Hours after his former treasurer and a fund-raiser were found guilty on campaign fraud charges, City Comptroller John Liu said he was “proud” of his campaign and vowed to carry on with his bid to become the city’s next mayor.
“I’m deeply saddened by the turn of events today. I continue to believe that Jenny’s a good person, and we will continue to ask the voters of this city for their support in my campaign to be mayor of New York City,” he told reporters after a forum in Brooklyn, where he continued to act as though nothing had changed.
Comptroller John Liu said he’s saddened by the guilty verdict this afternoon against two of his former associates–a one-time campaign treasurer for his mayoral bid and a former donor–but he insisted it’s not going to slow him down.
“I am deeply saddened by the verdict. I continue to believe in Jenny being a good person and exceptional individual,” he said in a statement released by his campaign, referring to Jia “Jenny” Hou, his former aide.
Earlier this afternoon, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced both the arrest and conviction of Mohanbhai “Mohan” Ramchandani, who pleaded guilty to felony tax-evasion charges. In the press release detailing the case, Mr. Ramchandani was labeled a “prominent tailor,” and indeed he has styled many members of the city’s political class including former mayors Rudy Giuliani (conservative, two-button suit in blue and gray) and Ed Koch (classic, no darts, straight pants and suspender buttons).
Former State Senator Shirley Huntley, who has already plead guilty to federal embezzlement charges, decided to settle her affairs this morning by pleading guilty to separate state-based charges of tampering with evidence during the embezzlement investigation. Specifically, in the words of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman when he unveiled the indictment last summer, Ms. Huntley was accused of “falsifying business records, conspiracy and tampering with an investigation in a scheme to steal taxpayer money using a sham nonprofit that did not provide any services to the public whatsoever.”
Ms. Huntley initially maintained her innocence, including issuing a forceful declaration in an “Emergency Press Conference” on her front lawn. This morning, however, the former southeastern Queens lawmaker reversed course and directly admitted to breaking the law to benefit Parent Workshop, the “sham nonprofit.”
As expected, former Senator Shirley Huntley pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges today, and now faces a sentence of up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.
The charges stem from a Queens non-profit that received government funds–earmarked by Ms. Huntley–to educate parents about the city’s public school system. However, according to federal prosecutors, approximately $87,700 of the cash instead went for her personal use.
As expected, former State Senator Pedro Espada, who helped lead New York’s government into a unique form of chaos with his wheeling-and-dealing in 2009, plead guilty in federal court today to stealing from a non-profit he controlled. When sentenced, Mr. Espada will face up to 43 years in prison, in addition to “forfeiture, fines, and restitution in excess of $2 million,” according to a press release sent out United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York.
“Councilman Larry Seabrook abused the power of his office to influence public contracts and to fund his own corrupt friends and family plan,” US Attorney Preet Bharara said, according to the New York Post.