With all the focus on Shelly Silver and his Assembly apparatchiks, let’s not forget New York’s state Senate, where four of the last five majority leaders have been indicted and the fifth, Dean Skelos, is reportedly under investigation.
The first, Joe Bruno, got his conviction overturned because the U.S. Supreme Court significantly narrowed the “honest services” he owed his constituents, excluding the $3.2 million in conflict-of-interest consulting fees he collected from clients with public business before him. Pedro Espada was forced to resign as leader the same day he was indicted for embezzling hundreds of thousands from a state-funded nonprofit, using $49,000, for example, to make a down payment on a Bentley. Malcolm Smith, who thought cash bribes were the quickest way to buy himself a ballot line for mayor, is now facing 45 years in prison. And John Sampson, who succeeded Smith, will soon go to trial for stealing $400,000 from foreclosure accounts and trying to get a list of the witnesses against him so he could, as he put it, “take them out.” He wasn’t looking for dates.
Jonathan Dienst, the Emmy-Award winning WNBC reporter who broke the Skelos story, says Bharara is investigating the majority leader’s ties to the real estate industry. The Real Deal says that the law firm that pays Skelos up to $250,000 a year, Ruskin Moscou, “is not part of the investigation,” which, if true, gives the probe an air of mystery.
Could be conflicts of interest, could be nepotism and bribery.
Read the whole piece, then marvel at the corruption that rots New York politics.
What are the chances that Skelos avoids indictment, considering that the last four majority leaders have been indicted, the US attorney has asked us all to "Stay tuned" when asked about his next plans for cleaning up political corruption and two separate reports (one from NBC 4, one from the NY Post) indicated the feds are looking at Skelos.
Get some popcorn, folks, because it's quite possible that, with Skelos under investigation and Tom Libous, the second in command for the Senate GOP, already under indictment, we could see a whole new team fielded by Republicans as the current one gets carted off to prison.