Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was indicted on Thursday on five counts of fraud and corruption, with federal investigators accusing the longtime lawmaker of using his official position to reap millions of dollars in outside income and kickbacks.
Charges against Silver focus on the myriad ties he has to both two lucrative industries that have business before the state: Real estate and health care, as well as intersect with his work as a personal injury attorney, where he has been “of counsel.”
At the same time, a real-estate developer is pointed to who has contributed $200,000 to Silver and a political action committee under his control.
Silver, the speaker since 1994, turned himself into federal law enforcement this morning.
I know some people are hopeful that maybe Bharara will go after Cuomo next.
I think Michael Fiorillo's comment on that hope bears reading:
That's assuming Bharara has any real intention of going after Cuomo. Thus far, his investigations seem to be about publicity-seeking and distracting, sideshows.
Given the fact that the US Attorney's office under Bharara has distracted the public with high profile, but systemically meaningless, indictments of inside traders, rather than going after structural fraud at the big banks.
Until shown otherwise, I'm assuming Bharara is there to protect the Big Boys, Cuomo's real patrons, while entertaining the public with some empty legal spectacles.
The cynicism and corruption are so deeply entrenched that it's hard to see a way of fighting out of it. Still, unless we try, they'll pick us all off, via retirement (for the lucky ones), intimidation, discontinuances, denial of tenure (or what's left of it) and pseudo-scientific evaluations.
Hope or pray that parents and students wake up, since UFT/NYSUT is just hoping to keep the dues machine in place as long as possible.
The indictment was certainly timed for maxium shock value and effect - Bharara's pretty good at doing that.
The timing of the indictment also helps Cuomo and his ed deform supporters greatly.
With Assembly Dems in disarray after today's Silver indictment, you can bet Cuomo gets everything he wants in the budget.
And it's possible with Silver out of the picture and Assembly Dems on their heels, Cuomo and his ed deform buddies decide to go for something more sometime later in the legislative session.
In a worst case scenario here, you could see a pro-charter, pro-deform assemblymember replace Silver as speaker, and work with the pro-charter, pro-deform Skelos in the state senate and the pro-charter, pro-deform Governor Cuomo to finish Cuomo's promise to "break" the public schools.