked if Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, also a Democrat, would represent him or if he’d turn to outside counsel, Silver said: “The matter is in litigation and is being sent to the attorney general as is every litigation against a state officer. . . . We have not concluded with the attorney general, but it is the ordinary course of business.” [June 6]
State GOP Chairman Ed Cox called JCOPE “toothless” and reiterated his call for a special prosecutor to investigate Silver. The Daily News scoop that an omitted email from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics report on the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal accuses Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver of carrying on an inappropriate relationship with an aide has given Republicans a new opening to criticize. State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox used the news to excoriate not just Silver, but aslo Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not seeking a new investigation into the powerful Assembly speaker.
An email claims Lopez “repeatedly” told one of the women “that he wanted their relationship to be the same as Mr. Silver’s to his Chief of Staff and was explicit in what that meant. The state ethics committee that investigated sexual harassment allegations against Assemblyman Vito Lopez omitted it from its final report. Silver’s chief of staff is longtime confidant Judy Rapfogel, who earns $153,385 a year and is widely seen to be among the speaker’s most loyal aides. Rapfogel, who is married to William Rapfogel, chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, called the comments in the email “absurd and insulting to all women.” Salted away in the fine print was $687,000 for the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty — twice the $340,000 salary of Met Council executive director William Rapfogel, the husband of Silver’s $154,000-a-year chief of staff, Judy Rapfogel. Chief Executive Officer: William E. Rapfogel William E. Rapfogel has served as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) since 1992. During the past two decades, it has grown into one of New York City’s largest and most efficient non-profits. Met Council and its grassroots network of Jewish Community Councils provide over 100,000 New Yorkers with immediate relief and lasting solutions to poverty. Mr. Rapfogel’s advocacy and expertise on the evolving issues surrounding Jewish poverty has won praise and recognition at national, state and city levels, including White House recognition. Through his leadership, Met Council continues to be on the cutting edge in its development of innovative comprehensive social services and community development to aid, sustain, and empower those in need. Prior to joining Met Council, Mr. Rapfogel served as Executive Director of the Institute for Public Affairs of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. He also served as Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress, Metropolitan Region. Mr. Rapfogel spent several years as Assistant New York City Comptroller under Harrison J. Goldin, and three years in the administration of Mayor Edward I. Koch. A graduate of Brooklyn College and the Columbia University Graduate Institute for Non-Profit Management, he serves on the board of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Kingsborough Community College Foundation, and as Vice Chairman of Senior Health Partners. He also served on the New York State Food Policy Council, and also serves as a member of the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Consumer Council. The document — a Feb. 14, 2012, email sent to Assembly lawyers from an attorney representing two Lopez staffers who accused Lopez of groping them — suggests Silver had an inappropriate relationship with a top aide. Lopez “repeatedly” told one of the women “that he wanted their relationship to be the same as Mr. Silver’s to his Chief of Staff and was explicit in what that meant.” The email also claims that the groping victims were so afraid of Silver and his chummy relationship with Lopez — and so upset that the Assembly had failed to “fully investigate” their allegations — that they declined an offer to take another job in the Assembly. The note from lawyer Mariann Wang, does not offer any proof that the Democratic speaker had a relationship with his chief of staff beyond the third-hand account attributed to Lopez, who was using it in an effort to seduce a staffer. Wang, who declined to comment, apparently invoked the alleged relationship to buttress her suggestion that the close ties between Silver and Lopez made her clients feel unsafe. “As I said to you on the phone last week,” Wang wrote to Assembly lawyer William Collins, “we do want to make clear that, from our perspective, the Assembly’s failure to fully investigate the allegations or take any correction action . . . combined with the fact that we understand that Mr. Lopez is quite close to Mr. Silver makes it difficult, particularly for (the victim) to feel safe or secure in returning to the Assembly.” The email is embarrassing to Silver both because of the allegation about his personal life and because it documents the women’s alarm over the Assembly’s “failure” to investigate their complaints. That alarm offers a direct contradiction to Silver’s repeated claim that the only reason he never sent the women’s allegations to the Assembly Ethics Committee was because the women wanted to keep the matter quiet and preferred to settle their complaints rather than see them move forward. The email was among documents turned over to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, known at JCOPE, when it started looking into the Lopez matter after two other women came forward with allegations against the former Brooklyn Democratic Party boss. But when the commission released its blockbuster report last month, there was no mention of the Feb. 14 email. The email also was not among the hundreds of supporting documents made public by the ethics commission in conjunction with the report, though several other email exchanges between Wang and Collins were disclosed. The report, which accused Lopez of a “pervasive pattern of abuse” that saw him grope and torment at least eight female staffers since 2010, forced Lopez to resign his Assembly seat last month. It also prompted Silver to apologize for his handling of the matter after the report found Silver and Assembly lawyers ignored the chamber’s own sexual harassment policy by not sending the complaints to the Assembly’s Ethics Committee for investigation. The report found Silver exposed more women to harassment from Lopez by instead settling the case in a deal that cost taxpayers more than $103,000. But the Joint Commission has been criticized for not more aggressively scrutinizing the speaker’s actions. A JCOPE spokesman wouldn’t comment on whether the email was deliberately omitted. “The Joint Commission issued a comprehensive report which included critical evidence related to allegations that Vito Lopez violated the state public officers law, and it was released in its entirety,” said spokesman John Milgrim. Silver has admitted it was a mistake to not send the initial complaints to the ethics committee but has repeatedly maintained it was done to protect the anonymity of the victims. “The only instance in which a complaint would not be handled by the ethics committee would be if a victim insisted for reasons of personal privacy that it not go before the committee,” the Assembly said in a statement last August. “The Assembly would only keep such a matter confidential at the express insistence of the victim.” As recently as last month, Silver insisted his actions were done to protect the victims. “That I allowed this system to be bypassed in the first instance, even though I believed I was acting in good faith, was a failure on my part, and now that we know the atrociousness of the misconduct, it only makes the failure more glaring,” Silver said at a press conference. JCOPE, in its report, notes a Jan. 19, 2012, email Collins sent to Wang complaining that her clients had not responded to repeated Assembly requests for guidance on what actions they wanted the Assembly to take. The report also includes Wang’s immediate reply that it was the Assembly’s responsibility — not her clients’ — to determine what steps to take regarding an investigation. No mention is made, however, of the stronger language in the Feb. 14 email. Silver spokesman Michael Whyland downplayed the significance of the Feb. 14 email and JCOPE’s decision not to mention it in its report. “This is correspondence between lawyers many weeks into a settlement process requested by the employees’ attorney and months after the allegations were first made,” Whyland said in a statement. “The JCOPE report shows we clearly reached out to the victim to determine how she wanted to proceed. In retrospect, this decision was wrong, and, as we have stated, we should have immediately forwarded the initial contact from the victim to the Assembly Ethics Committee,” he continued. “As we said from the start, we have made mistakes in the way this was handled, and we are making major changes in the Assembly to ensure that they do not happen again.” Wang’s email marked the second time Silver has been publicly accused of having inappropriate relations with staff members since the Lopez scandal erupted. In trying to beat back the charges against his client, Lopez attorney Gerald Lefcourt wrote in a submission to JCOPE that “stories of the speaker’s serial and sometimes overlapping personal relationships with his own staff have long circulated in Albany.” Whyland called those allegations “despicable and false.” [May 28] While Schneiderman opposed the settlement as unfair and inadequate, saying losses to shareholders were $6.6 billion. He argued that a prior appeals court ruling meant that approval of the class-action settlement would preclude the state from obtaining damages. Then he dropped the damages claim, the state cited the settlement and the desire to “avoid further delay.” An attorney for Greenberg now argues that by dropping its pursuit of money damages, the lawsuit is fatally flawed. New York “long ago abandoned” any claim for an injunction, such as a bar from the securities industry, Greenberg attorney David Boies of Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP wrote in an April 26 letter to the appeals court. [May 22]
A New York ethics commission found that Assemblyman Vito Lopez violated state law by sexually harassing four female staff members, and that Speaker Sheldon Silver and his staff concealed the charges in a bid to avoid negative publicity. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, in a long-anticipated, 70-page report released Wednesday, described in graphic detail the accounts of four women who worked for Mr. Lopez, including allegations that he made demeaning comments about their appearance and dress, required them to send him flattering text messages and pressed them for intimate contact. The commission found that Mr. Lopez’s conduct violated three provisions of the state’s public officers law, and referred the matter to the Assembly’s Legislative Ethics Commission, which can fine the assemblyman $10,000. In a statement, Mr. Lopez’s called the report’s findings “fallacious,” saying its findings “are simply not true.” Silver spokesman Michael Whyland, in a statement, noted that Silver has already admitted it was a mistake to settle the initial complaints against Assemblyman Vito Lopez without forwarding the matter to the Assembly Ethics Committee – “one that will not be repeated.” “The speaker is deeply committed to ensuring that all our employees are treated with respect and dignity,” Whyland said in the statement. Silver, according to Whyland, reiterated his call for Lopez to resign. more
In the thick of the heated mayoral race, in which Christine Quinn is the Democratic front-runner but has seen her lead ebb somewhat recently, and ahead of a Quinn memoir that will be released on June 11, 2013 perhaps with voters’ questions in mind, Quinn, 46, said she went to rehab at 26 for bulimia and considers herself a recovering alcoholic to this day; that after leaving rehab, she drank rarely — perhaps a glass of wine a month — for years and then stopped altogether about three years ago. Bulimia, or a compulsive cycle of binge eating and then inducing vomiting can be associated with gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and other problems.
[May 9] UPDATE: Schneiderman’s office sent the following statement from spokesman Damien LaVera: “Throughout his career, Attorney General Schneiderman has demonstrated a commitment to rooting out political corruption. He was the first prosecutor to indict Shirley Huntley last summer. Shirley Huntley’s reference to him in her sentencing statement appears to be an attempt at retaliation against Attorney General Schneiderman, who has never hired Melvin Lowe or used his services. He will continue to use every tool at his disposal to ensure New Yorkers have the open and honest government they deserve.” [May 7]
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman,on May 6, said, “The charges announced today are very serious, and if true, disturbing.” Schneiderman was part of the deal that installed Sampson, Smith and Pedro Espada as leaders of the New York State Senate in 2010 Sen. John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) is identified in court papers as asking ex-Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Queens) to wield her influence on behalf of a businessman who held a Kennedy Airport lease in March 2012 In 2010, Inspector General Joseph Fisch said the selection in January of Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG) by Governor David Paterson, Senate Democratic Conference leader John Sampson, Senate President Pro Tempore Malcolm Smith and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver followed a process that removed lobbying restrictions and let campaign cash flow to decision makers.Senate leaders leaked an internal memo containing competitors’ bid information to AEG, originally a low-ranked bidder, helping it move up. “These actions by Sens. Sampson and Smith potentially implicate the Public Officers Law’s prohibitions of unduly conferring benefits or favoritism and acting in violation of their public trust,” Fisch said in the report. The statute of limitations on federal crimes such as fraud or bid-rigging is five years. Should Mr. Sampson indeed be charged as expected, his arrest will follow State Senator Malcolm Smith, State Senator Pedro Espada and State Senator Carl Kruger, Councilman Dan Halloran, Councilman Larry Seabrook, Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, all charged or convicted in bribery or embezzlement schemes. Furthermore, Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. was indicted for stealing public funds May 3.
The 12-member jury found Xing Wu (Oliver) Pan guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and attempt to commit wire fraud, while Jia (Jenny) Hou was found guilty of the latter charge, attempted wire fraud, obstruction of justice and making false statements.[ [April 18]
Former Democratic City Council candidate Kevin Kim may run for the position currently held by Republican Councilman Dan Halloran, who was arrested earlier this month on bribery charges. In 2009, Kim defeated a crowded field of candidates — including Paul Vallone and Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece — in the Democratic Primary. The general election campaign against Halloran was particularly nasty and racially-charged. Critics said Halloran was pandering to anti-Asian sentiment in a district that is undergoing demographic changes in recent years.The Asian population has surged in northeast Queens, especially in the areas of Flushing, Bayside, Whitestone, Little Neck and Douglaston. [April 9]
Former Gov. David Paterson believes a “lower caliber type of legislator” is now inhabiting Albany but his criticism of the Legislature does not extend to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Paterson, speaking on an Albany radio show this morning, offered a very vocal show of support for Silver and rejected the notion – floated in a media report Monday – that Gov. Cuomo is working behind-the-scenes to remove the powerful Manhattan Democrat. [April 4] At a meeting with Mark Stern, while allegedly promising at least $20,000 in City Council pork in exchange. on Sept. 27, 2012, an undercover agent said he had funneled $6,500 in illegal contributions to Halloran’s Congressional campaign, by paying off straw donors so that the agent’s name wouldn’t appear in official documents. The issue of straw donors has attracted Federal authorities’ attention for years. Straw donors are used to circumvent limits on campaign contributions. The campaign treasurer and a fundraiser for another Queens politician, City Comptroller John Liu, are going on trial April 15 for that very practice. Moses “Mark” Stern, The Satmar Hasid from Monsey teamed up with an undercover federal agent in the sting as part of a secret cooperation agreement is according to the Jewish Daily Forward, a “key Orthodox power broker” in the upstate Jewish community. The State attorney general Eric Schneiderman’s office said Stern never directly contributed funds to the attorney general’s campaign, but acknowledged a connection between the two. Stern and Schneiderman were so close that Stern helped fundraise for the attorney general and attended his 2011 inaugural party. Stern, a father of nine who lives in a gaudy mansion, has a penchant for expensive liquor, cigars and fancy cars. Stern is also a cousin of Tuvia Stern — the notorious swindler who threw lavish a bar mitzvah in his jail cell in the Tombs in 2009. Before he was locked up, Tuvia spent 20 years on the lam after he was busted in 1989 for stealing $1.7 million. more [April 2]
City Councilman Dan Halloran, a 42-year-old lawyer and former city cop, ran for Congress last year, but lost to then-Assemblywoman Grace Meng. During that campaign, the state Board of Elections had referred his campaign to the Albany DA for investigation and possible prosecution because he had not filed state campaign-finance reports for more than two years. Halloran later filed the appropriate forms. During the campaign, Councilman Halloran said:”“In my race, my opponent had her father arrested and indicted in federal court yesterday for scamming $80,000 out of a Chinese businessman, on tape, by FBI. And he bundled one quarter of her money for her race, but they don’t even mention her! Don’t even mention her!” Mr. Halloran was likely referencing a report that Mr. Meng had fundraised “heavily” for his daughter, although the exact amount he helped raise isn’t easy to ascertain. “If that had been me, it would have been as if I committed the crime,” he added. “Why? Because I’m a Republican.” According to the indictment unsealed April 2, Mr. Halloran set up a meeting at which the undercover agent and the witness met Joseph J. Savino, the Bronx GOP chairman, and Vincent Tabone, vice chairman of the Queens Republican Party, and negotiated the amounts of the bribes for the documents. In exchange, Mr. Halloran sought and received more than $20,000 in cash for himself, prosecutors said. Mr. Tabone and Mr. Savino were paid cash bribes of more than $40,000 and were promised $40,000 more, and they in turn, agreed to use their official capacities with Republican Party county committees to obtain the documents Mr. Smith would need to run for mayor as a Republican. Mr. Smith, in exchange for help from Mr. Savinio and Mr. Tabone, agreed to use his senate office to help win state funds for a road project in Spring Valley that would benefit a real estate project that Senator Smith believed was being built by a company belonging to the undercover agent. The complaint said that on Nov. 16, Mr. Smith met the undercover agent and the cooperating witness at a hotel in White Plains and asked the witness to contact a Republican Party county chairman identified in the charges only as “County Chairman #1” to try to “change him” by persuading the chairman to support Mr. Smith rather than another mayoral candidate whom the chairman had publicly supported. Later that day, the person said, Mr. Halloran met the undercover agent at a Queens restaurant in order to receive a bribe in exchange for taking what the charges refer to as some unspecified “unrelated official action.” During that meeting, the agent asked Mr. Halloran if he knew “County Chairman #1” and Mr. Halloran said that he did, and that he knew Mr. Savino. Mr. Halloran agreed to ask the county chairman and Mr. Savino what they would want in exchange for their support for a mayoral candidate, the complaint said. And on that same day, the undercover agent met Mr. Smith at a hotel in Manhattan, and told him that the agent could arrange a meeting with “County Chairman #1” and Mr. Savino during which the agent would attempt to negotiate their support for the senator, the complaint said. Mr. Smith, the complaint said, told the undercover agent: “You pull this off, you can have the house. I’ll be a tenant.” Several months later, Mr. Smith met the cooperating witness in Rockland County, the complaint said. As they sat in a parked car, the witness told Mr. Smith that getting the certificates from the Republican county committee leaders would cost “a pretty penny,” the complaint said. In response to the question, “it’s worth any price?” the senator, according to the complaint, responded: “Look, talk to me before you close it. But it’s worth it. Because you know how big a deal it is.” Two weeks later, Mr. Halloran met the undercover agent and the witness at a Manhattan hotel and told them that Mr. Savino wanted $25,000 “in an envelope” in exchange for signing the certificate, the complaint said. Mr. Tabone, the person said, wanted $50,000 — half of the money before he signed and the balance afterward. The arrests immediately reverberated through the mayor’s race. Mr. Tabone is a paid consultant to the Republican mayoral campaign of John Catsimatidis, the grocery store magnate. Records show Mr. Catsimatidis has paid Mr. Tabone $3,000 so far this year. Another Republican mayoral candidate, Joseph J. Lhota, recently welcomed the endorsement of Mr. Halloran, who was also arrested on Tuesday morning. [earlier] To get on the GOP ballot in the election for Mayor, State Senator Malcolm Smith allegedly enlisted Halloran, a Republican, to set up meetings with party leaders and negotiate thousands of dollars in bribes. The money was masked as payments for legal and accounting services. Halloran allegedly collected thousands in bribes for himself along the way. He is separately charged with taking bribes from a consultant in return for up to $80,000 in City Council discretionary funding. The feds were already investigating Halloran when they got wind of the alleged ballot-manipulating plan in November, the sources said. Smith met with his alleged co-conspirators as recently as February. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is expected to detail charges later Tuesday. Smith, a Democrat, was first elected to the New York State Senate in 2000 in a special election. He was elected minority leader in 2007, succeeding David Paterson. Authorities say New York State Senator Malcolm Smith and New York City Councilman Dan Halloran were arrested Tuesday morning as part of an ongoing corruption case. They will be arraigned later today in federal court in White Plains. Also arrested were Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret. Two others, identified as Vicent Tabone and Joseph Savine, are also facing charges in the corruption probe. Jimmy Meng, 69, , a former State Assemblyman whose daughter is a newly-elected Congresswoman from Queens was sentenced March 12 to a month in prison for accepting a fruit basket stuffed with $80,000 from a defendant who was hoping to buy a shorter sentence in a tax-fraud case. He was also fined $30,000, ordered to serve two years of supervised release after completing his prison term and given 750 hours of community service [March 18]
Democratic mayoral contender Comptroller John Liu’s numbers are actually worth boasting about. Though the raw amount he’s raised doesn’t compare to his rivals, when you factor in publicly-matched contributions, Mr. Liu appears to be sitting on the second-highest pile of campaign cash behind only Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has already raised the maximum amount allowed for the primary [March 11] John Liu, who is the City Comptroller objected to the mayor’s take on to the shelter system: “Only an out-of-touch mayor who travels by private jet and limo would make such a tone-deaf wisecrack about a homeless crisis that has only worsened under his careless watch,” the mayoral candidate says. Patrick Markee, of the Coalition for the Homeless, took offense to the mayor’s dismissive tone: “It’s pretty ludicrous to claim that there are people flying in private jets and taking private limos to the shelter system,” he says. Later adding: “He didn’t seem to want to take responsibility for the fact that there are more than 50,000 people sleeping in city shelters, including 21,000 children.” [February 11] on January 8, Oliver Pan, a donor to current Comptroller John Liu‘s mayoral campaign, was ruled competent to stand trial. There had previously been some doubts after Mr. Pan was involuntarily committed for mental health reasons, but now the joint trial against Mr. Pan and Jenny Hou, Mr. Liu’s former campaign treasurer, will proceed as planned on April 15th. [February 6] A trial of City Comptroller John Liu’s former campaign treasurer and a fundraiser that has seemed to temper enthusiasm for his expected mayoral run got delayed indefinitely February 5 after one of the defendants was involuntarily hospitalized for treatment of a mental health condition. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan announced the development at a hearing a day after the trial was originally scheduled to start. Sullivan did not elaborate on the illness of the former fundraiser, Xing “Oliver” Wu Pan, except to say he was undergoing treatment and it was unclear when he would be recovered enough for trial. He sealed some records related to the illness. But he said he would direct authorities to seek a diagnosis and opinion on Pan’s mental competency for trial by Friday. If the hospital cannot provide it, the judge said he would seek to appoint an expert to determine Pan’s status. The judge set an April 15 date for the trial but said he reserved the right to begin it sooner if Pan is ready. He asked Gerald Lefcourt, the attorney for Liu’s campaign treasurer and co-defendant — Jia “Jenny” Hou — if he wanted to renew a request he had made last year for a separate trial. He said he did not because he hopes to question Pan on the witness stand on his client’s behalf. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty. They were charged with conspiring to use straw donors to evade campaign finance laws. [January 7] “Just make sure the handwriting looks as close to the donors’ as possible,” Ms. Hou wrote in an electronic message to Jorge Fanjul, who, like Ms. Hou, worked in Mr. Liu’s government office. “If too difficult, don’t take risk.” “Gotcha,” Mr. Fanjul replied. February 4 Trial begins for Jia “Jenny” Hou, ex-treasurer for New York Comptroller John Liu’s campaign, and fundraiser Xing Wu Pan. more [December 7 12] In the run for Mayor, with no candidate close to the 40 percent threshold, a runoff looms: Council Speaker Christine Quinn leads with 23 percent, with former City Comptroller Bill Thompson at 15 percent, Comptroller John Liu at 9 percent, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at 8 percent and Undecided voters—at 37 percent—dominate the field. [October 13] Prosecutors have rejected claims that authorities tried to pressure a former fundraiser for New York City’s comptroller into helping “manufacture” a case against the comptroller. The U.S. Attorney’s office filed papers in Manhattan federal court October 10. It offered a defense of the tactics used in the probe that’s led to the indictments of the former fundraiser, Xing Wu Pan, and an ex-campaign treasurer for John Liu. The U.S. Attorney’s office allegedly put pressure on John Liu fundraiser Xing Wu (Oliver) Pan prior to his arrest last November to force him into helping them “manufacture a criminal case” against the embattled controller, An idea floating in political circles says the federal government is really seeking bigger fish in its case against Jimmy Meng, a former assemblyman allegedly caught red-handed taking an $80,000 bribe for influence peddling — the bigger fish being City Comptroller John Liu. The idea is that the elder Meng may know something that would help make a case against Liu, whose campaign treasurer, Jia “Jenny” Hou, is under indictment for allegedly using straw donors to beef up his war chest for a mayoral run and lying about it to the FBI. Liu fundraiser Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan was also indicted, but the comptroller himself — who still refuses to pay the city half a million dollars in fines for posting illegal campaign signs — has not been charged. Meng and Liu are not exactly political allies, in “Asian politics” in Flushing. But that doesn’t mean Jimmy Meng might not have damaging information on Liu, [August 23] Citing cost problems associated with a similar Parking Meter arrangement in Chicago. John Liu predicted rates would rise “all because of the mayor’s misguided belief that private firms do a better job than city workers.” “If the controller had it his way, city government would function as a full-time employment agency for as many unionized workers as the taxpayers could fund” says Mayoral spokeswoman Julie Wood. Former Queens Assemblyman Jimmy Meng – the first Asian-American elected to the state Legislature – was charged with wire fraud July 24 for claiming he could bribe prosecutors to fix a criminal case, authorities said. Meng, whose Assemblywoman daughter is running for Congress, was pinched outside his Flushing lumber yard July 24 as a cooperating witness – who had been secretly recording their chats for months – handed him a fruit stuffed with $80,000. “I am shocked and deeply saddened by these allegations. Prior to this afternoon’s reports, I had no knowledge of my father’s actions or the investigation,” said Queens assemblywoman and congressional candidate Grace Meng, in a statement. “I am independent of my father — always have been, always will be. Until more facts emerge and we have a better understanding of the situation, the only thing further I’ll say is that I urge my father to fully cooperate with all authorities.” Meng has retained with Abbe Lowell, who successfully represented former Sen. John Edwards recently in a federal corruption trial in North Carolina. [June 2]The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department, has ruled NYC Comptroller John Liu ignored the data he collected on wages of similar workers in the industry and just applied the rates from a union’s collective bargaining agreement to the movers. As comptroller, Liu sets the prevailing wage rate that city contractors are required to pay their employees. The goal is to protect workers and keep companies from driving down wages by lowballing contract bids. Liu would review the pay of those in several different occupations receive and set the salary accordingly. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says an audit on New York City’s 911 system shows “a new level of intellectual dishonesty” by Comptroller John Liu. Liu said this week that a contractor hired by the city to overhaul its 911 system may have received millions in unjustified payments. Bloomberg said Friday on WOR Radio that the contract was registered with Liu’s office and finished under the budget approved by Liu’s office. He questioned if Liu even read the contract. Liu has asked prosecutors to investigate whether there was any criminal fraud associated with the contract. The mayor said “what Liu missed” is that the city now has a brand new, state-of-the-art 911 system. “It’s pretty hard to answer something as stupid as this charge.” [Apr.29] UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK . UNITED STATES OF AMERICA . SUPERSEDING . INDICTMENT . XING NU PAN, S1 12 Cr. 153 (RJS) a/k/a “O1iver Pan,” and JIA HOU, a/k/a “Jenny Hou,” Defendants..– – – .. – – COUNT ONE — The Crand Jury charges: . The Defendants – – 1. At all times relevant to this Indictment, XING wu. PAN, a/k/a “Oliver Pan,” the defendant, was an individual who sought to raise money for the 2013 campaign of a candidate (the – “Candidate”) for citywide elective office in the City of New York (the “City”). . . 2. From at least in or about December 2010, up to and including at least in or about February 2012, JIA HOU, a/k/a “Jenny Hou,” the defendant, was the treasurer JIA HOU for the 2013 campaign of the Candidate. . The Scheme to Defraud 3. “Straw Donors” are individuals who, in violation of campaign finance laws, make campaign contributions in their own names with money they have received from other individuals orl for which?they receive reimbursement from other individuals. 4. XING WU PAN, a/k/a “Oliver Pan,” and JIA HOU, . a/k/a “Jenny Hou,” the defendants, together with others known and unknown, engaged in a scheme to defraud the City by using Straw Donors, and by taking steps to conceal the use of Straw Donors, to attempt to obtain campaign matching funds through interstate ‘wires to support the Candidate’s campaign for Citywide elective office. Statutory Allegations 5. From at least in or about 2009, up to and including in or about February 2012, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, XING WU PAN, a/k/a “Oliver Pan,” and_JIA HOU, a/k/a “Jenny Hou,” the defendants, and others known and nunknown, willfully and knowingly combined, conspired, confederated and agreed together and with each other to violate Section 1343 of Title 18, United States Code. 6.. It was a part and object of the conspiracy that XING WU PAN, a/k/a “Oliver Pan,” and JIA HOU, a/k/a “Jenny Hou,” the defendants, and others known and unknown, having devised and intending to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud, and for obtaining money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, willfully and knowingly would and did transmit and cause to be transmitted by means of wire communication in interstate and foreign commerce, writings, signs, signals, pictures, and sounds for the purpose of executing 2 . – such scheme and artifice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. OVERT ACTS I In furtherance of said conspiracy and to effect the illegal object thereof, the following overt acts, among others, were committed in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere: a. On or about July 10, 2011, JIA HOU, a/k/a I “Jenny Hou,” the defendant, spoke to a volunteer for the Candidate’s campaign about imitating the handwriting of campaign donors on donor contribution forms. .- b. On or about July 14, 2011, HOU offered to reimburse an individual if the individual made a campaign donation to the Candidate. c. On or about August 17, 2011, XING wU PAN, – a/k/a “O1iver Pan,” the defendant, during a fundraising event I (the “Event”) for the Candidate, collected from Straw Donors completed fraudulent contribution forms and caused the forms to be submitted to HOU. . d. On or about August 17, 2011, during the Event, HOU and PAN reviewed the fraudulent contribution forms collected from Straw Donors. (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349.) . – 3 . The Grand Jury further charges: 8. From at least in or about 2009 up to and including` in or about February 2012, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, XING WU PAN, a/k/a “Oliver Pan,” and JIA HOU, a/k/a “Jenny Hou,” the defendants, having devised and intending – to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud, and for obtaining money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, . representations, and promises, willfully and knowingly did transmit and cause to be transmitted by means of wire communication in interstate and foreign commerce, writings, signs, signals, pictures, and sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme and artifice and attempting to do so, to wit, PAN, HOU, and others engaged in a scheme to defraud the City by using – Straw Donors, and by taking steps to conceal the use of Straw Donors, to attempt to obtain campaign matching funds through interstate wires, in order to support the Candidate’s 2013 campaign for Citywide elective office. (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1349, 1343, and 2.) COUNT THREE The Grand Jury further charges: 9. From in or about December 2011, up to and including the present, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, JIA HOU, a/k/a “Jenny Hou,” the defendant, willfully, knowingly, and corruptly, did obstruct, influence, and impede I official proceedings and attempt to do so, to wit, in response to Grand Jury subpoenas, HOU did not provide the Grand Jury with documents that she knew contained information that was responsive I to the subpoenas in order to conceal that information. (Title United States Code, Section coum Fcuk The Grand Jury further charges: . 10. On or about February 27, 2012, in the Southern District of New York, JIA HOU, a/k/a “Jenny Hou,” the defendant, in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the Government of the United States, willfully and knowingly, did I. falsify, conceal, and cover up by trick, scheme, and device a material fact and did make materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations, and did make and use a false writing and document knowing the same to contain materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and entries, to wit, HOU falsely claimed to special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the list of intermediaries publicly I disclosed by the Candidate’s campaign on or about January 17, 2012, contained the names of all intermediaries that HOU knew about and no one was left off, and that in response to Grand . I 5 – Jury subpoenas, HOU had produced all responsive documents, after, among other things, looking at every single email in her email account. – – (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001.) FORFEITURE ALLEGATION 11. As a result of committing one or more of the wire fraud offenses alleged in Counts One and Two of this Indictment, wu PAN, a/k/a “Oliver and JIA Hou, a/k/a ??Jenny the defendants, shall forfeit to the United States, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 981(a)(1)(C) and Title 28, United States Code, Section 2461, all property, real or personal, constituting or derived from proceeds traceable to the wire fraud offenses alleged in Counts One and Two of the Indictment. Substitute Asset Provision 12. If any of the above-described forfeitable . property, as a result of any act or omission of.the defendants: . a. cannot be located upon the exercise of due diligence; b. has been transferred or sold to, or deposited with, a third person; I c. has been placed beyond the jurisdiction of the Court; – – d. has been substantially diminished in value; or 6 . e. has been commingled with other property which cannot be subdivided without difficulty; it_is the intent of the United States, pursuant to Title 21, United States Code, Section 853(p), to seek forfeiture of any . other property of the defendants up to the value of the above forfeitable property.` (Title 18, United States Code, Sections 981, 1343 and 1344; Title 21, United States Code, Section 853(p); Title 28, United States Code, Section 2461.) FOREPERSON I PREET BHARARA . United States Attorney