Melvin Lowe, a political consultant who worked with the State Senate Democrats, was arrested this morning on federal corruption charges.
After the head of a Queens nonprofit tied to former State Senator Shirley Huntley was arrested today, two council members reportedly under investigation sought to distance themselves from the case.
Neither Mark Weprin nor Leroy Comrie, whom insiders generally regard as above-the-board types, said they had been contacted by investigators, despite a New York Post story reporting that they were being probed.
“I have not been contacted by an investigative agency,” Mr. Comrie told Politicker after reading that he was being investigated by the Attorney General and State Comptroller for allocating money to an allegedly sham nonprofit. Continue reading “Queens Pols Defend Their Reps After Report of Investigation”
She may have already admitted to corruption, but it was not her fault that she was prosecuted, former State Senator Shirley Huntley repeatedly insisted today. She provided many excuses.
A month from serving a year-long prison sentence, Ms. Huntley claimed, for example, that she was singled out for an investigation because she didn’t tell her constituents that the current attorney general’s electoral opponent was “a racist and only locks up black people” during the campaign.
“He was upset with me about certain things that he wanted me to do,” Ms. Huntley said of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a former colleague in the State Senate before he ran for higher office in 2010. Mr. Schneiderman faced a crowded field in the Democratic primary, including Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, whom Ms. Huntley alleged she was asked to malign.
As indictments of minority elected officials continue to pile up, some leaders have openly suggested, while offering scant evidence, that a conspiracy exists to remove blacks and Latinos from power. But U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, one of two federal prosecutors responsible for bringing many of the recent corruption charges, outright rejected any conspiracy theories last night. Continue reading “U.S. Attorney Rejects Idea of Corruption Conspiracy Against Minority Pols”
Headline of the Day: “Sheldon-come-lately”
Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver‘s late-night call to expel disgraced Assemblymen Vito Lopez from office hasn’t helped to temper calls for his head. But most Democratic leaders seem unlikely to push for disciplinary action against the speaker. Gov. Andrew Cu0mo told reporters yesterday he didn’t think it was his place “to say who the speaker is and who the speaker should be.” He added: “I don’t see any comparison between what Vito Lopez and what Shelly Silver did … There is a magnitude of difference.”
On an unrelated note, the governor seems to be raking in the green. His most recent finance disclosure statement, made public Thursday, shows he made between $1.75 million and $2 million. The bulk of his assets are reportedly managed by a blind trust at AMG National Trust Bank.
It is a question few in the New York political establishment dare to ask publicly: is the seemingly endless string of indictments and arrests of elected officials a conspiracy against minorities in power?
But there was Queens State Sen. James Sanders Jr., bellowing in a theater with a preacher’s rhythm, more than implying last night that the recent arrests of black elected officials like Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, State Sen. Malcolm Smith and State Sen. John Sampson were not coincidental. Even State Sen. Shirley Huntley, who admitted to stealing funds earmarked for her district’s underprivileged children and was sentenced Thursday for her crimes, could have been linked to a conspiracy, Mr. Sanders said.
Ironically, Mr. Sanders defeated Ms. Huntley last year–after she was indicted–and took her seat in the State Senate.
Former State Senator Shirley Huntley, who pleaded guilty in February to falsifying evidence and attempting to cover up her embezzle efforts, was sentenced in court today to a year and a day in jail. In addition, she will have to pay $87,700 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“The crux of this case has always been the defendant Shirley Huntley’s greed and self-interest,” United States Attorney Loretta Lynch announced in a statement. “Promising to provide much needed assistance to the parents of New York City public schoolchildren, … Shirley Huntley violated the public trust and betrayed her constituents by stealing public funds for her own benefit.”
Ms. Lynch added, “Today’s sentence should send a clear message: we will bring to justice those who corrupt the system of laws upon which our community relies.”